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Understanding an Ectopic Pregnancy - What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

Aug 17, 2007
Basically, in regards to an ectopic pregnancy, the term ectopic refers to 'out of place', as the fertilized egg has been implanted outside of the uterus, where it should have been implanted. In other words, the egg has settled in the fallopian tubes, and this can be an incredibly dangerous and even deadly matter.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy?

There are certain signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy which, if you notice, you should immediately consult your physician in order to be sure that you are having a normal pregnancy and not an ectopic pregnancy, and these symptoms include such things as the following: vaginal spotting or bleeding, dizziness or fainting, low blood pressure, and lower back pain.

It should be noted however that can be incredibly difficult to diagnose, particularly because the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy often mirror those of a normal early pregnancy. These symptoms may include that of missed periods, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, or frequent urination. Because the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are often so similar to that of a regular pregnancy, you should make sure to make frequent trips to your physician in order to make sure that your pregnancy is moving along properly.

In regards to what actually causes an ectopic pregnancy, this typically results from a fertilized egg's inability to work its way quickly enough down the fallopian tube into the uterus, and an inflammation of the tube may have in fact partially or entirely blocked it.

If you arrive in the emergency department complaining of abdominal pain, you will most likely be given a urine pregnancy test, and although these tests are not sophisticated, they are fast, and speed can be incredibly crucial in regards to treating an ectopic pregnancy.

As well, if you already know that you are pregnant, or if the urine test comes back positive, you will probably then be given a quantitative HCG test, which measures the levels of the hormone HCG, which is produced by the placenta. This hormone appears in the blood and urine as early as ten days after contraception, and its levels tend to double every 2 days for the next 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Usually the doctor will give you a pelvic examination in order to locate the areas that are causing you pain, and in order to also check for an enlarged, pregnant uterus, or to find any masses in your abdomen.
About the Author
Eddie Lamb publishes an abundance of vital information on a range of health topics. We believe a better understanding of your condition can help reduce unnecessary anxiety. You'll find a host of useful articles all about ectopic pregnancy listed on our site map page at Ectopic Pregnancy.
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