7 Causes of Ectopic Pregnancies
I have listed seven major factors that I see in women's cases that contribute to the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. Some of these you may have heard about, but I'm 100% sure a couple will be a surprise.
Besides the physical and emotional trauma that comes from losing a baby, often losing a fallopian tube and having a D&C, the single biggest thing I often see with women that had an ectopic pregnancy is this huge question of why? Why did I have an ectopic pregnancy?
So today we'll be focusing on seven major factors that contribute to the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. Because, let's face it, losing a baby is awful no matter how far you were in your pregnancy, or even after your pregnancy.
But if on top of that, your body experiences so much physical trauma because of the D&C or because you may have lost a fallopian tube, that really leaves you wondering as well, what does my future look like? Will I be able to conceive again? Will I be able to have a baby at all?
What is an ectopic pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancies mean that an embryo is developing outside the safety of the uterus, which can in theory and in practice as well also happen in the cervix, in the ovaries or even outside of the uterus in the abdominal cavity.
But the majority of ectopic pregnancies actually happen in the fallopian tubes and that is what we will be focused on.
Cause #1: Diethylstilbestrol
So the first factor, and this is not so common one and that is daughters and even granddaughters of women that have used DES in the past.
So DES was prescribed from the 50s and into the 70s to women that had a history of miscarriages or were at risk of having a miscarriage.
Unfortunately as a result, a lot of the baby girls that were born, were born with issues with their reproductive systems. As a result they are more at risk of having an ectopic pregnancy.
The girls, the daughters of these women that were born are now in their 40s to 70s. So this definitely doesn't apply to all of you because not all of you are 40 and above. But some of you are, so definitely keep this in mind if you've struggled with an ectopic pregnancy and see if you can find out if your mom or even your grandmother had this medication in the past.
Now, I don't think that the ladies between their 20s and 40s are completely off the hook, because some of you will be granddaughters of women that have used DES in the past. Often the daughters of these DES women could have scans, it will be very obvious in the reproductive system.
But I do wonder what the effect is of the granddaughters that have been born. So definitely keep that in mind to know if there's any malformation to your fallopian tube, you can have an HSG done and then they can check what your fallopian tubes look like.
Cause #2: Mucus build up
The second reason for ectopic pregnancies is buildup of mucus in fallopian tubes. This is something that you may have come across online already.
Now you may be wondering what causes mucus buildup and these could be several factors. It could be that you have currently an STD or you had one in the past that wasn't treated or wasn't treated well.
That causes an inflammatory state in your reproductive system. That can cause mucus build up also in your fallopian tubes. Also just generally, pelvic inflammatory disease that could be due to an untreated STD, but it can also have developed you to other reasons that will cause mucus buildup as well.
And then last but not least candida. Candida doesn't necessarily always cause mucus build up, it is usually in the more severe cases. But if you struggle with thrush a lot, that can definitely cause mucus build up in your fallopian tube. Not only that though, it can generally lower your fertility because candida affects the cervical mucus around your cervix, making it difficult for sperm to swim through.
Cause #3: Fertility drugs
Because these synthetic hormones affect the ability of fallopian tubes to contract properly to move an embryo down.
Cause #4: Scarring
You may have heard this already because this is probably the biggest reason I see for ectopic pregnancies in our clinics. The fallopian tubes are so tiny and so delicate that even any minor scarring can prevent an embryo from coming down properly.
Scarring can be the result of several things: I mentioned the pelvic inflammatory disease and also STDs earlier because of mucus build up. But if an inflammation is going on for a longer period of time, it will irritate the tissue so much of that scarring starts to develop.
Another more obvious reason for scarring in your fallopian tubes could be due to any type of surgery. So that could be any kind of surgery, it doesn't necessarily have to have been on your fallopian tubes or ovaries or uterus, could be any kind of surgery you've had. It could also be due to a C-section. It could also be due to a past ectopic pregnancy of course, or because you've had an abortion.
Now you may feel like scarring is something you can't do anything about, well, I've got good news, there are definitely homeopathic remedies that you can use for this.
Cause #5: Smoking (nicotine)
By now we all know that smoking is a really bad idea when we're trying to conceive or when we're pregnant.
But it's especially a bad idea when we're at risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. Because nicotine, that addicting stuff that is in the tobacco contracts the fallopian tubes so much that the fallopian tubes become really narrow and that makes it difficult for an embryo to travel down.
Cause #6: Endometriosis
In case you're not sure what endometriosis is, endometriosis is tissue of the uterine lining that builds up and that goes down when we have our flow. Those cells can travel outside of the uterus and they can travel to the outer membrane of the uterus but also to the ovaries, but also into the fallopian tubes.
Under the influence of hormones throughout your cycle that endometrial tissue will grow. You can imagine that those really painful because any spot outside of your uterus is not made for that lining. So any growth of those cells you'd definitely going to notice and when you have endometriosis, you will most likely know because you are quite a bit in pain.
Obviously the problem when it comes to risks of ectopic pregnancies, is that if those cells go into the fallopian tubes, then again, that makes it difficult for an embryo to travel down.
Cause #7: Progesterone Deficiency.
Progesterone deficiency in itself also puts you more at risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Because adequate levels of progesterone are needed for the peg cells in the fallopian tube which produce the fallopian tube fluid, which also helps the embryo to swim down.