Image Source: Mayo Clinic
What is an Ectopic pregnancy?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube. An ectopic pregnancy is a potentially life-threatening condition that may cause internal bleeding due to the possibility of a fallopian tube rupturing.
Signs, Symptoms, and Risks
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the abdomen or pelvis
- Cramping on one side of the pelvis
- The ACOG recommends speaking with an OB/GYN if you experience abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain.
Symptoms of a fallopian tube rupture
- Sudden and severe abdomen or pelvis pain
- Shoulder pain
- Weakness, dizziness, or fainting
- The ACOG recommends going to the emergency room if you experience any of these symptoms.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Ectopic pregnancies are typically diagnosed with a blood hCG test, pelvic exam, and ultrasound. If caught early on, a healthcare provider may administer methotrexate through an injection. Methotrexate ends a pregnancy by stopping cell growth and dissolving existing cells. An OB/GYN may perform surgery for pregnant people with high hCG levels or if a fallopian tube rupture occurs. The surgery may result in the complete removal of the fallopian tube depending on the damage caused by the rupture.
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-Written by Sabrina Park MPH