Welcome to Laurie’s Big Blog – November 2021

Every month we will identify the 6 most commonly asked questions about ectopic pregnancy and answer them. If you have any further questions which you cannot find answers to on the website, please can you contact us. 

Is rectal pain a symptom of ectopic pregnancy?

Rectal pain and pain on defecation have been reported in women with an ectopic pregnancy but these symptoms are rare and the whole clinical picture should be taken into consideration.

What does an ectopic pregnancy feel like?

There maybe very few, if any, symptoms with an early ectopic pregnancy. It would not be possible for a pregnant woman to be sure that’s she has an ectopic pregnancy. The classic symptoms are well described being a missed or delayed period, vaginal discharge (described as ‘prune juice’), vaginal bleeding and unilateral lower abdominal or pelvic discomfort or pain. Later symptoms include a rapid heart rate,  shoulder-tip pain on lying flat, and feeling light headed or feeling faint or actually fainting. See the website on symptoms of ectopic pregnancy and, on the Home page, the tab “Have You An Ectopic Pregnancy.”

Does chlamydia cause ectopic pregnancy?

There are many factors associated with ectopic pregnancy and one of the most common is tubal damage most commonly due to pelvic infections. A major cause of infection is with chlamydia. This is a common condition and may have few, if any, symptoms. The damage caused is by scaring and damaged to the ‘cilia’, which are fine hair-like structure that are important in tubal motility as the  embryo passes down the Fallopian tube (Please see the chlamydia section on our website).

I have PCOS, does this increase my risk of ectopic pregnancy?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common gynaecological condition affecting between 5 to 20% of women. The diagnosis is made by the appearance of the ovaries at trans-vaginal scan and also by blood tests. PCOS is associated with infertility problems, and early pregnancy issues including early pregnancy loss and ectopic pregnancy. In a study of woman with the diagnosis of PCOS who were undergoing assisted fertility treatment (which in itself is a risk factor for an ectopic pregnancy) it was found that these women had a three fold increase in ectopic pregnancy.

How can I find my nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E) department or Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU)?

If you suspect that you may have an ectopic pregnancy you should seek medical attention without delay. If a face-to-face consultation is not available, my advice would be to attend an early pregnancy assessment unit (EPAU) or the Accident & Emergency department. On the ectopic pregnancy foundation website home page there is a tab and when clicked will take you to information about your nearest EPAU or A&E department.