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What is ectopic pregnancy?

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What is ectopic pregnancy? My sister has got the pregnancy terminated because of that?

Category: Sexologist

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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Monheit is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Monheit replied 4 Days.

Hello, Thanks for writing to us.

Before I start talking about the ectopic pregnancy I would like to tell the structures of the reproduction. Normally female reproductive system consists of the following structures from top to bottom

  • ovaries-which produce the ovum .
  • Two fallopian tubes one on each side of the uterus. Each tube is attached from inner side to the uterus and the other side opens close to the ovaries.
  • Single uterus- the two fallopian tubes open into the upper portion of the uterus. This is the site for the implantation of the fertilized ovum( ovum + sperm)
  • Cervix the junction between the uterus and the vagina
  • Last is the vagina which opens to the out side.

Normally the implantation of the product of fertilization, the future foetus, occurs in the upper portion of the uterus. Uterus is the organ which grows along with the foetus and keeps a check on the growing foetus intact and nourishes it.

In ectopic pregnancy, the fertilised ovum develops at a site outside the uterine cavity. 95% of ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube. It could be anywhere, not only in the tubes. The tissue other than uterus cannot with hold the growing embryo for long and cannot nourish it, eventually gives way and ruptures. This condition is called ruptured ectopic pregnancy. It is an emergency condition. Therefore, if the condition is diagnosed before it is advisable to terminate the pregnancy to avoid complications.

Other sites are ovaries, abdomen. Usually the patient has a history of Pelvic infection, usage of intra-uterine device, prior tubal surgery or there need not be any of the above conditions and it can be a chance event.I recommend you to take your sister to a gynaecologist for further evaluation.

Hope this is of some help.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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