Though pregnancy is good news, it is also associated with several kinds of risks and complications. One such complication is an ectopic pregnancy, which is expected to occur in every two out of hundred women.
An ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which, the fertilized egg gets implanted outside the uterus and usually in the walls of the fallopian tube. This is also called as a tubal pregnancy. This kind of pregnancy generally does not survive, as the implantation occurs at a wrong place and once this condition is diagnosed the pregnancy has to be terminated immediately. An ectopic pregnancy, if left unattended, can prove to be fatal.
Though ectopic pregnancy can occur to anyone, the following are some of the causes that can trigger the risk of ectopic pregnancy in certain women.
Causes Of Ectopic Pregnancy
Abnormal Fallopian Tube
The fallopian tube is the medium through which a fertilized egg is transported from the ovary to the uterus. Hence, any damage or abnormality of the tube may interrupt the embryo from reaching the uterus.
Women having certain abnormalities in their fallopian tube since birth, face a high risk of ectopic pregnancy.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the two sexually transmitted diseases, which are liable to cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women. These diseases directly affect the reproductive organs and they are one of the causes of ectopic pregnancy.
Women who are suffering or those who had earlier suffered from Chlamydia are much exposed to ectopic pregnancy, as this disease causes scars and damage to the fallopian tube and thereby restricts the mobility of the embryo from the fallopian tube to the uterus.
Endometriosis is a kind of disorder, in which the uterine tissues grow outside the uterus in places such as ovaries, bladder, fallopian tube and the rectum.
Due to the misplacement of the endometrial tissues, the fallopian tubes get scarred and damaged and this increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy in women suffering from endometriosis.
Intra Uterine Devices For Contraception
The contraceptive intra uterine devices can also be one of the causes of ectopic pregnancy. These devices cause ectopic pregnancy in either of the two ways. The use of these devices may either cause pelvic infections in women, leading to the damage of the fallopian tube and paving way for an ectopic pregnancy, or these devices by preventing the conception in the womb, may prompt a conception to take place in the fallopian tube which again means an ectopic pregnancy.
Cigarette smokers are at high risk for an ectopic pregnancy. This is because the nicotine in the cigarette causes spasms in the fallopian tube and this impedes the mobility of the embryo, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy.
Tubal Ligation / Surgery
Women resort to tubal ligation as a measure of contraception. It is a process in which the fallopian tube is severed temporarily, with the help of a surgery. This process is reversed if a woman wishes to conceive. During the reversal, in case the tubal ligation turns out to be unsuccessful, the chances are high for an ectopic pregnancy. Therefore, women who wish to conceive after a tubal ligation should follow the advice of a medical practitioner.
All the hormonal medications, those which are used either for infertility or for contraception, cause ectopic pregnancy.
All these medications affect the fallopian tube and hence, those who are under any of these medications, should get an advice of the doctor before conception.
History Of Previous Ectopic Pregnancy
Women, who have a history of previous ectopic pregnancy, are termed as high risk category as they have a greater chance of another ectopic pregnancy.
The age factor of course is also one of the causes of ectopic pregnancy. Women conceiving after the age of 35 or 40 may develop the complication of an ectopic pregnancy.
In certain cases, abdominal surgeries such as appendectomy or a c-section delivery are also considered as risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy.
Use Of Diethylstilbestrol / DES
Women, who were pregnant before the early 1970s, were prescribed a drug called DES. Subsequently, girls born to the mothers who had used this drug were found to be suffering from birth defects like abnormalities of the fallopian tube. Though the usage of this drug is stopped now, women born to mothers who used this drug are at high risk to develop an ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy is an abnormal condition and there is no means to predict or prevent its occurrence. It can occur in anyone, irrespective of any of the causes stated above. However, as a preventive measure, by using condoms during intercourse, one can perhaps avoid the STDs which are considered as the prominent cause of ectopic pregnancy.
Apart from this, this condition can also be avoided to a certain extent through an early diagnosis. A diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy in the early stages enables us to evade all the serious complications related to it, and minimize the occurrence of such risks in future.
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