Can Copper T cause ectopic pregnancy?

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Ectopic pregnancy could be fatal! Find out what causes this condition and how to treat it

In a normal pregnancy, the fertilised egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus and continues it’s growth for nine months. But in some cases, the egg after the process of fertilisation implants itself at sites other than the uterine body. Such pregnancies are known as ectopic pregnancies.

According to MedicineNet, 1 in 50 pregnancies end up being ectopic. Such pregnancies don’t usually survive and require emergency medical treatment as it endangers the life of the mother. “Once the egg is fertilised, the embryo has to reach the uterus in 4 days. If it doesn’t, the embryo will implant where ever it is,” informs Dr Vandana Gawdi, an experienced gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Navi Mumbai.

About 95% of ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube (tubal pregnancy). In some cases, they may occur in the ovary (in about 0.2% cases), abdomen (0.3%) or the cervix (0.1% cases). In extremely rare cases, ectopic pregnancies may occur in sites like the corneal end of the fallopian tube.

Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy

A pregnancy of this nature is usually diagnosed on suspicion at around the 8th week of pregnancy. Other symptoms of this condition include,

  • A missed period with a weak positive pregnancy test.
  • Severe abdominal pain and/or spotting.
  • Weakness and dizziness.
  • Sonogram showing no pregnancy sac in the uterus. This diagnosis is often missed as in very early pregnancy, the sac cannot be seen.
  • Expanded fallopian tube (due to tubal implantation) leading to rupture of the tube. The pain and bleeding in this case would be extremely severe. The person in this case may collapse due to the extreme abdominal pain and the loss of blood may lead to shock.

Continue reading to know if you are prone to having an ectopic pregnancy.

Certain conditions make a woman more prone to an ectopic pregnancy. These are:

  • A previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Previous caesarean delivery
  • An inserted Intra Uterine Device (IUD) such as Copper T
  • Previous abdominal surgery.
ectopic pregnancy

Most ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube

Basically, any condition that could have damaged the fallopian tube makes one more susceptible to this condition . “As the tube gets damaged, the microscopic hairs in them get clumped together. This slows the movement of the embryo in it and the implant occurs in the tube itself,” says Dr Gawdi.

If you suspect a pregnancy, it is imperative to get a sonogram done as soon as you miss your period to diagnose this condition before the tube ruptures.

Treating an ectopic pregnancy

If diagnosed before the rupture of the tube, an ectopic pregnancy can be medically managed by injecting the woman with an anti-cancer drug called Methotrexate. This drug causes severe dip in a woman’s folic acid levels. In such a case, a woman is advised to avoid a pregnancy for six months.

Folic acid supplements are also to be diligently consumed to maintain normal vitamin levels. “However, the Methotrexate treatment does not work for all cases, and the woman needs to be hospitalised all the same for close monitoring,” adds Dr Gawdi. Laproscopic or open surgery may be suggested if the above treatment fails.

If the tube has already burst, then immediate surgery and removal of the fallopian tube is the only option. Rupture of the tube causes massive blood loss in the abdominal cavity leading to shock and drop in blood pressure. A blood transfusion will also be required in this case.

Getting pregnant after an ectopic pregnancy

If the type of pregnancy was an unruptured ectopic pregnancy and the tube was saved, there is a good chance that a woman’s fertility is not affected. Such women can enjoy normal pregnancies and births in the future. But if one tube is removed, then a woman’s fertility is reduced by 50 percent. However, even with both tubes removed (in case of two consecutive ruptured tubal pregnancies) a woman can opt for an IVF procedure and still conceive.

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Written by

Preeti Athri

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