A tubal pregnancy, also medically called an ectopic pregnancy, is the result of an embryo resting in the fallopian tube, rather than the uterus. Tubal pregnancies cannot safely be carried to term and can also create potentially life-threatening medical situations for the mom, according to the Mayo Clinic. Catching tubal pregnancy early can reduce the risk of severe medical complications and make it easier to have successful pregnancies in the years following your recovery.
Some symptoms associated with tubal pregnancy indicate a medical emergency, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you have an urge to defecate but cannot pass feces, if you experience severe vaginal bleeding or suffer from a sudden and sharp pain in your pelvis or abdomen, an ectopic pregnancy could have caused the fallopian tube to rupture.
Other symptoms may indicate an ectopic pregnancy; keep in mind that any at-home pregnancy tests you perform may turn out positive, but this does not mean necessarily that the embryo is nested inside your uterus. Mild pelvic cramping or abdominal pain and light bleeding not associated with a menstrual period are signs that may help your doctor identify a tubal pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
A tubal pregnancy cannot only cause the fallopian tube to rupture, but it may also lead to life-threatening blood loss if not treated, according to the Mayo Clinic. Also, if this condition is not promptly identified, you may lose your fertility and, in some cases, reproductive organs.
The only treatments that cure ectopic pregnancy result in termination of the embryo, according to the Mayo Clinic. Even if left untreated, the embryo cannot develop normally and will never become a full-term baby. If caught early, a tubal pregnancy can sometimes be treated through injections of the drug methotrexate. This inhibits cell growth and dissolves existing embryonic cells. Some cases may require surgery. Laparoscopic methods, which don’t require traditional abdominal incisions, are usually employed when the surgery is not the result of a potentially life-threatening emergency, such as a ruptured fallopian tube. Emergency surgeries to combat the risks of tubal pregnancies usually require abdominal incisions.
Doctors haven’t pinpointed the exact cause of tubal pregnancies, according to the Mayo Clinic. Women who have scarred fallopian tubes may be more susceptible to having an ectopic pregnancy. While there is no surefire way to prevent tubal pregnancies, doctors note that limiting the number of sexual partners may reduce this risk.
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