Tubal pregnancy is also known as ectopic pregnancy - a condition where the fertilized egg implants itself in the fallopian tubes or any other tissue outside of the uterus. Tubal pregnancy can be life threatening, if not attended to in time. This is because it can lead to the rupture of the pelvic organ and consequent hemorrhage. It can also affect the woman's ability to become pregnant later.
Since it is impossible to carry a tubal pregnancy to term, it becomes imperative to resort to surgery to remove the products of conception since they cannot develop into a fetus. This is done without damage to fallopian tubes, as far as possible. This can be done with laparoscopy in non-emergency situations. Tubal pregnancy can happen to any woman but there are some causes that can increase the likelihood of such a pregnancy condition. Some of the causes for tubal pregnancy are: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, endometriosis or tubal scarring. Infection of the fallopian tubes such as gonorrhea or chlamydia can lead to a tubal pregnancy. The risk of ectopic pregnancy is manifold in cases of pregnancy after tubal sterilization. The use of the 'morning after pill' - emergency contraception is often noticed as a cause for tubal pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy is usually detected in the first 5 - 10 weeks of pregnancy. Ultrasound tests and hCG levels in the blood can help in identifying an ectopic pregnancy. The rate of increase of hCG in the blood is much slower in the case of an ectopic pregnancy or a potential miscarriage. Lower progesterone levels can also be an indication of likely tubal pregnancy. A woman having a tubal pregnancy will experience lower abdominal pain with cramping. There may be abnormal vaginal bleeding and breast tenderness. Lower back pain is another symptom. Severe bleeding and hemorrhage is the most dangerous symptom of ectopic pregnancy and needs prompt medical attention. If there is an emergency situation, there may be a need for blood transfusion.
hCG blood test
hCG blood test or pregnancy blood test measures the accurate amount of pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the bloodstream. Pregnancy hormone hCG is produced by the placenta. It can be assessed in the blood and urine of a woman within 10 days of fertilization. hCG can be measured by:
Quantitative pregnancy blood test: This test measures the accurate amount of hCG in the blood of a woman and plays a vital role in assessing the age of the fetus. This test also helps in checking if the pregnancy is developing normally.
Qualitative pregnancy blood test: This test can only tell if there is hCG present in the blood and can give no further information. This test result is like the home based pregnancy test kit just giving a 'yes' or 'no'.In men and non pregnant women, the typical levels of hCG is less than 5 international units per liter (IU/L). In pregnant women, it is about 5 - 100 during 24 to 28 days after last menstrual period (LMP). During 4 to 5 weeks after the LMP, the hCG is about 50-500 IU/L and peaks to about 12,000 - 270,000 IU/L during 14 - 16 weeks of pregnancy. High levels of hCG can signify multiple pregnancy or molar pregnancy or Down's syndrome. In non-pregnant women and in men, it can signify cancerous or non-cancerous tumor of the testicles or ovaries. Low values of hCG in pregnant women can signify ectopic pregnancy, death of baby or that the pregnancy is not proceeding the way it has to. It can also indicate a spontaneous miscarriage.
Metrorrhagia is dysfunctional uterine spotting or bleeding between menstrual cycles. This erratic bleeding can occur due to various reasons and can be inconvenient and worrying. Typical causes for Metrorrhagia include endometriosis, hormonal fluctuations, polyps, fibroids, cervical cancer and Adenomyosis. Often an ectopic pregnancy can lead to such irregular spotting. Women who are on the IUD might notice such irregular bleeding in case the contraceptive has shifted. Mid-cycle bleeding can occur sometimes during ovulation. Other causes include trauma and sexually transmitted diseases. Acute or excessive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking can shorten menstrual cycles. In many cases, no medications are necessary for Metrorrhagia. Oral contraceptive pills are often prescribed to treat irregular bleeding. They help in regulating the menstrual pattern. Lifestyle modification might help in some cases.
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Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 10, 2019