Ectopic Pregnancy— Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Ectopic pregnancy is a condition where the pregnancy that normally occurs in the womb, occurs either in the fallopian tube, ovary or at a site other than the uterus.

What symptoms does a patient present with?
A patient sometimes may have no symptom, and it may be detected on an ultrasound.

Some patients may have symptoms of early pregnancy like a missed period, nausea.

Some may present with slight vaginal bleed or severe pain in the lower abdomen.

There are times when the ectopic pregnancy ruptures in the abdomen the patient has a severe bleed in the abdomen. This is a life-threatening condition.

Risk factors and Causes of ectopic pregnancy

-Previous history of ectopic pregnancy

-Infection or inflammation of the fallopian tubes increases the chances of ectopic pregnancy.

-If a patient has undergone any tubal surgery, there are increased chances of ectopic in such patients.

-Contraception or Intrauterine devices also increase the chances of pregnancy if it occurs.


The doctor will examine you and find any fullness or pain during the examination which increases the doubt of an ectopic. It will however be confirmed with the help of a pregnancy test and ultrasound.

Pregnancy Test-
The doctor may advise a test which is called a beta hcg ,which is confirmatory for diagnosing a pregnancy. However its value can co-relate to the weeks of pregnancy and can help in the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy.

An ultrasound preferably a transvaginal ultrasound helps in the diagnosis. It may show the location of the pregnancy, whether it’s in the uterus or fallopian tube or ovary. If there is the presence of fluid in the abdomen, it can be detected by the ultrasound.

Ectopic pregnancy can be treated with the help of-

1. Medical Management-In cases where the sac size is small and is detected very early and the patient is stable medical management can be tried. An injection called methotrexate is given.

2. Surgery- Ectopic pregnancy can be treated with the help of surgery where the affected fallopian tube is removed. It is called salpingectomy. In cases, the affected part of the tube is removed, and the remaining portion is joined; it is called salpingostomy. These procedures can be done with the help of laparoscopy.

Emergency laparoscopy or open surgery has to be done in case the ectopic pregnancy has ruptured to save the life of the patient.

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