Ectopic Pregnancy Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis

When a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus is called an ectopic pregnancy.

Updated: June 16, 2022

When a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus is called an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic is the medical word which means "tissue out of place". These pregnancies are generally end in miscarriage. It can result in a life-threatening medical situation if left untreated. Go for medical treatment immediately if you doubt that you are having ectopic pregnancy symptoms.  An ectopic pregnancy should be treated immediately before fallopian tube gets ruptured and severe blood loss. If your doctor will able to detect the ectopic pregnancy in the early stage then you can end the pregnancy by injection or surgery.Using methotrexate you can end an ectopic pregnancy. You have to test your hormone blood-level to make sure that treatment has worked. If the tube get ruptured in ectopic pregnancy, laparoscopic surgery is needed. 



Ectopic Pregnancy - Causes

The most common cause of ectopic pregnancy is damage in fallopian tube. A fertilized egg get stuck in the damaged area of a fallobian tube and start growing there. In some cases ectopic pregnancies cause is unknown. There are various causes of fallopian tube damage that may result in an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Smoking is one of the causes of damaged fallopian tube. Smoking can harm your tubes by making it unable to to move the fertilized egg toward the uterus. Women who smoke has higher rates of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection that can make block the fallopian tubes.
  • Fallopian tube surgery helps to treat blocked tubes.
  • A previous ectopic pregnancy in a fallopian tube.


Ectopic Pregnancy - Symptoms

There are various symptoms of an early ectopic pregnancy. It's similar to a normal pregnancy. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are mostly same as early pregnancy symptoms of a normal pregnancy, such as:

  • A missed menstrual period
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Increased urination.
  • Light vaginal bleeding
  • Tender breasts
  • Pelvic pain
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting (syncope) caused by internal bleeding.


Diagnosis of Ectopic Pregnancy

Pelvic exam, ultrasound, and blood tests are the methods of detecting ectopic pregnancy. You will go through all these  process if you have symptoms of a possible ectopic pregnancy.


  • A pelvic exam can detect  the uterus or fallopian tubes, if there is any mass appear in that area.
  • Transvaginal Ultra sound can detect the pregnancy location where exactly it is in the lower abdomen. If transvaginal ultra sound can not detect any signs of an embryo or fetus in the uterus as expected, then it will be considered as an ectopic pregnancy. Apart from this, hCG levels also keep on rising in ectopic pregnancy.
  • Blood tests of pregnancy hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG) levels also can detect an ectopic pregnancy. Two or more blood tests has to be done to detect the ectopic pregnancy. Generally hCG levels double in every 2 days in the early weeks of a normal pregnancy. Low or slowly increasing levels of hCG in the blood is considered as an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage.


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