Ectopic or extrauterine pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants outside the uterine cavity and begins to grow outside the uterus. On certain occasions, the embryo is implanted and develops in the tubes, in the ovary or the abdominal cavity.
Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy
This type of pregnancy occurs when, for one reason or another, the fertilized egg fails to reach the uterus to implant and grow. Let’s see the different causes that generate it:
- The ovule may have dimensions disproportionate to the diameter of the tube, not being able to move to the uterus.
- The displacement of the ovum can be slow, not reaching the uterus.
- The tube may present an abnormal restriction, not allowing the passage of the egg.
- Some factors may favor the blockage, such as the consequences of possible salpingitis (infection of the tubes), surgical interventions of the tubes, previous extra-uterine pregnancies or congenital malformations.
Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
The signs of an extrauterine pregnancy can occur from the first weeks of pregnancy. The most common extra-uterine pregnancy symptoms are:
- Constant pain on only one side of the abdomen. These strains are more or less acute and occur during the first trimester of pregnancy.
- The typical symptoms of an internal haemorrhage (pallor, low tension) are also common.
- When the rupture of the tube is sudden, the abdominal pain is intense, and there is a haemorrhage in the abdominal cavity. Also, the pregnant woman shows a visible pallor, accelerated heart rate and blood pressure so low that it cannot be measured.
How is an ectopic pregnancy diagnosed?
Early diagnosis is crucial to avoid severe consequences. Ectopic pregnancy can be confirmed by a thorough gynaecological examination, laboratory studies (for example blood tests) and an ultrasound.
Treatments of ectopic pregnancy
The treatments for extrauterine pregnancy can be of two types: surgical or pharmacological. It depends on the clarity of the diagnosis, the size of the embryo and the available techniques. However, despite the progress, at least for now, it has not yet been possible to reposition the ovum in the uterus. So the goal of the treatments is to interrupt the extrauterine pregnancy.
Pharmacological treatment: It interrupts the pregnancy and allows reabsorbing the tissue that causes erosion of the walls of the tube.
The surgical treatment: If a stable clinical picture is present and the embryo is small enough, it can be removed through a procedure called salpingotomy.