Ectopic Pregnancy

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Ectopic Pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg fails to pass through fallopian tube before implantation in the uterus.  Thus, the ectopic pregnancy is usually in a tubal location, although it can even be intraabdominal.  Most commonly it is the result of chronic salpingitis, often due to adhesions that have formed in the tube after gonorrheal infection (or Chlamydia). These adhesions thus prevent normal tubal transport of the fertilized ovum to the uterus. This naturally results in a disastrous outcome, frequently with a sudden acute pain in the mother, requiring surgical intervention. Ectopic pregnancy is common in humans and is apparently rather uncommon in the great apes. This may be related to the fact that humans tend to suffer more often from bacterial sexually transmitted diseases, which cause damage to the fallopian tubes where fertilization should normally occur. However, most cases of ectopic pregnancy are not associated with a history of sexually transmitted bacterial disease. Therefore, the reason for this apparent difference is not entirely clear. A strictly speculative idea is that this may also have to do with the fact that humans copulate at times that are often completely unrelated to the timing of ovulation. In other words, the timing of ovulation and entry of sperm into the fallopian tubes may not be as well synchronized as in the apes.

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