Normal egg fertilization occurs in the fallopian tube/oviduct, while fetus growth occurs in the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg fails to move to the uterus. The egg develops in the fallopian tube – outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy is a rare but serious condition needing quick intervention, as the condition prevents the fetus from surviving. Failing to visit a good fertility doctor on time risks your life and that of the fetus.
1 in 50 pregnant women in the United States is likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. Here is what any woman trying to conceive should know about ectopic or tubal pregnancy.
The first risk factor is inflammation of the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube must be in good condition for the fertilized egg to enter the uterus. Inflammations block the fallopian tube, which hampers the egg from moving to the uterus where the fetus’s growth takes place. So, the embryo starts to grow in the fallopian tube, causing an ectopic pregnancy.
Pelvic adhesion is another factor that risks tubal pregnancy. Pelvic adhesions, also known as scar tissues, develop in the fallopian tube. As a result, they block the tubes, increasing the risks of an ectopic pregnancy.
Hormones can also be an issue. The imbalance of hormones (high estrogens and low progesterone concentrations) increases the uterine isthmus muscular tone. As a result, the ovum gets retained in the oviduct/fallopian tubes, causing an ectopic pregnancy.
Some STDs like chlamydia trachomatis cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID damages the fallopian tube, increasing the risk of tubal pregnancy.
Another factor increasing the risk of an ectopic pregnancy is smoking. Cigarettes have a chemical product known as cotinine. The product triggers body reactions that cause the fallopian tube to block.
Other risk factors include birth defects and abnormalities in genes. An intrauterine device (IUD) can cause the problem in rare cases.
Ectopic pregnancy poses a serious threat to victims. As the embryo grows, the fallopian tube bursts. Rupturing of the fallopian tube can cause excessive bleeding. The excessive loss of blood weakens the body, causing one to faint. If left untreated, the woman will suffer from internal bleeding that could be fatal.
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Another common symptom of an ectopic pregnancy is severe belly and shoulder pain. As a result of bleeding, the phrenic nerve gets interfered with. The nerve is found in the muscle that separates the belly from the chest. Irritation of the phrenic nerve spreads the pain both to the abdomen and the shoulder blade.
Other common symptoms are painful nausea and vomiting. The symptoms happen because of sharp cramps in the abdomen.
Do not wait any further if you notice those symptoms mentioned above. Visiting a fertility doctor will help diagnose the problem and get the right treatments before the condition worsens to dangerous levels.
The first diagnosis for an ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy test/physical exam. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormones increase by 40 percent every two days, after ovulation. Pregnancy tests will check your levels of hCG hormones.
The first pregnancy test is the blood test. A qualitative or quantitative hCG test will check the hormone levels in your blood. A low level of hCG hormone is a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. Blood tests are faster and the best option if you suspect having an ectopic pregnancy.
Urine tests are other types of pregnancy tests for ectopic pregnancies. The urine and blood tests check the levels of hCG hormones. While you can perform the urine test at home, performing it at a fertility doctor’s office is good. The doctor will test the results faster and more accurately than you would.
The other diagnosis for an ectopic pregnancy is transvaginal ultrasound. A special device (transducer) is used to perform the diagnosis. The device produces soundwaves that create images of the oviduct, uterus, and other pelvic organs. Transvaginal ultrasound is the most accurate diagnosis for checking if the pregnancy is in or outside your uterus.
A pelvic exam is the other diagnosis for ectopic pregnancy. Fertility doctors use their fingers to determine tenderness or swellings in the fallopian tube.
Proper treatments will save your life if you have an ectopic pregnancy. The first form of treatment for ectopic pregnancies is medication. Medications are necessary if the condition is not severe. Methotrexate is the recommended medication that prevents the ovum from growing further and rapturing.
Surgery is also a recommended treatment for an ectopic pregnancy. A special surgical procedure (laparotomy) helps to remove the embryo from the oviduct. The surgery also helps to repair any damage that might have occurred in the oviduct.
Choose a Fertility Doctor
Only a professional fertility doctor can save you from the risks of an ectopic pregnancy. A good doctor will diagnose and treat you before more complications happen.
Experience should be a consideration when choosing a fertility specialist. Consider the doctor’s license, reputation, cost of treatment, and level of experience. Doctors with adequate qualification, good ratings, fair prices and substantial experience are those you can trust to provide you with quality care and guidance.