Treating an ectopic pregnancy
If you have been diagnosed with ectopic pregnancy, and you are in stable condition with blood pressure and pulse within normal limits, and you have no severe pain or heavy bleeding, and if you don’t have any signs of fainting or dizziness, your doctor will discuss with you one of the many treatment for ectopic pregnancy options that are available.
Unfortunately, most women don’t have early symptoms for ectopic pregnancy which means that when they finally visit a doctor for assessment, there aren’t many options left for treatment. If you have signs of fainting or dizziness, you are in severe pain or you bleed heavily, the doctor might suggest just an exploratory surgical operation referred to as laparoscopy. This is done through a keyhole surgery and it allows the doctor to check inside your abdomen to try and see what could be happening.
What are the Treatment Options?
Prompt treatment for ectopic pregnancy is required so as to protect the pregnant woman’s health. In most cases, an ectopic pregnancy is simply not viable. This means that it cannot lead to a healthy baby being born.
Additionally, most ectopic pregnancies pose a real danger to the health of the pregnant woman. In case a woman’s body is unable to reabsorb or expel the embryo by itself, surgical or medical intervention is almost inevitable to terminate the pregnancy. Here are some of the treatment options available today.
If your doctor believes that you are bleeding heavily internally or that you have high chances to bleed internally, your doctor will recommend surgery for the treatment of your ectopic pregnancy. The decision that the doctor shall take is based upon your symptoms, the findings of an examination and the test results.
You could have pain or internal bleeding but this is not a sure sign that you are suffering from ectopic pregnancy. It is possible that the pain and bleeding could be due to something totally different, for instance appendicitis or ovarian cyst. In either case, surgery could still be necessary.
The operation is normally done using laparoscopy. This surgery is done under general anesthesia. It entails making a small cut into your abdomen after which a tiny telescope gets inserted into your abdomen. The aim is to view the internal organs of your body. In case an ectopic pregnancy is identified, it will be got rid of. To control bleeding, it is often necessary to remove the whole or part of the fallopian tube.
Occasionally, your surgeon will want to perform open surgery since they need to a lot of what’s happening inside your body. In case the doctor chooses to go this way, be prepared to have a much bigger scar. Also, it may take a little longer to completely recover.
Methotrexate (Trexall) is another possible option for treatment for ectopic pregnancy especially if the problem is diagnosed early. The drug is also often used to treat certain forms of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and severe cases of psoriasis.In the case of treating ectopic pregnancy, Methotrexate may be administered as multiple or single injection. The drug works by interrupting cell division, something that prevents the embryo developing further.
But if you are breastfeeding and want to continue breastfeeding, the use of methotrexate isn’t a safe option for you.
Within 2-3 days of receiving a methotrexate injection, a woman should expect experiencing increased abdominal pain which lasts for 24-48 hours, as well as spotting or vaginal bleeding.
Heavy vaginal bleeding and severe abdominal pain are signs of ruptured fallopian tube. If you notice any of this, make sure you report it immediately to your doctor.
Methotrexate side effects include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, inflammation in the lips and mouth, dizziness and stomach upset.
After an injection with methotrexate, a pregnant woman will have to return to her doctor severally during which her blood will be tested to measure her HCG level. If the pregnancy is ending, this will be marked by falling HCG levels.On the other hand, if the levels of HCG in the blood are stable or rising, it means that the patient requires further treatment. This could either be performed with surgery, or with another methotrexate injection.
Where the doctors are of the opinion that the there is very low risk of internal bleeding, they could recommend that you use medication to try and stop your ectopic pregnancy from growing. Typically, injections don’t work easily and their success rates are also comparatively low. Some women will require repeated treatments or even surgery for them to be able to completely stop an ectopic pregnancy.
Treating an ectopic pregnancy by using medication should only be resorted to where the pregnancy is still very small and there is absolutely no sign of internal bleeding.
• it’s not advisable to use medication if you are breastfeeding• before starting any treatment, a doctor will carry out blood tests to check your kidney and liver function• it’s important that you don’t conceive again within 3-4 months after using medication• use of medication for treating ectopic pregnancy is not recommended for people with medical conditions
Wait and see approach
If there are chances that your pregnancy may be miscarrying, your doctor may recommend that you adopt the approach of wait and see. If a miscarriage is about to happen, you will typically experience very little pain. Also, the ultrasound will not show any definite ectopic pregnancy and your HCG hormone levels will also be falling rapidly.
The doctor will arrange follow-up blood tests until your pregnancy ends completely. These tests enable the doctor to be sure that there is no risk of remaining pregnancy tissue that could cause internal bleeding.If you experience any of the following symptoms while waiting for treatment, you should attend an emergency service:
• Shoulder tip pain• Dizziness or fainting spells• Much heavier bleeding• severe abdominal pain
Being diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy can take emotional toll on any woman. Therefore, a woman and her spouse will require sufficient time to enable them grieve over the lost baby.
Also, in the case of a woman who has experienced trauma of surgery, it is important that she is given ample time to recover physically.
It is still possible to have a normal pregnancy after having an ectopic pregnancy.However, people who have suffered from instances of ectopic pregnancy have a higher risk of getting another one. For this reason, it is important that they talk to the doctor regarding when it is safe to conceive again