PCOS and Ectopic Pregnancy – All that you need to know
PCOS is associated with an increase in subfertility, ectopic pregnancy, and early pregnancy loss (EPL). There are a number of stages a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy, the most important one being the fertilization stage. In normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches itself into the uterus, but in an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg does not attach itself to the uterus, and might instead get latched with a fallopian tube, abdominal cavity or cervix. If ectopic pregnancies are left untreated, it can create serious complications and hence needs to be treated as a medical emergency.
What are the indications of an ectopic pregnancy?
The first indications of an ectopic pregnancy are pain or vaginal bleeding. There might be pain in the pelvis, abdomen, or even the shoulder or neck (if blood from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy builds up and irritates certain nerves). This pain can extend from mild and dull to severe and sharp.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome brings a huge amount of complications along with it especially on the conceiving front. These can also be life threatening in many cases for the mother as well as the baby.
The risk of ectopic pregnancy is higher in PCOS
Women who suffer from PCOS are at a higher risk of developing ectopic pregnancies. This may also occur after treatments such as In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Any pain in the abdomen and bleeding should be reported to your doctor immediately. Women with PCOS who are under treatment for various reasons such a conceiving, irregular periods, using oral contraceptives, bring up the level of the hormone, hence this high hormone level prevents the embryo from progressing and reaching the uterus. However, this does not mean that women with PCOS try to stop conceiving, they just need to be extra cautious and be aware of what is happening in their bodies. Being aware of the risk factors such as the embryo being formed at the fallopian tubes and areas outside the uterus is important for personal diagnosis purposes.
Are pregnancy symptoms different in ectopic pregnancies?
Your symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are very similar to that of a normal pregnancy, i.e., morning sickness, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, tenderness of breasts, pain in the lover side of your abdomen, etc. hence it is difficult to come to know if you have not conceived the normal way. Besides PCOS, ectopic pregnancies can also happen due to a past abortion, a STD, a genital tuberculosis or a genital tract procedure done. Since the fallopian tube has a very thin wall the pregnancy cannot really extend much beyond two months.
The only way to treat Ectopic pregnancy treatment is through medicine or surgery:
Your doctor may prescribe some medications that can help stop cells from growing in the fertilized egg, and your body absorbs any cells that have already developed. This will not in any way harm the Fallopian tubes.
The pregnancy is extracted using laparoscopy with surgical technique. Your doctor uses surgical instruments and a small camera to see inside your body to make a tiny cut above your belly button and remove the pregnancy. For ectopic pregnancy this is the most common treatment. This procedure sometimes causes scarring in your fallopian tube, or a piece of Fallopian tube needs to be removed.
It is important to note that miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies can trigger post-traumatic stress in many women. One can experience post-traumatic stress after a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Counselling sessions would be very effective to deal with this trauma and also help in planning the way forward for the next pregnancy.
After an ectopic pregnancy, the chance of it happening again is about 10 per cent. So, the explanation for your preceding ectopic pregnancy is one important thing to remember. In any potential pregnancies your medical background will play a big part. A history of infertility would have the greatest effect on your chances of becoming pregnant again — and it could, sadly, also raise the chances of another ectopic pregnancy. Lifestyle factors such as habits like drinking and smoking also determine the onset of ectopic pregnancy and the age factor counts as well. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent life-threatening bleeding and, if possible, so the tube can be saved, and it can continue to function.
When should I plan next pregnancy after an episode of ectopic pregnancy?
It is usually advised that you wait for at least 2 menstrual cycles until attempting another pregnancy, because this will give time for healing of your Fallopian tubes (if treated with methotrexate, you may have to wait at least three months). However, some women usually like to take their time and overcome this and then think about conceiving once again the right way, along with taking all the necessary precautions, and being under doctors’ consultation and observation, as this becomes more mandatory with a past failed ectopic pregnancy experience.