Ectopic Pregnancy HCG Levels, Diagnosis & Treatment

Let’s understand what we mean by ectopic pregnancy and HCG levels.

HCG levels in pregnancy

The human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG is a certain hormone that is generated during pregnancy and can be detected in the woman’s blood or urine. In a pregnancy test, this is the hormone that is detected.

It is believed that the level of HCG are low in pregnancies that might be ectopic or can lead to a miscarriage. However, some women with low HCG can still have normal pregnancies.


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Ectopic Pregnancy Signs

Ectopic in simple parlance means ‘out of place.’ In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg is outside the uterus, most probably in the fallopian tubes. ‘Tubal pregnancy’ is another term for ectopic pregnancies. Sometimes the egg can implant itself in the cervix, abdomen or the ovaries. These places do not have nurturing tissue or space for the fetus to grow.

Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy

It is difficult to detect an ectopic pregnancy in the initial stages as the symptoms are the same as any other pregnancy. However, some of the signs to look out for are vaginal bleeding or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, or in some cases in the neck and shoulders. Some of the other signs to look out for are lower back pain, low blood pressure, dizziness or fainting, and vaginal spotting. Read more on HCG levels during pregnancy

Diagnosis for Ectopic Pregnancy

If you visit your doctor and complain of stabbing abdominal pain, then you will be given a urine pregnancy test. These tests are quick and speed is very necessary in treating ectopic pregnancy. Next you will be given an hCG test to check the level of the human chorionic gonadotropin.

This is produced by the placenta and the hormone can be detected in the blood and urine eight to ten days after you conceive. The level of hCG doubles every two days, every two days for many weeks. If you level of hCG is less than it should be, then ectopic pregnancy could be a reason.

You might have to get an ultrasound examination but it’s not necessary that the test can detect every ectopic pregnancy. Your physician can give you a pelvic examination. In case a diagnosis cannot be made, you might be asked to return for an hCG test every few days.

Treatment for Ectopic Pregnancy

Treatment plans vary.
  • Early ectopic pregnancies can be treated with a methotrexate injection to stop the embryo from growing.
  • If it’s an advanced pregnancy, then surgery might be an option.
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