An ectopic pregnancy(EP) is a condition in which a fertilized egg settles and grows in any location other than the inner lining of the uterus. The vast majority of ectopic pregnancies are so-called tubal pregnancies and occur in the Fallopian tube (98%); however, they can occur in other locations, such as the ovary, cervix, and abdominal cavity.
Symptoms of ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancyis a life-threatening condition that requires emergency treatment. The major health risk of ectopic pregnancy is rupture leading tointernal bleeding. Early symptoms are either absent or subtle. Clinical presentation of ectopic pregnancy occurs at a mean of 7.2 weeks after the last normal menstrual period, with a range of 5 to 8 weeks. Common symptoms include light vaginal bleeding, nausea and vomiting, lower abdominal pain, sharp abdominal cramps, pain on one side of the body, dizziness or weakness, pain in the shoulder, neck, or rectum. If the fallopian tube ruptures, the pain and bleeding could be severe enough to cause fainting.
Causes of ectopic pregnancy
Salpingitis causes tubal adhesions, results in tubal stenosis, and decreases tubal motility. Egg can only be fertilized into the fallopian tubes, but fertilized egg can not return to the uterine cavity. Endometriosis impedes operation of fertilized egg, and makes it stay in the oviduct. After fertilization in the fallopian tube on one side, fertilized egg swims to the opposite side along the umbrella of the fallopian tubes. It cannot reach uterine cavity and then cause ectopic pregnancy.
Exams and tests of ectopic pregnancy
Most ectopic pregnancies can be detected using a pelvic exam, ultrasound , and blood tests. An ectopic pregnancy after 5 weeks can usually be diagnosed and treated with a laparoscope.
If the doctor suspects that the fallopian tube has ruptured, emergency surgery is necessary to stop the bleeding. In some cases, the fallopian tube and ovary may be damaged and will have to be removed. If the fallopian tube has not ruptured and the pregnancy has not progressed very far, laparoscopic surgery may be all that is needed to remove the embryo and repair the damage.
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