Symptoms Of An Ectopic Pregnancy

September 28, 2023

An ectopic pregnancy happens when an otherwise typical fertilized egg ends up outside of the uterus, implanting itself in an unsafe area unintended to protect an ongoing pregnancy. These usually occur somewhere inside a fallopian tube, the part that transmits the egg to the uterus from the ovaries. When a fertilized egg implants inside the tube, it is known as a tubal pregnancy. However, it is possible for the egg to implant in the abdominal cavity, in the ovary, or further down. Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancies cannot survive. These are the symptoms to watch out for.

Nausea And Vomiting

Typically, a fertilized egg will implant and develop in the upper lining of the uterus. As we have noted, ectopic pregnancies result in an egg that has implanted in the fallopian tubes. It can be difficult to tell at first whether or not you are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy because the symptoms are similar to a normal pregnancy, including nausea and vomiting. In the beginning, there will also be fatigue, tenderness, and a missed period. However, when nausea and vomiting are combined with vaginal bleeding, abdominal tenderness, or sharp abdominal pain, something may be wrong. It's a good idea for anyone considered high risk, such as those who have previously had an ectopic pregnancy, who have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, have undergone a previous tubal surgery, or who have an active IUD, to seek medical attention.

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Sharp Cramps In The Abdomen

Because the areas where ectopic eggs end up have no room for growth compared to the uterus, they will burst once the embryo begins to get bigger. In most cases, an ectopic pregnancy is asymptomatic, with any symptoms that do appear seeming similar to a typical pregnancy. However, experiencing sharp cramps in the abdomen is a known symptom of an ectopic pregnancy, so it's always worth heading to the doctor. This type of pain may come on suddenly and may also come with nausea, or it could feel like a dull pain that begins mildly in intervals, especially when using the restroom, during energetic activity, or during a cough. You may also experience pain in the shoulder while laying down; this is another symptom that more specifically points towards an ectopic pregnancy. Shoulder pain appears to happen when internal bleeding has begun, so seek immediate help.

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If you experience dizziness during pregnancy, this can be a symptom of an ectopic pregnancy. While this symptom could be explained away by anemia, an insufficient amount of sleep, or from not eating enough in general, it is possible fainting and dizziness can occur from internal bleeding. This happens when one of the fallopian tubes ruptures from the growth of the egg, resulting in hemorrhage, and additional symptoms like pale, clammy skin and palpitations. Whether you feel faint or not at this point, if you're feeling these symptoms, seek immediate help. Internal bleeding can cause the mother's blood pressure to drastically drop, and she may experience fatigue or shortness of breath. In the emergency room, a rapid urine test first confirms the pregnancy, and then a quantitative hCG test examines the urine for a placental hormone. If it tests positive, then it would appear an ectopic pregnancy has occurred; it is imperative to treat this before it harms the mother.

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Pain On One Side Of The Body

As we have mentioned before, you may not notice any unusual symptoms indicating ectopic pregnancy in the earlier stages. In fact, only half of those who develop ectopic pregnancies will experience all of the symptoms: a missing period or abnormal bleeding, and sharp pains in the belly. Pain on one side of the body is definitely something to speak with a doctor about. When mild to severe single-sided abdominal pain occurs, this can indicate a ruptured fallopian tube. When this happens, you require immediate medical attention and surgery to remove the egg and repair the tissue. In addition to sudden, severe pain, you may experience an inexplicable urge to have a bowel movement, indicating potential internal bleeding. If you are also feeling lightheaded and dizzy, it is critical to call 911 as you could be entering shock and must be in the emergency room.

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Vaginal Spotting

Bleeding can occur as early as when the ectopic embryo implants itself inside the fallopian tube. This is similar to when the embryo settles in the uterus, so this vaginal spotting alone may not be worrisome for the mother. Unfortunately, there is no way to distinguish between fallopian blood with uterine bleeding on eyesight alone; this requires an ultrasound to see no fetus in the womb. When the tube ruptures, severe bleeding can follow. Blood can build up into the abdominal cavity, resulting in a loss of blood pressure and shock from serious blood loss. When a fallopian tube rupture causes shock, its immediate removal via surgery must be performed to save the mother. Likewise, an ectopic pregnancy that implants onto the cervix or the ovary, the other two common sites for an ectopic pregnancy to settle, will not grow very much before it causes either site to rupture and cause massive bleeding.

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