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Ectopic Pregnancy or Tubal Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy or Tubal Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy or Tubal Pregnancy

Ectopic Pregnancy or Tubal Pregnancy

An “ectopic pregnancy” occurs when the fertilized embryo implants outside of the uterus; most commonly in fallopian tube. When attached to the fallopian tube, this is referred to as a “tubal pregnancy.” Approximately 16%1 of women seeking emergency medical attention due to cramping and/or vaginal bleeding in the first trimester are diagnosed as having an ectopic pregnancy. Overall, ectopic pregnancies are rare, occurring in 1%-2%2 of all pregnancies. As the embryo grows, it can cause the tube to rupture (burst), which can cause major internal bleeding. This can be life threatening3 and/or cause future fertility issues if not discovered early.

Bleeding and cramping are the most common symptoms of an ectopic or tubal pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant should seek immediate medical attention for a possible ectopic pregnancy if they experience any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Cramping pain in the lower abdomen that may worsen with coughing, moving, or bowel strain
  • Sharp, steady pelvic pain
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Feeling of pressure in the rectum

Risk factors leading to a greater risk for an ectopic pregnancy include: previous tubal surgery, sterilization, previous ectopic pregnancy, current use of an intrauterine device (IUD), history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility for two years or longer, women over the age of 35 years, and smoking.

When a pregnant patient presents with first-trimester bleeding or abdominal pain, physicians should consider ectopic pregnancy as a possible cause. The patient history, physical examination and imaging with transvaginal ultrasound can usually confirm the diagnosis. In some cases, a blood test may also be used to determine diagnosis.2 The ultrasound is performed to check where the embryo implanted, if not found in the uterus. An ultrasound is one of the best methods to determine where the embryo may have implanted and alert if there are other health concerns to be aware of.

Since ectopic pregnancies may be life threatening, they must be treated as an emergency situation and the doctor will determine how best to end the pregnancy, as the embryo cannot be transplanted into the uterus. Many cases of ectopic pregnancy, if caught early enough, can be treated with medicine and not surgery. Early detection may help preserve the fallopian tube for future pregnancy attempts.

In all cases of suspected tubal pregnancies, the Support Circle technician or nurse will immediately refer the woman to the emergency room. If you have questions, Support Circle staff at our three Bay Area clinics are available.

 

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Reference:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071024/
  2. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0701/p34.html
  3. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Ectopic-Pregnancy

 

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Why is my period late?

Why is my period late?

Women who are in their childbearing years sometimes miss a period. While a missed menstrual period is the hallmark of early pregnancy, missing a period can be due to a number of factors and conditions. If you’ve missed a period, try not to stress out. However, you’ll want to rule out pregnancy. You do not have to wait until you miss a period if you suspect you are pregnant. The trained staff at Support Circle can help by administering a free pregnancy test prior to expecting your period. This test is more than 99% accurate and performed by a nurse.

Once you have a negative pregnancy test, you may wish to repeat the test in a few days or your missed period may be due to the following:

  • Stress and anxiety– Stress isn’t good for your body, and it can cause you to have delayed ovulation.
  • Excessive weight loss, or weight gain– Losing a substantial amount of weight, or gaining too much weight too quickly can cause you to experience menstrual problems, like a missed period or a delayed period.
  • Contraceptives– Some women who take certain birth control don’t have regular periods.
  • Breastfeeding– When you breastfeed exclusively, the hormones that are allowing lactation to occur can block ovulation and your regular menstrual cycle.
  • Eating disorders– When you have excessively low body weight this can interfere with hormonal functions, which might stop ovulation.
  • Rigorous Exercise– Women who participate in activities and sports that require them to undergo rigorous training often experience skipped periods or no periods at all.
  • Medication– There are some medications that can disrupt menstrual cycles.
  • Hormonal imbalance– When you have hormonal problems, it can change the levels of hormones that your body requires to support ovulation and the menstruation process.
  • Problems with your thyroid
  • Uterine scarring– If your uterus is scarred from disease or medical procedures, this can prevent the normal buildup and shedding of the uterine lining common to a regular menstrual cycle.
  • Perimenopause – This is the time period before the complete cessation of menstrual periods and, in some women, may begin as early as their mid-thirties.

If you have a late or missed period, we encourage you to visit one of our three Bay Area clinics to have a pregnancy test or to talk to a nurse.

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Pregnancy Symptoms

Pregnancy Symptoms

Woman with her monthly menstrual pains clutching her stomach with her hands as she becomes stressed by the ongoing cramps, torso view of her hands and tummy isolated on white

Period late? Think you may be pregnant?

Is your period late? Do you think you may be pregnant? Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. Understanding the signs and symptoms of pregnancy is important because each symptom may be related to something other than pregnancy. If you think you may be pregnant, treat yourself as if you are until you know otherwise.

Some women experience pregnancy signs or symptoms of pregnancy within a week of conception. For other women, pregnancy symptoms may develop over a few weeks or may not be present at all. Below is a listing of some of the most common pregnancy signs symptoms. If you have been sexually active and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is recommended to take a pregnancy test.

Early Symptoms of Pregnancy:

  • Spotting and Cramping – A few days after conception, the fertilized egg travels and attaches itself to the wall of your uterus, causing implantation bleeding, one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. This may occur around six to 12 days after fertilization.
  • Swollen/Tender Breasts – Women’s hormone levels change rapidly after conception, triggering tender, sore, or swollen breasts.
  • Nausea or Morning Sickness – Is one of the most common and popular pregnancy symptoms, but not all women experience it.  Nausea can occur at any time of day and not just in the morning.  The cause of morning sickness or nausea is likely to be hormonal changes.
  • Missed/Delayed Period – Is the most obvious symptom of pregnancy, and the one that prompts most women to visit our free clinic for a pregnancy test. However, a missed period could be caused by other things besides pregnancy.  It may be a symptom of hormonal problems caused by fatigue or stress.  It may also be a side effect of taking oral contraceptives.

Hormonal changes are likely to be the cause of other early pregnancy symptoms including:

  • Difference in menstruation
  • Fatigue/Tiredness
  • Frequent urination
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Food cravings and aversions
  • Back pain
  • Mood swings

However, these signs and symptoms are not exclusive to pregnancy.  These signs and symptoms could indicate that you are about to get sick.  They could also indicate that your period is coming soon.  In some women, pregnancy can occur without any of the later signs and symptoms of pregnancy.  In addition, there might be other pregnancy symptoms that could happen to you that are not commonly experienced.

If you have missed a period or suspect that you may be pregnant, you might want to get a pregnancy test.  The licensed health professionals at each of our three Bay Area Support Circle Clinics can administer a pregnancy test for you.  Whether your test comes back negative or positive for pregnancy, our health professionals can discuss possible reasons for your symptoms, or pregnancy options, and guide you through next steps.  Support Circle’s confidential services are offered free of charge.

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