Ectopic Pregnancy: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Ectopic pregnancy refers to the implantation of a fertilized egg at another location in the reproductive tract outside of the woman's uterus. The most common location for an ectopic pregnancy is the fallopian tubes.

An ectopic pregnancy may not initially cause any specific symptoms or signs. When symptoms and signs develop, the three characteristics symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are abdominal pain, absence of menstrual periods (known as amenorrhea), and vaginal bleeding. Only about half of women have all three of these symptoms. An ectopic pregnancy can be a life-threatening medical emergency if it ruptures and causes internal bleeding.

Cause of ectopic pregnancy

Doctors do not always understand the cause of an ectopic pregnancy, but damage or scarring to the fallopian tubes may play a role.

Other Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019
References
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.