Signs of Ectopic Pregnancy
If you think you may be suffering from an ectopic pregnancy you should visit your doctor as soon as possible, requesting an emergency appointment if you are unable to get a quick appointment. If you are not at home, phone the nearest hospital and tell them to expect you in their Accident and Emergency department. There are several signs of ectopic pregnancy you can look out for.
• Abdominal Pain - if you have recently been sexually active and have pain in your side, which can be severe, and that won't go away, then you may be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.
• Shoulder Tip Pain - this is a very common symptom of ectopic pregnancy and is caused by internal bleeding which irritates your diaphragm as you inhale and exhale. The pain is very distinctive and unlike normal shoulder or back pain.
• Bowel or Bladder Problems - if you experience pain on urinating or when opening your bowels and think you may be pregnant, you should inform your GP as this is a common sign of ectopic pregnancy.
• Collapse - If you feel light-headed, faint or collapse, you may be having an ectopic pregnancy. You may also be very pale, feel sick or vomit, have diarrhoea, an increased pulse rate and falling blood pressure.
• Positive or Negative Pregnancy Test - You may have a positive pregnancy test, although this is not always the case. You may need to have a special blood test which checks for hCG levels.
• Abnormal or Irregular Bleeding - If you have any unusual vaginal bleeding, it may be due to an ectopic pregnancy, particularly if you have use a coil (IUCD) as contraception. If the bleeding is heavier or lighter than what you would normally experience during your period and prolonged, or if the bleeding is an unusual colour, possibly dark and watery, then see your doctor as soon as possible.
If you miss one or more periods, the normal explanation is pregnancy. You may even experience normal pregnancy symptoms. However, if you also experience one or more of the symptoms and pains outlined above then you should inform your GP as soon as possible in order to rule out ectopic pregnancy. It can be hard for your GP or hospital doctor to diagnose ectopic pregnancy because the symptoms may occur anytime from very early pregnancy up to 12 weeks and beyond. There are also lots of other reasons for lower abdominal pain.
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