Ectopic pregnancyEctopic pregnancy
is that which takes place outside the uterus. In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tubes to finally reach the uterus where the hormones in the woman's body have created a suitable mucosa for cell division to take place and give rise to an embryo.
In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg finds some kind of obstruction on its way to the uterus, being retained without being able to reach the place that the woman's body has prepared for its growth.
. Generally, in this type of pregnancy the egg remains in the fallopian tubes, although pregnancies can also occur where the egg has been retained in the ovaries or in the abdominal cavity.
When the fertilized egg does not reach the uterus, its development as a result of cell division causes serious health problems for the woman. The fallopian tubes, the main place where the fertilized egg is retained in ectopic pregnancies, are very narrow tubes, so the growth of the egg can cause the tubes to burst.
Factors of an ectopic pregnancy
There are several causes that can result in an ectopic pregnancy. The main factors that can cause this type of pregnancy are:
The fertilized egg may have disproportionate dimensions. It may happen that the egg is too large to pass through the fallopian tubes. In this case, it will be blocked in one of the fallopian tubes because it cannot complete its movement.
Slow movement of the egg. If for some reason the movement of the egg that will take it to the uterus is slower than normal, it can happen that it does not reach its goal, causing the development of the egg in the wrong place.
Having the tubes tied, known as tubal surgery. Women who have undergone this treatment to avoid pregnancy have an obstruction in the tubes, so that, in the event of fertilization, the passage of the egg becomes impossible, increasing the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Similarly, women who have undergone tubal recanalization surgery to become pregnant again have a higher risk of experiencing this type of extrauterine pregnancy.
Having suffered from pelvic inflammatory disease. Having suffered an upper reproductive tract infection, usually caused by untreated sexually transmitted infections, is a triggering factor for extrauterine pregnancies.
Having experienced a previous ectopic pregnancy. Having had an ectopic pregnancy in the past increases the likelihood of a repeat pregnancy by 10 to 25 percent.
Age. The rate of ectopic pregnancy increases with the age of the woman, being higher in women between 35 and 44 years old.
IUD. Women with an intrauterine device, in the rare event that they become pregnant, have a high chance that it is extrauterine.
Presence of endometriosis
Congenital fallopian tube defects
Tobacco use. Women who smoke are twice as likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. This is because nicotine can paralyze the cilia found in the lining of the fallopian tubes, which are responsible for carrying the fertilized egg to the uterus.
Signs of ectopic pregnancy
The signs that demonstrate the presence of an ectopic pregnancy are often unclear.
. In most cases, the same symptoms are experienced as in a classic pregnancy, i.e. nausea, fatigue, weakness. Only some women may present signs that alert to the presence of an extrauterine pregnancy. The main symptoms to take into account are:
Very severe pain in the lower abdomen. It occurs initially on one side only. This pain may be felt when urinating, having a bowel movement, coughing or making sudden movements.
Many women with extrauterine pregnancies experience nausea and dizziness, as well as faintness or weakness.
Low back pain and shoulder pain. Some women also experience rectal pressure.
Can an ectopic pregnancy be detected?
The tests to detect the presence of this type of pregnancy are a pregnancy test and a vaginal ultrasound.
How to prevent it
There is no way to prevent an ectopic pregnancy, you can only reduce the chances of it occurring, avoiding infections that could cause scarring of the fallopian tubes and therefore its obstruction. To this end, it is advisable to practice sexual intercourse with caution, taking measures to avoid contracting infections. In the event of infection, it is vital to receive the appropriate treatment. Another point that reduces the occurrence of this type of pregnancy is to avoid smoking.
Can an ectopic pregnancy be aborted?
In some cases the ectopic pregnancy is aborted naturally, but in others it is necessary to use pharmacological or surgical treatments to avoid the damage that this type of pregnancy can cause in the woman's body.
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