Signs You Might Have an Ectopic Pregnancy

May 14th, 2024 | 10:04 am

Ectopic pregnancy is a kind of pregnancy that happens outside the uterus and is a medical emergency that has to be dealt with right away. Though it affects only 1 in 50 pregnancies, its signs and symptoms must be identified so that it can be managed promptly. In this blog, we will discuss the signs of an ectopic pregnancy a person should be aware of. 

How Does An Ectopic Pregnancy Happen?

When an ovary releases an egg, it normally goes to the fallopian tube to meet a sperm and fertilise. The fertilised egg is meant to go into the womb and start the implantation. Then, it may begin to develop into an embryo.  When a fertilised egg implants itself outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes, it causes an ectopic pregnancy.  The term “ectopic” means “out of place. ” Ectopic pregnancies are life-threatening, especially when the fallopian tube bursts (ruptures). The rupture of an ectopic pregnancy can lead to severe bleeding, infection and, in extreme cases, even death. This is a medical crisis. Doctors have to act quickly to treat ectopic pregnancies.

An ectopic pregnancy can result from a number of conditions, including:

  • Fallopian Tube Damage: Damage to the fallopian tubes, which is frequently caused by inflammation, infection, or prior surgery, can impede the transfer of the fertilised egg into the uterus.
  • Hormone imbalance: An unbalanced reproductive system might make it more difficult for a fertilised egg to establish itself correctly in the uterus, which raises the chance of an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Previous Ectopic Pregnancy: There is an increased likelihood of another ectopic pregnancy in the future for women who have previously had one.

Healthcare professionals may identify high-risk patients and take preventive action to lower the chance of ectopic pregnancy by having a better understanding of the elements that contribute to this disease.

Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy

Early ectopic pregnancy symptoms might sometimes resemble those of a normal pregnancy. On the other hand, you can also have the following symptoms if you have an ectopic pregnancy:

  • Abdominal Pain: One of the first symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy is usually an intense, stabbing pain on one side of the abdomen. The degree of this pain might change, and it may come and go.
  • Vaginal Bleeding: Mild vaginal bleeding is common and can often be confused with a normal menstrual flow. On the other hand, ectopic pregnancy might cause clots along with very mild or heavy bleeding.
  • Pelvic pain: One of the most prevalent symptoms is persistent pelvic pain, especially on one side. When you move or strain, it might feel more like cramps or pressure.
  • Shoulder Pain: Unusual shoulder pain might be a sign of internal bleeding from an ectopic pregnancy rupture, particularly if it is accompanied by stomach pain. This happens when blood clots in the abdomen irritate the diaphragm.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Similar to morning sickness, some women may suffer nausea and vomiting. Nevertheless, these symptoms could be more severe and long-lasting with an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Weakness or Dizziness: A reduction in blood pressure brought on by internal bleeding from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy can result in weakness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Painful Urination or intestine Movements: If the ectopic pregnancy is irritating or pressing on the bladder or intestines, you may feel pain or discomfort when urinating or passing gas.
  • Lack of Menstruation: Some women may find that they are bleeding vaginally, but others—particularly those with irregular cycles—may note that their menstrual period is delayed or absent entirely.

Less frequent symptoms consist of:

  • If the ectopic pregnancy is pushing on adjacent organs, pressure in the rectum or pain during bowel movements may ensue.
  • A sense of fullness while lying down that is not connected with eating, especially in those who have previously had a child.

When to Visit a Doctor

It’s critical to recognize the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy in order to get medical help quickly. You must consult a physician right away if you encounter any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain coupled with shoulder pain
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Weakness or rapid heartbeat
  • Painful urination or bowel movements
  • Menstrual absence combined with a positive pregnancy test
  • Any other unusual or concerning symptoms

Refusing to treat an ectopic pregnancy can result in major side effects, such as internal bleeding that might be fatal and fallopian tube rupture. Prompt diagnosis and action reduce the likelihood of chronic problems and increase the possibility of a favourable result.

How Can I Determine If I’m At Risk For An Ectopic Pregnancy?

A number of risk factors might increase your chances of getting an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy might be more likely to occur if you’ve had:

  • A previous ectopic pregnancy.
  • A history of infertility.
  • In vitro fertilisation (IVF) can raise the chance of ectopic pregnancy.
  • A history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection that can result in the formation of scar tissue in your cervix, ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy risk has been associated with tobacco use.
  • IUDs are quite efficient in preventing conception, but there is a slight chance of an ectopic pregnancy if you become pregnant while wearing an IUD.
  • If a pregnancy still develops while using certain forms of contraception, including tubal ligation or contraceptive implants, the chance of an ectopic pregnancy may increase.

You may lower your chance of ectopic pregnancy and safeguard your reproductive health by evaluating these factors and sharing any concerns you may have with the doctor practitioner. Effective detection and management of ectopic pregnancy need routine examinations and early prenatal care.

Is It Possible To Avoid Or Prevent An Ectopic Pregnancy?

Although ectopic pregnancies cannot be prevented entirely or avoided, several risk factors may be addressed to lessen the possibility that they will develop. The following actions could assist in reducing the risk:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which raises the chance of an ectopic pregnancy, can be brought on by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia. PID can be avoided by treating STIs as soon as possible.
  • The risk of STIs and consequent pelvic infections can be decreased by engaging in safe sexual behaviour, which includes using condoms consistently and correctly.
  • Ectopic pregnancy risk has been associated with smoking. One way to reduce this risk is to give up smoking or stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • The risk of an ectopic pregnancy can be lowered in women receiving assisted reproductive treatments like in vitro fertilisation (IVF) by using cautious monitoring and implantation procedures.

Although taking these precautions may reduce the risk, it’s crucial to remember that ectopic pregnancies can still happen even in the absence of known risk factors. Ectopic pregnancies can be detected and managed early with the support of routine medical exams and timely treatment of any associated reproductive health concerns.

Conclusion

Ectopic pregnancy is a serious pregnancy complication that has to be cured urgently.  Women familiar with the warning signs and symptoms may go to a doctor as soon as possible and get the treatment they need. Do not delay to call the doctor or go to the closest emergency department if you think you have an ectopic pregnancy or see any alarming signs.  The best way to ensure the mother and the child have the best outcome is to realise that early intervention is necessary.