What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
When a fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus, it results in ectopic pregnancy or tubal pregnancy. The egg develops to a point where it starts to cause severe physical pain. The problem with an ectopic pregnancy is that it never becomes viable instead it only causes complications and intense pain for the mother. In other cases, it can even turn out to be very fatal. Regrettably, there is nothing that can be done to remove the already fertilized egg if it is implanted out of the uterus.
How to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy
Diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy can be a big challenge because it has symptoms that are similar to conditions like miscarriage, gastroenteritis, and appendicitis. Medical professionals use Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, commonly known as HCG to test ectopic pregnancy.
Use of HCG level in determining ectopic pregnancy
HCG hormones are produced by trophoblastic cells during pregnancy. The cells only come after an egg is fertilized is implanted. Although progesterone levels can increase, their role is to prepare the endometrium. The function of hucog HCG is to sustain a pregnancy. During the examination, a normal blood test is carried out about 11 days after pregnancy. For a normal pregnancy, HCG levels will double after every 2-3 days. The levels reach the peak point as from 8-11 weeks. This is when a woman begins to experience morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms.
Low-levels of HCG
In case the levels of HCG rise slowly (below 66% after every 48 hours), then it can signal an ectopic pregnancy. However, HCG levels alone don’t suffice a reliable ectopic pregnancy test. This is because the levels vary from one woman to the other. A doctor can perform an ultrasound or sonogram test for confirmation purposes. If it is found out that gestational sac is missing in the uterus, then there are high chances that it is an ectopic pregnancy. The doctor will have to terminate the pregnancy by injecting a drug or carrying out a least-invasive surgery.
A decline in HCG levels
A decline in the levels of HCG can indicate that pregnancy has come to an end. It means miscarriage will happen soon. Additionally, declining HCG can also imply a self-resolving ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy can be a headache particularly to women who’re trying to conceive. Its symptoms are similar to that of a miscarriage or appendicitis or gastroenteritis. Although HCG levels can help determine an ectopic pregnancy, it should be used along with other tests like a sonogram for confirmation purposes.