Have you ever heard the term pregnancy outside the womb? In the world of medicine, this condition is called an ectopic pregnancy and usually causes vaginal bleeding and severe pain in the lower abdomen pelvic area. An ectopic pregnancy like this must be treated fast because it is dangerous for the mother, and the fetus can also not develop properly.
Pregnancy is something that all couples look forward to. This process occurs when a sperm cell has successfully fertilized the egg and then settles in the fallopian tube before being released into the uterus. In the womb, then the egg will develop until it’s time to be born into the world.
In the pregnancy outside the womb or ectopic pregnancies, the fertilized egg cannot attach to the uterus but instead attaches to other organs. Usually, the fallopian tube is the organ that is most often attached to the egg in this ectopic pregnancy condition. Not only that, but ectopic pregnancy may also occur in the ovaries, cervix or even the abdominal cavity.
So what is the cause of pregnancy outside the womb? For complete information, let’s have a look at the complete review.
Causes of pregnancy outside the womb
Basically, the cause of ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy outside the womb cannot be known with certainty. However, this condition is often associated with damage to the fallopian tubes or tubes that connect the ovaries and uterus. Damage to the fallopian tube itself can be caused by many factors, including:
- Genetic or hereditary factors
- Hormone imbalance
- Inflammation due to infection or medical procedure
- Abnormal development of reproductive organs
Damage to the fallopian tubes must be treated immediately. If not, you have a high chance of having an ectopic pregnancy or getting pregnant outside the womb. This is quite dangerous, both for the mother and the developing fetus, so appropriate medical action must be taken.
Factors that increase the risk of getting pregnant outside the womb
An ectopic pregnancy can happen to anyone or any woman who has actively had sex. There are some factors that increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, such as:
- Pregnant at the age of 35 years or older
- Have a history of pelvic inflammation and endometriosis
- Suffering from sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia
- Had an ectopic pregnancy in a previous pregnancy
- Repeated miscarriage
- Have a history of surgery in the abdominal and pelvic area
- Had treatment related to fertility
- Using spiral type of contraception
- Have an excessive smoking habit
Symptoms of pregnancy outside the womb that need to be watched out
Usually, an ectopic pregnancy does not show any significant symptoms in the early stages. However, usually, the signs or characteristics of pregnancy outside the womb are similar to regular pregnancy, such as nausea, stopped menstruation and hardened breasts. As for the advanced stages, usually, other symptoms will begin to appear, such as abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding.
Symptoms of pregnancy outside the womb will get worse over time. Not infrequently, the symptoms of abdominal pain due to pregnancy outside the womb are similar to the symptoms of appendicitis. If you experience this condition, immediately come to the hospital for further examination.
The right time to check with the doctor
After understanding the difference between normal and extra-uterine pregnancy, then you can immediately make observations for the current pregnancy. If you show symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, then you need to start being vigilant. Immediately consult a doctor if you experience any of the following conditions:
- Pain like stabbing in the abdomen, pelvis, shoulders and neck
- Pain in one part of the lower abdomen gets worse over time
- Pain in the anus when defecating
- There is light to heavy bleeding from the vagina with blood that is darker in color than menstrual blood
- Dizziness or weakness
If you experience any of the above conditions, it’s a good idea to immediately consult a doctor. This is usually a sign that the fallopian tube has ruptured, causing you to have an ectopic pregnancy. The reason is that the successful percentage of pregnancy outside the womb is very small, so you need to be vigilant.
Treatment for ectopic pregnancy
You need to know that the fertilized egg will not be able to grow if it is outside the uterus. That is why ectopic tissue must be removed immediately. This is to prevent the patient from serious complications that occur due to pregnancy outside the womb.
Usually, the doctor will suggest several types of treatment if you show symptoms of pregnancy outside the womb, including:
1. Methotrexate injection
The method of treatment for pregnancy outside the womb in the early stages is by injecting methotrexate. Injection of this drug aims to stop the growth of ectopic cells, as well as destroy cells that have already formed.
After the injection, the doctor will usually monitor the level of the HCG hormone in the patient’s blood every 2-3 days until the level decreases. If the level of HCG decreases, it indicates that the pregnancy is no longer developing.
2. Laparoscopic Surgery
The next treatment for ectopic pregnancy is to perform laparoscopic surgery. Through this procedure, the doctor will remove the ectopic tissue and the part of the fallopian tube where the ectopic tissue is attached.
If possible, doctors will usually only repair part of the fallopian tube without needing to be removed. This is to avoid the effects of pregnancy surgery outside the womb while increasing the chances of getting pregnant in the future.
3. Laparotomy surgery
In addition to Laparoscopic surgery, treatment for pregnancy outside the womb can also be done by performing Laparotomy. This procedure is usually done to treat patients who experience heavy bleeding due to an ectopic pregnancy, so emergency measures are needed.
In this procedure, the doctor will usually make a large incision in the abdomen as a way to remove ectopic tissue or a ruptured fallopian tube. This is very important to do for the safety of the mother.
How to prevent pregnancy outside the womb
Ectopic pregnancy can happen to any woman, especially those who have risk factors. Because the early symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are the same as a normal pregnancy, whether a pregnancy outside the womb can be tested, the answer is yes, and the results will be the same as a normal pregnancy.
There are several preventive steps to avoid the risk of ectopic pregnancy that can be taken, including:
- Avoid risky sex risks such as having multiple partners without using a condom
- Avoid smoking before pregnancy
Those are some things about pregnancy outside the womb that you need to know. Mothers who show symptoms of pregnancy should immediately do a blood test and ultrasound early on. This is to determine whether there is a possibility of an ectopic pregnancy or not. In this way, the doctor can treat it earlier so that the chances of recovery will also increase.