In about 6-16% of all pregnancies, the fertilized egg attaches somewhere other than the uterus, causing an ectopic pregnancy. Victoria Mills, DO, at Mills Obstetrics & Gynecology can diagnose an ectopic pregnancy and provide quick treatment to prevent serious complications — as long as you come in for help before the ectopic pregnancy ruptures the fallopian tube. Early treatment is essential, so if you miss your period and experience symptoms such as mild abdominal pain or bleeding, call the office in Oklahoma City right away.
You have an ectopic pregnancy when a fertilized egg implants and grows somewhere other than the uterus. About 98% of all ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes, where it’s called a tubal pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancies can also develop in the ovary, which is the second most common site. In very rare cases, the fertilized egg attaches outside the reproductive tract.
You’ll skip your period and, if you take a pregnancy test, it will come out positive. You may even experience other common signs of pregnancy, such as nausea or breast tenderness. However, at this early stage, you won’t have symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy.
When symptoms develop, you’ll have:
You could also feel shoulder pain: The location of your pain depends on where blood collects.
The fertilized egg eventually gets large enough to rupture your fallopian tube and cause severe bleeding.
A ruptured fallopian tube is a life-threatening emergency — call 9-1-1 if you experience symptoms such as:
You may go into shock, which occurs when your organs don’t get enough blood. Symptoms of shock include:
Some people also become anxious, agitated, or confused when they go into shock.
After performing a transvaginal ultrasound to determine the exact location of the fertilized egg, Dr. Mills recommends one of the following treatment options:
When an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed early, before bleeding begins, Dr. Mills may inject a medication, methotrexate, that stops cell growth and dissolves the existing cells.
Dr. Mills makes a small incision in your abdomen and inserts a laparoscope, which is equipped with a light and camera. After viewing the fallopian tube to target the location of the ectopic pregnancy, the doctor uses other specialized tools to remove the fertilized egg. Your fallopian tube may be repaired or removed, depending on the degree of damage.
When your fallopian tube ruptures and emergency surgery is necessary, you’ll undergo traditional open surgery so your doctors can quickly remove the egg and ruptured tube and stop the bleeding.
At the very first sign of an ectopic pregnancy, call Mills Obstetrics & Gynecology so Dr. Mills can immediately provide treatment.