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Mpitika explains ectopic pregnancy.

Dr Dick Mpitika says ectopic pregnancy is likely caused by factors such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), sexually-transmitted diseases, scarring from previous pelvic surgeries or history of ectopic pregnancy.

Other causes may be unsuccessful tubal ligation, pregnancy due to an intrauterine device (IUD) and infertility treatment.

In an interview, he said ectopic pregnancy occured when the embryo (fertilised egg) attached itself somewhere other than the uterus such as in one fallopian tube, abdominal cavity or cervix.

He said symptoms of ectopic pregnancy were light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain while others could include nausea and vomiting, dizziness or weakness and sharp abdominal cramps among others.

Moreover, he said not every woman was at risk of having ectopic pregnancy, and that risk factors included maternal age of 35-44, previous ectopic pregnancy, previous pelvic and abdominal surgery, PID, several induced abortions, conceiving after having a tubal ligation or while an intra-uterine device (IUD) was in place, smoking, endometriosis, undergoing fertility treatments or using fertility medications

Dr Mpitika further said the diagnosis could be confirmed after performing tests including a pregnancy test and a pelvic exam, adding that an ultrasound scan could also be conduced to view the uterus and fallopian tubes condition.

He said because the embryo could not survive outside the uterus, surgery and medication were used to treat ectopic pregnancy.

Dr Mpitika said if diagnosed early, a doctor could give a patient methotrexate to stop the cells from growing, and that the body would absorb them.

He said for surgery, laparoscopy was required under general anesthesia to visualise and remove the ectopic pregnancy as well as to repair or remove the affected fallopian tube.

He added that in case there was rupture, the fallopian tube was damaged.

Dr Mpitika said a doctor could perform another operation called laparotomy (larger incision in the abdomen to remove the ectopic pregnancy and stop the haemorrhage).

Dr Mpitika said after an ectopic pregnancy, although there was a chance for the patient to have a normal pregnancy again, it was difficult and that it was recommended to consult a gynaecologist or obstetrician for advice.

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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Date:Feb 27, 2019
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