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Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment

Pregnancy occurs when the woman's ovary releases an egg into the fallopian tube, where it is fertilized by the man's sperm. The fertilized egg, referred to as a zygote, remains in the fallopian tube for 3 to 4 days, after which it travels to the uterus and attaches to the uterine lining, where it continues to grow into an embryo. When these steps take place, a normal pregnancy results. However, in some cases, a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy.

Usually, ectopic pregnancies occur when the fertilized egg implants itself in one of the fallopian tubes (known as a tubal pregnancy), but in other cases the egg may implant itself in the abdominal cavity, ovary or neck of the uterus (cervix). An ectopic pregnancy poses a serious health risk as embryonic tissue growth in these areas could destroy maternal structures and, if left untreated, threaten the mother's life due to excessive blood loss. Unfortunately, there is no way of transferring an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus; the only option, in order to preserve the mother's overall health, is to terminate the pregnancy.

Seeking early treatment for an ectopic pregnancy, however, can help prevent potential damage to the reproductive system and preserve the possibility of future healthy pregnancies. Schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in that specializes in ectopic pregnancy treatment. Call (408) 946-9453 or contact us online.

Ectopic Pregnancy Causes

Ectopic pregnancies most commonly occur as the result of the fertilized egg getting caught in the fallopian tube on its way to the uterus (tubal pregnancy), which often happens because the fallopian tube is damaged or inflamed. Additional ectopic pregnancy causes might include hormonal imbalances or abnormal development of the fertilized egg.

Your risk of an ectopic pregnancy is higher if you have experienced previous ectopic pregnancies, surgery which affected your fallopian tubes such as a tubal ligation procedure, or currently have a condition which impacts the health of your uterus and fallopian tubes such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms

Ectopic pregnancies typically take place within the first week of pregnancy, and oftentimes they don't present signs of usual pregnancy, with patients unaware of their pregnancy until problems arise. Common ectopic pregnancy symptoms include:

Seeking prompt diagnosis and treatment of a possible ectopic pregnancy can prevent structural damage that could cause infertility or threaten a mother's life. It is important to seek immediate treatment if you experience severe abdominal or pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, extreme lightheadedness or fainting

Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment

If an ectopic pregnancy is suspected, your healthcare provider will conduct a pelvic examination during which he or she inspects for pain, tenderness or a mass in the fallopian tube or ovary. Imaging tests will follow to confirm an ectopic pregnancy diagnosis. A standard ultrasound will likely be done of the abdominal area, while a more specific transvaginal ultrasound, using a wand-like device to inspect the inside of the vagina, will also likely be recommended.

Ectopic pregnancy treatment will begin with removal of the ectopic tissue to ensure life-threatening consequences of the pregnancy do not ensue. If the ectopic pregnancy is caught early, an injection of methotrexate can stop cell growth and dissolve existing cells. Following the injection, your healthcare provider will monitor your blood for the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone. High levels of this hormone could indicate the need for an additional injection of methotrexate.

Surgery, on the other hand, might be recommended and is usually done through laparoscopy. This procedure involves making a small incision in the abdomen, near the navel, followed by your healthcare provider using a thin tube attached to a camera and light (laparoscope) to visualize this area. Small incisions are made to remove the ectopic tissue and repair the fallopian tube; if the damage sustained to the fallopian tube is severe, it may need to be removed.

An emergency procedure called a laparotomy may be required if the ectopic pregnancy causes heavy bleeding or if the fallopian tube is ruptured. In some cases, the fallopian tube can be repaired, while in more severe cases the ruptured tube must be removed.

In order to ensure the more threatening complications of an ectopic pregnancy do not ensue, it is important to seek professional medical treatment as soon as symptoms arise. Schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in that specializes in ectopic pregnancy treatment. Call (408) 946-9453 or contact us online.

Gul A. Zikria, MD, FACOG As an expert in preventive care, innovative treatment solutions, and laparoscopic surgery, board-certified OB/GYN Gul A. Zikria, MD, FACOG, is a trusted practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1985. Dr. Zikria earned his doctor of medicine from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark. He went on to complete a competitive surgical residency program at Georgetown University in Washington. Dr. Zikria then went through a comprehensive obstetrics and gynecology residency program through the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at the Magee-Women’s Hospital. He welcomes new and existing patients to his practice in Milpitas, California.

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