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Ectopic Pregnancy (Tubal Pregnancy)

A condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Symptoms include sharp pain on one side of the abdomen and bleeding.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Ectopic Pregnancy

Approximately 1% of fertilized eggs implant outside the uterine cavity and develop into extra uterine pregnancies known as ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies can occur anywhere along the reproductive tract with the most common site being the fallopian tube.

An ectopic pregnancy in the fallopian tube, if not treated, can cause tubal rupture and/or intra abdominal bleeding. Treatment options for tubal ectopic pregnancy are surgery, medical treatment, and expectant management... Read more about Ectopic Pregnancy

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in the treatment of ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy is the leading cause of pregnancy‐related deaths in the first trimester of pregnancy. Its incidence has increased to between one and two percent of pregnancies. Chinese herbal medicines have been used to treat this condition in China and other countries. The review authors investigated 281 studies that claimed to be randomised controlled trials and that used Chinese herbal medicines in the treatment of ectopic pregnancy.Only two of these studies were confirmed to be randomised controlled trials. Both trials were of poor quality in terms of design and how they were conducted.These studies did not provide clear evidence that CHM is beneficial in the treatment of ectopic pregnancy.

Interventions for tubal ectopic pregnancy

Approximately 1% of fertilized eggs implant outside the uterine cavity and develop into extra uterine pregnancies known as ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies can occur anywhere along the reproductive tract with the most common site being the fallopian tube.

Laparoscopy versus laparotomy for ectopic pregnancy: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Gao MX, Gao Q, Jia J, Bao LJ, Zhang PZ, Tian JH, Yang KH.  Laparoscopy versus laparotomy for ectopic pregnancy: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2009; 9(9): 994-1000

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Summaries for consumers

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in the treatment of ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy is the leading cause of pregnancy‐related deaths in the first trimester of pregnancy. Its incidence has increased to between one and two percent of pregnancies. Chinese herbal medicines have been used to treat this condition in China and other countries. The review authors investigated 281 studies that claimed to be randomised controlled trials and that used Chinese herbal medicines in the treatment of ectopic pregnancy.Only two of these studies were confirmed to be randomised controlled trials. Both trials were of poor quality in terms of design and how they were conducted.These studies did not provide clear evidence that CHM is beneficial in the treatment of ectopic pregnancy.

Interventions for tubal ectopic pregnancy

Approximately 1% of fertilized eggs implant outside the uterine cavity and develop into extra uterine pregnancies known as ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies can occur anywhere along the reproductive tract with the most common site being the fallopian tube.

Injury to the lining of the womb to improve pregnancy rates in couples having sexual intercourse or placement of sperm into the womb

To assess the effect of performing an intentional injury to the lining of the womb (such as taking a biopsy or sample) on the chance of achieving a pregnancy and having a baby in women who are trying to conceive via sexual intercourse or with placement of sperm into the womb (intrauterine insemination: IUI).

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Terms to know

Fallopian Tubes
A slender tube through which eggs pass from an ovary to the uterus. In the female reproductive tract, there is one ovary and one fallopian tube on each side of the uterus.
Fertilization (Conception)
The joining of the male gamete (sperm) and the female gamete (egg).
Miscarriage (Pregnancy Loss)
Miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion and pregnancy loss, is the natural death of an embryo or fetus before it is able to survive independently.
Pregnancy (Gestation)
The condition between conception (fertilization of an egg by a sperm) and birth, during which the fertilized egg develops in the uterus. In humans, pregnancy lasts about 288 days.
Uterus (Womb)
The small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. This is the organ in which a fetus develops. Also called womb.

More about Ectopic Pregnancy

Photo of a pregnant woman

Also called: Extrauterine pregnancy, Tubal ectopic pregnancy

Other terms to know: See all 5
Fallopian Tubes, Fertilization (Conception), Miscarriage (Pregnancy Loss)

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