Ectopic Pregnancy, Its Symptoms, Causes In Nigeria

Dr Olayinka Ogunbode, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, said that one out of every 10 pregnancies in Nigerian hospitals ended up as an Ectopic Pregnancy. Ogunbode made this disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.

Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself in a woman's fallopian tube, ovary, cervix, or abdomen  anywhere outside of the uterus. If left untreated, this condition can damage or rupture pelvic organs, which may threaten the life of the mother, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

As reported by the Sun, often there are no symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, and it is usually detected when a mother goes for a routine pregnancy scan.

If you do have symptoms, these can include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Brown watery discharge
  • Pain in your lower abdomen down one side
  • Missed period
  • Discomfort when going to the bathroom
  • Pain in the tip of your shoulder

Dr. Ogunbode said the exact cause of ectopic pregnancy is unknown, but fallopian tube damage is a common cause. He noted that a fertilised egg can become caught in the damaged area of a tube and begin to grow there.

“Common causes of fallopian tube damage that may lead to an ectopic pregnancy may be smoking by women. “Pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID), such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia infections are other major causes common in African women; PID can create scar tissue in the fallopian tubes,” he said.

Ogunbode added that surgery done to reverse a tubal ligation or to repair a scarred or blocked tube was another major cause of ectopic pregnancy. The gynaecologist said that a woman with an ectopic pregnancy experience common signs of early normal pregnancies like a missed period, tender breasts, nausea, fatigue, increased urination.

The consultant advised females of reproductive age to take precautionary measures by avoiding sexually transmitted diseases which may later damage their fallopian tubes. He said surgery was the only solution in the management of ectopic pregnancies, adding that early intervention approaches can always save the life of the patients.

 

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