Encyclopedia

Ectopic pregnancy

Description

An ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which the fertilized egg develops outside the woman’s uterus /womb/.

This occurs when the zygote does not reach or implant properly in the uterine lining. Instead, the embryo develops somewhere else in the abdominal cavity.

Most often, the pregnancy continues in one of the fallopian tubes / so-called. tubal pregnancy/. Along them, the ovum moves from the ovary to the uterus.

The embryo can continue its development from the outside of the uterus into the abdominal cavity, the ovaries or attach to the intestine.

The most serious complication of this condition is intra-abdominal hemorrhage /heavy bleeding/. If the embryo continues to grow in one of the fallopian tubes, it expands and if timely measures are not taken to terminate the pregnancy, the tube may rupture.

This condition is very dangerous because a large artery runs on the outside of each fallopian tube. And if one of these blood vessels ruptures, the woman can experience severe hemorrhage .

Ectopic pregnancy is most often detected in the first trimester between 5 and 10 weeks of gestation. The condition is among the leading causes of death in the first trimester of pregnancy.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are often confused with those of miscarriage and pelvic inflammatory disease. The most common signs are abdominal and pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding. If a tear is suspected, emergency medical attention should be sought immediately.

The most characteristic manifestations of this condition are:

• Dizziness, lightheadedness, partial fainting, loss of consciousness;
• Pale skin, feeling of stickiness to the touch;
• Profuse sweating;
• Fast heart rate /over 100 beats per minute/;
• Abdominal or pelvic pain is so bad , that the woman cannot stand up;

What are the reasons?

Fertilization of the egg cell by the sperm takes place in the fallopian tubes and more precisely in their upper part. The lining of the fallopian tubes is covered with cilia which facilitate the movement of the zygote to the uterus where it needs to implant.

But if the fallopian tube is damaged, twisted or blocked, the fertilized egg cannot move.

The most common diseases or conditions that cause an ectopic pregnancy are:

• Previous fallopian tube infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
• Previous surgery on organs in the abdominal cavity especially the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus or intestines . Local surgery on the outer part of the cervix is ​​not a risk factor.
• Use of medication to stimulate fertility at conception.
• Previous history for ectopic pregnancy;
• Using an IUD does not increase the risk. However, a normal pregnancy is less likely to develop in the uterus if a woman has an IUD. Therefore, if pregnancy is suspected, the spiral should be removed within the first one to two weeks. It is important to mention that the spiral is a protective device against uterine pregnancy, but also against ectopic pregnancy.

Treatment of ectopic pregnancy

Treatment depends on the size of the fetus and its location. If the egg is small, the woman is given medicine to stop the growth of the fetal tissue and allow the body to absorb it.

In recent years, methotrexate therapy has been successfully used. The drug inhibits cell division and growth and is successfully used to treat leukemia, lymphoma and other cancers.

Methotrexate is prescribed as a single or multiple intramuscular injections. Most women undergoing this therapy report lower abdominal pain, especially during the first few days, and heavy menstrual-like vaginal bleeding. cycle. After completing therapy, blood tests are needed every 3 days to ensure that the drug has been effective.

Also used as an immunosuppressive agent to prevent organ transplant reaction.

Potassium chloride, which is a toxic chemical that destroys dividing cell tissue, can also be administered by direct injection into fetal tissue.

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