Ectopic pregnancies are pregnancies in which the embryo gets implanted outside the uterus, most often in fallopian tubes. In rare cases implantation of the embryo can take place in the abdomen, cervix or ovaries. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable and they are always dangerous to the mother since the internal hemorrhage can be life threatening.
Diagnostic procedure for ectopic pregnancy starts with physical examination of the pelvic region in which surgeon can feel the tenderness in the fallopian tubes, lesser enlargement of the uterus than expected in a normal pregnancy or an abnormal mass in the pelvic region. An ultra sound scan of the pelvis can reveal the picture of the lower abdomen and hence this is a most dependable way to identify a pregnancy. If no pregnancy in the uterus is detected when the hCG levels point to it an ectopic pregnancy can be the reason. During normal pregnancy hCG level doubles every alternate days. If the rate of increase of hCG level is lower then it can be due to an ectopic pregnancy. Laparoscopic diagnostic procedures are used to confirm the existence of ectopic pregnancy.
Treatment options for ectopic pregnancy
Effective medication and surgical procedures are available for treating ectopic pregnancies. The choice of the treatment option is very much dependent upon the overall health condition of the patient and the stage at which ectopic pregnancy was detected.
Usage of medicines like Methotrexate will be very effective, useful and easy for the termination of ectopic pregnancy if the diagnosis was made at an earlier date. It helps the patients from the difficulties that may be caused by a surgical procedure and does not have any serious side effects.
For an ectopic pregnancy which shows sever symptoms like bleeding or high hCG levels most surgeons prefer surgical termination of the pregnancy. Whenever possible surgical procedure is carried out, as laparoscopic procedure which is a minimally invasive procedure which requires a small incision of about 1 to 2 cms size only.
For an early ectopic pregnancy termination which is like a miscarriage, your surgeon may regularly test your blood to ascertain that the blood hCG levels are decreasing. If your hCG level does not drop or if your bleeding is not stopping then the possible alternative is adopting a surgical procedure. If you undergo surgical procedure your surgeon may prescribe methotrexate to be taken for some days after the surgery.
Important points to understand
1 Methotrexate is a very effective medicine for terminating ectopic pregnancies if detected in its earliest stages of conception. But this has to be followed up by regular blood test for some days or one to two weeks.
2 There are different surgical procedures followed for terminating ectopic pregnancy. In some cases only a slit will be made in the fallopian tubes and in some cases a section of the fallopian tube will be removed.
3 Surgical procedure is a faster and easier option. But scars formed in surgical procedures can lead to problems in future pregnancies.
4 If the fetus has grown much tubal surgery can lead to damage of fallopian tubes.