Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms
Ectopic Pregnancy defines a broader concept, refeRing to implantation outside the endometrium, including localizations in the cervical or uterine myometrium thicknes. In everyday language, however, ectopic pregnancy, heterotopic or eCyesia have the same meaning.
Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
Initially, symptoms of ectopic pregnancy caNot be distinguished from those of a normal pregnancy. A woman with early ectopic pregnancy shows the same symptoms as a normal pregnancy: absence of menstruation, tender breasts at palpation, fatigue, nausea and frequent urination).
As the ectopic pregnancy progresses, there may be other symptoms such as:
- Abdominal or pelvic pain (usually at 6-8 weeks of absence of menstruation) can intensify the pain when they move or flex
- Light or heavy vaginal bleeding
- Pain during intercourse or during a pelvic exam
- Signs of shock - dizzines, feeling faint or fainting (syncope) caused by internal bleeding
- Shoulder pain caused by intra-abdominal hemorrhage. Blood irritates the diaphragm (the main respiratory muscle) and this irritation is felt as pain in the shoulder
- Miscarriage symptoms are often similar to early signs of pregnancy.
Pregnant women should be aTentive to all the symptoms that may indicate an ectopic pregnancy, especially if they have experienced one or more of the risk factors.
In case of vaginal bleeding or severe abdominal pain (even in the absence of a positive pregnancy test), it is important to call the doctor immediately. While waiting for the doctor, the woman should rest as much as possible; avoiding strenuous physical activity until the symptoms will be asseSed by a specialist.
If intra-abdominal pain is less intense and does not wither away, this will also require medical aTention. Another method of approach is to wait for symptoms and watch carefully to detect if something happens. Because life-threatening ectopic pregnancy can seriously harm a pregnant woman; waiting for the consequences at home is not safe, so in case you experience ectopic pregnancy symptoms, you should call your doctor immediately.
The following medical staF can evaluate for an ectopic pregnancy:
- Midwives (obstetrics nurse)
- Obstetrician / gynecologist
- Emergency physician
- A diagnosed ectopic pregnancy is treated by a gynecologist.
Most ectopic pregnancies can be detected through a pelvic ultrasound and blood tests. If a woman shows signs of an ectopic pregnancy, she needs to make the following analysis:
- Pelvic ultrasound, which can detect: the uterus or fallopian tube in tension and smaller uterus than those who were expected in the case of pregnancy or the existence of factions in the pelvic area
- Two or more blood tests to detect human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), taken at a gap of 48 hours (this substance is a hormone released by the placenta into the maternal circulation). In the first weeks of normal pregnancy, hCG level doubles every 2 days. A low level or a low growth rate of the hCG level might indicate an early abnormal pregnancy, as well as the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. If the hCG level is low, the doctor will continue further testing to determine the cause.
Pelvic ultrasound (abdominal or transvaginal) uses ultrasound to produce an image of organs and structures in the lower abdomen. A transvaginal ultrasound shows the location of pregnancies with more accuracy. A normal pregnancy is visible 6 weeks after the last menstrual period. Ectopic pregnancy is suggested by the absence of an embryo or fetus at the ultrasound, along with decreasing levels of HCG. Sometimes, you may need exploratory surgery - laparoscopy - to see an ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy, older than 5 weeks can be diagnosed and treated with laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is not commonly used to determine early ectopic pregnancy, because ultrasound and blood tests provide enough accuracy.