Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg fails to implant correctly in the uterus, mostly implanting in the Fallopian tube. As the pregnancy grows it results in bleeding into the abdominal cavity which in some instances can be very severe. In addition to the bleeding pain is typically a feature. Women who have intrauterine contraceptive devices, previous pelvic infection or previous tubal surgery are at an increased risk.

Investigations

A pelvic ultrasound is often all that is required to identify the pregnancy outside the uterine cavity. However if the pregnancy is early a blood test, which is often repeated 48 hours later, would help indicate whether an ectopic pregnancy is likely.

Treatment

The standard treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is a laparoscopy which enables the pregnancy to be seen so that treatment can be performed. This treatment either involves removable of the pregnancy only but more commonly removal of the affected tube. In some circumstances medicines can be used to treat ectopic pregnancy under special circumstances.

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