Ectopic Pregnancy (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
In most cases, an ectopic pregnancy is treated right away to avoid rupture and severe blood loss. The decision about which treatment to use depends on how early the pregnancy is detected and your overall condition. For an early ectopic pregnancy that is not causing bleeding, you may have a choice between using medicine or surgery to end the pregnancy.
Medicine. Using methotrexate to end an ectopic pregnancy spares you from an incision and general anesthesia. But it does cause side effects and can take several weeks of hormone blood-level testing to make sure that treatment has worked. Methotrexate is most likely to work:
Surgery. If you have an ectopic pregnancy that is causing severe symptoms, bleeding, or high hCG levels, surgery is usually needed. This is because medicine is not likely to work and a rupture becomes more likely as time passes. When possible, laparoscopic surgery that uses a small incision is done. For a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, emergency surgery is needed.
Expectant management. For an early ectopic pregnancy that appears to be naturally miscarrying (aborting) on its own, you may not need treatment. Your doctor will regularly test your blood to make sure that your pregnancy hormone (hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin) levels are dropping. This is called expectant management.
Ectopic pregnancies can be resistant to treatment.
What to think about
Surgery versus medicine
Surgery may be your only treatment option if you have internal bleeding.
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