When you're trying to conceive, every day brings new possibilities and fears. If you've struggled with fertility issues at any point, you know the desire to get that positive response on the pregnancy test can become overwhelming. Unfortunately, though, not all pregnancies are viable. For example, the causes of ectopic pregnancy are numerous, but understanding them may be a crucial part of your journey to conception.
Before going into the causes, it's important to understand the condition itself. According to the American Pregnancy Association, an ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg begins growing somewhere other than the uterus, most often in the fallopian tubes. This is troublesome for everyone involved. Very Well noted that ectopic pregnancies pose a serious health risk to the mother, as the growth can cause the fallopian tubes to burst open and cause potentially lethal bleeding. Basically, enduring an ectopic pregnancy can be a trying experience for any person.
In many cases, the cause of an ectopic pregnancy remains unknown. It's just one of those uncomfortable facts of nature. There are, however, some common causes and conditions that make the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy more likely. Read on to learn if these scenarios apply to your situation. Hopefully, though, you will not have to face the heartbreaking experience of an ectopic pregnancy at any point.
The health risks of smoking have been outlined about a million times over. Its effects on pregnancy cannot be overstated, though. According to WebMD, smoking has been linked to a higher rate of ectopic pregnancy, potentially due to fallopian tube damage. That said, cigarettes are notoriously addictive and hard to give up. Quitting smoking to start a family is a difficult — but by no means impossible — task.
2. Scar Tissue
This cause is particularly troubling. But as noted by the American Pregnancy Association, scar tissue in your fallopian tubes may make it difficult for an egg to move. An ectopic pregnancy can then result.
3. Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually transmitted infections may affect your reproductive health. According to The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, an STI may cause damage to the fallopian tubes, thereby increasing the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. With this in mind, it's a good idea to get a preconception checkup if you're planning to have a baby.
People who suffer from endometriosis already have enough to deal with, so this added risk factor feels unfair. But unfortunately, the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy is higher for persons with endometriosis, according to Endometriosis.org. The pelvic inflammation that makes endo so terrible may also contribute to the increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy, as further explained by the website.
5. Fallopian Tube Inflammation
Basically, making sure your fallopian tubes are in good working order is crucial. Any potential inflammation in your fallopian tubes may make an ectopic pregnancy more likely, as noted in Healthline. The fertilized egg needs a clear path to travel.
6. Prior Surgery
What previous surgeries have you gone through? According to the American Pregnancy Association, prior surgery to your pelvic area or fallopian tubes may also increase the risk for adhesions. This, in turn, makes an ectopic pregnancy more likely.
7. Exposure To DES
This may be a surprising cause. Between 1938 and 1971, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the synthetic estrogen DES was prescribed to women as a means of preventing miscarriage or premature delivery. Unfortunately, according to the American Cancer Society, exposure to DES has been linked to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Basically, if your mom was given this drug when she was pregnant with you, its effects may affect your present-day fertility. It may be time to call your mom for a discussion of medical records.
8. Fertility Treatments
This is another potential cause that seems exceptionally unfair. But as noted in a 2012 edition of the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences, complications such as ectopic pregnancy are more common in women who have undergone infertility treatments. You may want to discuss the possibility with your doctor if this is especially concerning to you.
9. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Again, some of these causes just feel like adding insult to injury. But according to the Mayo Clinic, persons who suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease have an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. The scarring or abscesses related to PIV may present these pregnancy complications.