Ectopic Pregnancy (Fetus in Unusual Location)
The symptoms include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Shoulder tip pain
- Bladder or Bowel problem
- Fainting or feeling dizzy or light headed.
- Abnormal bleeding
- A missed or late period
If you suspect an ectopic pregnancy, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be diagnosed from the outside. Your doctor may perform a physical exam to rule out other factors.
If an ectopic pregnancy is suspected, a blood test can assess hCG and progesterone levels. If hormone levels are not typical, additional tests will be required.
If blood tests point to a problem, your doctor will perform a transvaginal ultrasound. This will locate the fertilized egg and confirm an ectopic pregnancy diagnosis.
In extreme cases, the fallopian tube may rupture and bleed. A surgeon may then perform an emergency laparotomy by making an incision in the abdomen. This procedure is used not only to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, but to provide immediate treatment.
Ectopic pregnancies cannot develop to term. The embryo, therefore, must be removed as soon as possible. This is necessary to both save the mother’s life and preserve her fertility. Treatment options vary depending on the location of the ectopic pregnancy and its development.
If your physician concludes that immediate complications are unlikely, he or she may inject a drug called methotrexate. Methotrexate stops the growth of rapidly dividing cells, such as the cells of the embryo. Regular blood tests will ensure that the drug is effective. Methotrexate does not carry the same risks of fallopian tube damage that come with surgery.
Many surgeons choose laparoscopic surgery to remove the embryo and repair any internal damage. Under anesthesia, a small camera is inserted through an incision in the abdomen. Additional incisions may be made that allow other tools to remove the embryo and repair damage to the fallopian tube. If the surgery is unsuccessful, a laparotomy will be performed through a larger incision.
If the fallopian tube has ruptured or is severely damaged, it may need to be removed during surgery.
Patients will be advised to rest. Follow-up appointments can confirm that the embryo has been completely removed or reabsorbed.
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