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What's An Ectopic Pregnancy & How Is It Best Treated?

Ectopic pregnancy is a rare pregnancy condition were the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes. It should be intervened immediately to avoid life-threatening issues ahead. Here's everything to know about it, as well as how should one deal with it.

A fertilized egg should make its home or implant itself somewhere in the uterus to ensure a safe and secure growth. But in some rare conditions, it implants itself in the fallopian tube, and that results in an ectopic pregnancy. This implantation is considered entirely unsafe for the mother because if it's left to grow, it can damage the nearby organs leading to jeopardizing her life. Identifying an ectopic pregnancy can be done only by blood tests or ultrasound and is usually concluded after five to six weeks of conception.

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The hCG blood tests confirm your pregnancy and a USG after five to six weeks confirm or rule out an ectopic pregnancy. A transvaginal ultrasound enables the doctor to view the exact location of the implanted embryo. For this test, a wandlike device is placed into your vagina. It uses sound waves to create images of your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes and sends the pictures to a nearby monitor. An abdominal ultrasound is also used to evaluate any internal bleeding further to continue the process further. On encountering such a situation, a medical practitioner suggests immediate termination of pregnancy by removing the ectopic tissue.

A significant concern upon the identification of ectopic pregnancy would be a complete blood count check to review anemia or any other signs of blood loss. Depending on your symptoms and when the ectopic pregnancy is discovered, the termination may be done using medication, laparoscopic surgery, or abdominal surgery. Medication is done when ectopic pregnancy is detected early without unstable bleeding. It involves injecting a drug called methotrexate, which stops cell growth and dissolves existing cells. After the medication, a doctor can get the insight of the treatment progress by ordering another hCG test and then determine if you need further medication.

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The second treatment could be a laparoscopic treatment, in which a small incision is made in the abdomen, near or in the navel. The doctor uses a thin tube equipped with a camera lens and light (laparoscope) to view the tubal area. The ectopic pregnancy is removed, and the tube is either repaired (salpingostomy) or removed (salpingectomy). If you have encountered heavy bleeding, the practitioner will take you for an emergency surgery through an abdominal incision (laparotomy).

With so many things going on, it's natural to feel devastated when encountering ectopic pregnancy. But many women diagnosed with it have had a healthy pregnancy in the future. Moreover, if one fallopian tube is removed, the fertilization can take place in the second one. If both of them are removed, you can still conceive by the IVF method. Needless to say, becoming pregnant can still be possible!

RELATED: New Ohio Bill Orders Doctors To “Reimplant Ectopic Pregnancies” Or Face Charges

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