Ectopic Pregnancy Test

During most conceptions, the male’s sperm reaches the females egg which embeds within the uterine lining. In some instances (around 1 in 100 pregnancies), the egg implants outside of the uterus (often in one of the fallopian tubes), known as an ectopic pregnancy. In such an instance, the fertilized egg cannot survive and treatment is often needed to ensure a successful pregnancy. To know if such a case has occurred, one may require an ectopic pregnancy test.

When Is an Ectopic Pregnancy Test Needed?

The test needs to be performed if you show signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. They often vary on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, no symptoms are apparent and the ectopic pregnancy is only discovered via a scan. That being said, some common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain, most commonly only in one side of the abdomen, which can be mild or severe, appearing either suddenly or over the course of a few days.
  • Vaginal bleeding, which can be lighter or heavier than your normal menstrual flow, and it may be a different color.
  • If a rupture occurs within the fallopian tubes, internal bleeding can cause one to feel dizzy and possibly faint.
  • If bleeding occurs in the abdomen, the nerves within the abdomen may be affected, causing pain in the tip of one’s shoulder. This pain may exacerbate when lying down.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.

Will an Ectopic Pregnancy Show Positive in a Pregnancy Test?

Home pregnancy tests may be positive in an ectopic pregnancy, but this is not always the case. It could also show negativeor faint results.

Doctors often employ repeated sensitive blood pregnancy tests to determine how one’s pregnancy is going. During a normal pregnancy, beta hCG levels generally double, if such an instance does not occur, then it may be an indication of a problem.

One should also note that whilst many HPTs claim to be able to ascertain whether you are pregnant on the day of your expected/missed period, it is often better to wait a week after to attain the most accurate results.

Experience and Advice from One Mom

“I once had an ectopic pregnancy. The home pregnancy test I carried out was positive but only had a very faint line. After visiting my doctor and undergoing anectopic pregnancy test, my results were again negative. My doctor diagnosed an early miscarriage. After around two weeks, I had some slight spotting which I thought was my period, until I experienced an immense amount of pain, almost passing out. I called my doctor immediately, and an ectopic pregnancy was determined. I was given medication to terminate the pregnancy but it was ineffective. Within two days, my fallopian tube had ruptured and I needed emergency surgery.

I have read numerous sources which state thatin the case of an ectopic pregnancy, home tests can be both negative and positive, which is why I would advise everyone to follow up with their doctor, just to be safe.”

What Kinds of Ectopic Pregnancy Tests Are Available?

In many cases, diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy is difficult as the common symptoms pertaining to such an instance also pertain to more common conditionssuch as gastroenteritis.To diagnose an ectopic pregnancy, the most common tests include:

  • Urinary pregnancy test

This test is easy to undergo, but may show a false-negative result, as the presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone is low during an ectopic pregnancy.

  • Ultrasound scanning

Regardless of results from the first method of testing, if a women experiences symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, an ultrasound is often recommended. If, during the scan, there are no signs of pregnancy within the uterus, but a mass is present in one of the fallopian tubes, and/or the occurrence of free fluid within one’s abdomen, the doctor will likely to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy. Whilst this can be a useful ectopic pregnancy test, the initial scan only detects around 70% of ectopic pregnancies.

  • Beta hCG blood test

This test is generally only suggested if there is no sign of a developing embryo within the uterus after 6 weeks of pregnancy. Those deemed to be at high risk of ectopic pregnancy will often repeat the test within 48 hours, and undergo other methods of testing (such as a scan), before any conclusions are drawn by the doctor.

How to Deal With an Ectopic Pregnancy

Medication

Methotrexate is used to terminate an ectopic pregnancy but have some sideeffects, as well as require numerous blood tests to determine the effectiveness of the medication. This is generally offered when there is no heart activity within the embryo, and when levels of hCG are low.

Surgery

If your symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are severe, then surgery is often recommended. In some instances, laparoscopic surgery is performed, wherein a small incision is done by a surgeon. In instances where a rupture has occurred, emergency surgery is most commonly required.

Expectant Management

If an early ectopic pregnancy that seems to be miscarrying naturally, no action is required. Your doctor will often test levels of hCG to ensure that they are falling.

Coping With the Loss

While most women who experienced ectopic pregnancies choose to conceive again, losing a pregnancy is emotionally difficult nevertheless. You should rely on the support of your family and friends, as well as seek help from a support group or bereavement counselor.

 
 
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