An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus. If the pregnancy continues to grow outside of the uterus and say in the fallopian tube, it could destroy the fallopian tube and could become life threatening as well.
An undetected and undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy can rupture the fallopian tube and the patient can bleed to death.
How does a doctor diagnose an ectopic pregnancy?
There are a number of diagnostic tests including a sonogram or ultrasound and serial or sequential blood tests. The blood tests evaluate your hormone levels, known as Beta HCG levels. The doctor will look to see if those levels are increasing (meaning the pregnancy is progressing), is decreasing or staying flat.
Patients may have back pain, flank pain, bleeding when going to the bathroom and a positive pregnancy test.
If an ectopic pregnancy is timely diagnosed there are a few different ways to treat it. If it is a very early pregnancy, a potent medication known as methotrexate can be given. However, if the pregnancy has implanted in the fallopian tube and is continuing to grow, there may be only two surgical options:
Removing the pregnancy from within the fallopian tube or removing the entire fallopian tube.
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