Ectopic Pregnancy : Causes,Sypmtoms,Diagnosis-Treatment

Ectopic Pregnancy: Ectopic pregnancy also known as the tubular pregnancy is a complication of fertilization in which the fetus attaches outside the uterus. Classical signs and symptoms of ectopic pregnancy combine abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding. Less than 50 percent of affected women possess both of these manifestations. The pain may be characterized as sharp, dull, or crampy. Pain may further reach to the shoulder if bleeding into the abdomen has happened. Severe bleeding may happen with a fast heart rate, fainting, or shock. With very rare exemptions the embryo is unable to remain.Ectopic Pregnancy Risk factors for ectopic pregnancy involve pelvic inflammatory condition, usually due to chlamydia infection, tobacco smoking, prior tubal surgery, records of infertility, and the use of assisted conceptive technology. Those who become earlier had an ectopic pregnancy are at much greater risk of having another one. Utmost ectopic pregnancies (90%) transpire in the Fallopian tube which is appreciated as tubal pregnancies. Implantation can likewise occur on the cervix, ovaries, or within the abdomen. Exposure of ectopic pregnancy is typically by blood examinations for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and ultrasound. This may need examination on more than one occasion. Ultrasound operates fine when performed from inside the vagina. Other conditions of similar symptoms combine miscarriage, ovarian torsion, and acute appendicitis.

Prevention is by modifying risk factors such as chlamydia diseases throughout screening and treatment. While some ectopic pregnancies will resolve without treatment, this procedure has not been well studied as of 2014. The effectiveness of the medicine methotrexate works as well as surgery in some circumstances. Particularly, it works well when the beta-HCG is low and the size of the ectopic is small. Surgery is however typically suggested if the tube has ruptured, there is a fetal heartbeat, or the person’s vital symptoms are unstable. The surgery may be laparoscopic or by a larger incision, perceived as a laparotomy. Results are usually good with treatment.

The incidence of ectopic pregnancy is approximately 1 and 2% that of live births in developed countries, though it may be as high as 4% among those accepting assisted reproductive technology. It is the most common cause of death among women during the first trimester at approximately 10% of the total. In the developed world outcomes have improved while in the developing world they often remain poor. The risk of death amongst those in the developed country is between 0.1 and 0.3 percent while in the developing world it is between one and three percent. The first discovered of an abdominal pregnancy; a subtype of ectopic pregnancy is by Al-Zahrawi in the 11th century. The word “ectopic” indicates “out of place”.

What Causes an Ectopic Pregnancy

The cause of an ectopic pregnancy isn’t always clear. In some cases, ectopic pregnancies are caused by one or more of the following:

An infection or inflammation or scarring of the fallopian tube can cause it to become partially or entirely blocked.

Scar tissue from a previous infection on the tube may also impede the egg’s movement.

Previous surgery in the pelvic area or on the tubes can cause adhesions.

Genetic abnormalities

Abnormal growths or a birth defect can result in an abnormality in the tube’s shape.

Hormonal factors

Who is at risk for having an ectopic pregnancy?

Risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy include the following:

Ectopic pregnancy can occur in any woman, of any age, who is ovulating. The highest likelihood of ectopic pregnancy occurs in women aged 35-44 years.

The greatest risk factor for an ectopic pregnancy is a previous ectopic pregnancy.

Any disruption of the normal architecture of the Fallopian tubes can be a risk factor for an ectopic pregnancy.

Previous pelvic or abdominal surgery.

Multiple sexual partners increase a woman's risk of pelvic infections, multiple sexual partners also are associated with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)conditions such as endometriosis, fibroid tumors, or pelvic scar tissue can narrow the Fallopian tubes and disrupt egg transportation, thereby increasing the chances of an ectopic pregnancy.

Several induced abortions.

Structural abnormalities in the fallopian tubes that make it hard for the egg to travel.

Conceiving after having a tubal ligation or while an IUD is in place

Cigarette smoking has also been associated with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy during the time of conception.


Undergoing fertility treatments or are using fertility medications, is associated with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Although some investigations have also been suggested that pathologic generation of nitric oxide through enhanced iNOS production may reduce tubal ciliary beats and smooth muscle contractions and thus influence embryo transport, which may consequently produce an ectopic pregnancy. The low socioeconomic situation may be risk factors for ectopic pregnancy.

What are the Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Nausea and breast soreness are common ectopic pregnancy symptoms in and also uterine pregnancies. The ectopic pregnancy symptoms typically transpire six to eight weeks following the last normal menstrual period, but they may transpire later if the ectopic pregnancy is not positioned in the Fallopian tube. Up to 10% of women with ectopic pregnancy become no symptoms, and one third hold no medical signs. In numerous cases, the ectopic pregnancy symptoms produce low specificity and can be alike to those of other genitourinary and gastrointestinal disturbances, such as appendicitis, salpingitis,  miscarriage, rupture of a corpus luteum cyst, ovarian torsion or urinary tract infection. Clinical exhibition of ectopic pregnancy happens at a mean of 7.2 weeks following the last normal menstrual period, with a range of 4 to 8 weeks. The following ectopic pregnancy symptoms are more prevailing in an ectopic pregnancy and can indicate a medical emergency:

Sharp waves of pain in the abdomen, pelvis, shoulder, or neck.

Severe pain that occurs on one side of the abdomen.

Light to heavy vaginal spotting or bleeding.

Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are more rare symptoms of ectopic pregnancy.

Dizziness or fainting.

Rectal pressure.

Signs and symptoms of the ectopic pregnancy include risen hCG, vaginal bleeding, unexpected lower abdominal pain, pelvic pain, a tender cervix, an adnexal tenderness.

In rare instances, an ectopic pregnancy may happen at the same time as an intrauterine pregnancy. This is meant to as heterotopic pregnancy. The prevalence of heterotopic pregnancy has risen in current years due to the increasing adoption of IVF and other supported reproductive technologies (ARTs).

If you know that you’re pregnant and have any of these symptoms, you should contact your physician for immediate treatment.

Classification of Ectopic Pregnancy

Tubal Pregnancy

The majority portion of the ectopic pregnancies implant in the Fallopian tube. Pregnancies can develop in the fimbrial end (5%), isthmus (12%), ampullary section (80%), and the cornual and interstitial part of the tube (2%). The mortality rate of the tubal pregnancy at the isthmus or within the uterus is higher as there is enhanced vascularity that may result more apparent in sudden major internal bleeding. A study published in 2010 establishes the hypothesis that tubal ectopic pregnancy is induced by a combination of retention of the embryo within the fallopian tube due to damaged embryo-tubal transport and alterations in the tubal environment conceding early implantation to occur.Ectopic Pregnancy types

Interstitial Pregnancy

An interstitial pregnancy is a rare prototype of ectopic pregnancy that happens when the fertilized egg implants in the part of the Fallopian tube embedded deep in the wall of the uterus.  Some physicians call interstitial pregnancies ‘cornual’ which is confusing, so the term ‘interstitial’ is preferred.

Nontubal Ectopic Pregnancy

The ectopic pregnancies transpire in the ovary, cervix, or are intra-abdominal near about 2%. Transvaginal ultrasound study is habitually able to detect a cervical pregnancy. An ovarian pregnancy is modified from a tubal pregnancy by the Spiegelberg criteria.

Heterotopic Pregnancy

In rare instances of ectopic pregnancy is heterotopic pregnancy, there may be two implanted eggs, one inside the uterus and the other outside. This is described as a heterotopic pregnancy. Nowadays heterotopic pregnancies are becoming more common, likely due to increased use of IVF. The survival rate of the uterine fetus of a heterotopic pregnancy is near about 70%.

Persistent Ectopic Pregnancy

A persistent ectopic pregnancy commits to the continuation of trophoblastic growth following a surgical intervention to remove an ectopic pregnancy. After a conservative plan concerning 15–20% the major portion of the ectopic growth may have been removed, but some trophoblastic tissue, perhaps deeply buried, has escaped removal and continues to grow, creating a new rise in hCG levels. After weeks this may commence to new clinical symptoms including bleeding. For this reason, hCG levels may have to be observed after removal of an ectopic pregnancy to confirm their decline, also methotrexate can be given at the time of surgery prophylactically.

Pregnancy of unknown location

Sometimes the pregnancy of unknown location is the term adopted for a pregnancy where there is a positive pregnancy test but no pregnancy has been visualized using transvaginal ultrasonography. The true nature of the fertilization can be an open-ended viable intrauterine pregnancy, a failed pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy or rarely a persisting Pregnancy of unknown location.

Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnosis

Ectopic pregnancy can be particularly tough to diagnose because it often manifests with symptoms that can be symptomatic of other, more usual, illnesses such as gastroenteritis, miscarriage or even appendicitis. Physicians rely on women to give them distinct histories concerning their symptoms and a pelvic exam can assist your physician to identify areas of pain, tenderness, or a mass in the fallopian tube or ovary. Though, your physician can't diagnose an ectopic pregnancy by observing you. You'll require blood tests and an ultrasound.

Pregnancy test

Your physician will arrange the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)and progesterone examination to validate that you're pregnant. Levels of this hormone rise throughout pregnancy. This blood examination may be repeated every few days till ultrasound testing can validate or rule out an ectopic pregnancy — habitually approximately five to six weeks following conception. Beta HCG levels usually rose throughout the pregnancy. An abnormal pattern in the rise of the HCG level can be a clue to the presence of an ectopic pregnancy. In rare instances, laparoscopy may be required to validate a diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy. Through laparoscopy, inspecting instruments are entered through small incisions in the abdominal wall to visualize the structures in the abdomen and the pelvis, thereby showing the site of the ectopic pregnancy.hCG level ectopic pregnancy

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is generated by an embryo once implantation has happened. In a normal pregnancy, the embryo implants in the uterus and the developing placenta makes hCG levels to increase. 3-4 weeks of pregnancy from the last menstrual period, the hCG levels will be high enough to trigger a positive result on a home pregnancy examination. The hCG levels will double every 48-72 hours throughout pregnancy in the early week, according to the American Pregnancy Association. The hCG will typically peak within week eight and 11. The hCG levels can be observed through a blood test. Slow rising hCG levels may indicate an ectopic pregnancy has happened. Blood hCG levels are not particularly effective to test for the viability of the pregnancy if the hCG level is entirely over 6,000 and/or after 6-7 weeks of the pregnancy. The quantitative blood test by Physicians will usually use if they are closely monitoring the development of a pregnancy but above a level of about 6,000 mIU/ml that makes no sense because at this point a sonogram gives sufficient information about the pregnancy.

If the hCG levels are less than 1,800, the pregnancy may not be visible on the ultrasound machine. In this case, a woman is often performed with a choice to wait and monitor the pregnancy until it can be observed. If there is no tissue in the womb, the pregnancy is defined to be ectopic. This method of discovering the position of the failing pregnancy is not preferred, as there is a possibility that there is an intrauterine pregnancy. If this method is utilized, and a pregnancy is not determined in the womb, the ectopic pregnancy may be managed with methotrexate.

If the hCG levels are over 1,800 and the pregnancy can be visualized in a Fallopian tube, the diagnosis is positive and treatment will be scheduled quickly by methotrexate injection.


A transvaginal ultrasound enables your physician to see the exact position of your pregnancy. For this test, a wandlike device is put into your vagina. It employs sound waves to create pictures of your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes and transmits the pictures to a nearby monitor.

Abdominal ultrasound is moved over your belly, further may be done to validate your pregnancy or assess for internal bleeding.

Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment

Ectopic pregnancies aren’t safe for the mother. A fertilized egg can't develop normally outside the uterus. To prevent life-threatening complications, it’s necessary to remove the embryo as soon as possible for the mother’s immediate health and long-term fertility. Depending on your symptoms, treatment options vary depending on the location of the ectopic pregnancy and its development. Treatment option may be done by applying medication, laparoscopic surgery or abdominal surgery.


An early ectopic pregnancy without unstable bleeding is most often treated with a medication called methotrexate. The methotrexate stops cell growth and dissolves existing cells. The medication is administered by injection. It's really important that the examination of ectopic pregnancy is marked before getting this treatment.

Following the injection, your physician will order another HCG test to determine how well the strategy is working, and if you require more medication. You should likewise get regular blood tests to secure that the drug is effective.

Meanwhile effective, the medication will produce manifestations that are similar to that of a miscarriage. These combine:



The passing of tissue

Methotrexate doesn’t provide the identical risks of fallopian tube injury that happen with surgery. You won’t be capable to get pregnant for some months following taking this medicine.


If the ectopic pregnancy is causing heavy bleeding, many doctors suggest eliminating the embryo and adjusting any internal damage. This method is described as a laparotomy. Your physician will insert a small camera into a tiny incision to make sure they can see their work. The physician then removes the embryo and repairs any injury to the fallopian tube.

Ectopic Pregnancy Complications

Now, ectopic pregnancy is usually diagnosed before the woman's health condition has worsened, for this reason, ectopic pregnancy is less probable to be the life-threatening disease.

The most prevalent complication of the ectopic pregnancy is the rupture with internal bleeding which may commence to hypovolemic shock. Failure to the correct diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy can result in tubal or uterine rupture, that can commence to massive hemorrhage,  disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC), shock, and even death. In the first trimester of pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy is the various common circumstances of pregnancy-related deaths and 10% of maternal mortality may be due to ectopic pregnancy.

Complications of surgery combine bleeding, infection, and injury to the enclosing organs, such as the bladder, bowel,  and ureters and nearby the major vessels.

Prevention of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Preventing an ectopic pregnancy is not currently possible. A woman may be able to minimize by:

Quitting smoking

Not having unprotected sex

Limiting the number of sex partners

Early diagnosis of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Women with the birth defect in the fallopian tube, infertility,  endometriosis (a condition where uterine tissue grows in other areas of the pelvis), or age-related risks should get regular checkups by a qualified gynecologist.

Women should seek early advice from a healthcare professional when she is pregnant. The woman should be advised an ultrasound scan within 6 and 8 weeks of pregnancy to validate that the pregnancy is occurring in the uterus.

What is Methotrexate?

Methotrexate is a type of medicine that can be used as a way to treat a pregnancy that’s implanted outside the uterus known as the ectopic pregnancy or tubal pregnancy. Methotrexate is given by injection, and usually, just 1 dose is given.

The methotrexate will end the pregnancy and the level of pregnancy hormone in your blood should decrease over 2 to 4 days. You will require to have blood tests to monitor the level of pregnancy hormone in your blood. Based on your blood test, your physician will tell you if you need another injection of methotrexate.

After you get methotrexate, you may have:

Moderate to mild cramps or pain in the abdomen

Vaginal bleeding (like a period)

Your physician wants you to must a blood test 2 to 3 times a week, for 2 to 3 weeks. This is to indicate if the methotrexate worked to stop the pregnancy.

Side effects of methotrexate may include:

Decreased appetite

Nausea and/or vomiting (for 24 hours)

Sores in the mouth

Feeling tired


Redness, swelling, or pain at the injection site


Having trouble sleeping

If you require to take pain medicine for a headache, cramping, you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

To support relax the muscles that make cramping, you can practice a hot water bottle or a heating pad.

heavy vaginal bleeding that soaks more than 1 pad an hour, trouble breathing and swelling in the face, mouth, or tongue. Call your physician for the emergency.

After taking methotrexate, do not take aspirin  for 2 days, and penicillin, tetracycline, or minocycline for 2 days.

FAQ about Ectopic Pregnancy

Q.Pelvic infection from chlamydia & an ectopic pregnancy

A: Pelvic infections from STDs such as chlamydia can produce scarring on the fallopian tubes, the tubes that carry a fertilized egg from the ovaries to the uterus. The scarring on the fallopian tube may block the fallopian tube, causing the fertilized egg not capable to move through. While a fertilized egg starts to grow outside the uterus, such as in the fallopian tube or outside, it is known as an ectopic pregnancy. Abdominal pain and bleeding the first symptoms of the ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy can be serious and needs end of the pregnancy. Though, if it is detected early it can be treated successfully and you can usual likely become pregnant again, so put a close watch on your situation.

Q: I'm just a few weeks pregnant and have abdominal pain with bleeding. The physician said I might have an ectopic pregnancy and that I require to have blood examinations done every few days. Why do I possess to do this?

A: Diagnosing of an ectopic pregnancy is a step-by-step manner. The first step is beta hCG testing. This blood test measures levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).The hCG levels double every two days for the first ten weeks of pregnancy. If your physician doubts that you might have an ectopic pregnancy, the physicians might test your hCG level every few days. If you have lower hCG levels than they should be for your stage of pregnancy, your pregnancy could be ectopic.

Q: I had an ectopic pregnancy that was repaired by surgery. Now, I'm seeking to get pregnant again. Can I anticipate to have difficulties?

A: It depends on your surgery that was done before and how extensive surgery that was. If the fallopian tube did not rupture, your possibility for a future normal pregnancy is 50 percent, among a 15-percent chance of a repeat ectopic pregnancy. If the fallopian tube had to be eliminated, your possibilities are a bit moderate because if you have a second ectopic pregnancy and the tube has to be removed, you will not capable to conceive naturally. In any circumstance, you are at greater chance for an ectopic pregnancy next time.