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Describes the signs and symptoms of ectopic pregnancy.

What are the signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?

Tubal pregnancy.

The presentation of ectopic pregnancy varies from that of an acute abdominal pain and shock to that of normal symptoms of pregnancy. Most patients present between the sixth and tenth weeks of pregnancy with lower abdominal pain, usually starting on one side. The pain then becomes severe and diffuses throughout the abdomen. Almost 10% of women diagnosed with ectopioc pregnancy do not report abdominal pain. There may or may not be vaginal bleeding or spotting or brownish vaginal discharge. Between 10-20% of women diagnosed with ectopic pregnancies report no vaginal bleeding. Shoulder tip pain may be felt with some ectopics due to the internal bleeding causing irritation of the diaphragm muscle. Patients with ruptured ectopic pregnancies and severe abdominal haemorrhage may present with nausea, vomiting,and diarrhoea which may lead to misdiagnosis as gastroenteritis (CEMATCH,2011). Other symptoms include dizziness, fainting, rectal pressure or pain on defecation.

Many cases of ectopic pregnancy are diagnosed in the emergency room, when the woman may be admitted with severe one-sided pelvic pain and possibly dizziness and faintness due to rupture of the tube and internal bleeding.

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