Have you suffered a pregnancy loss due to an ectopic pregnancy? If so, you are not alone, 1 out of 50 pregnancies are ectopic according to the American Pregnancy Association. Women who have experienced ectopic pregnancy often suffer from tissue damage; this may lead to infertility, and a 7-15% chance of recurrence due to scarring and adhesions in the fallopian tubes. Not only is ectopic pregnancy damaging to the tissues, it can be emotionally scarring as well.
Ectopic pregnancy can be very physically painful, scary, and in some women may lead to hemorrhage potentially resulting in death. All of this may create fear for future pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancy is not something to be taken lightly. Often times women are very excited to be pregnant, only to find out that they have an ectopic pregnancy and that this pregnancy is not viable; this can be a devastating loss.
If you are one of those women who have suffered damage, physically or emotionally from ectopic pregnancy, this article is for you! I will share with you ways to heal your body physically and emotionally from ectopic pregnancy. But before we begin all of that, I believe it is important to share with you factors that may put you at risk for ectopic pregnancy, so that we can learn ways to prevent ectopic pregnancy.
Causes and Possible Prevention of Ectopic Pregnancy
Sexually Transmitted Infection
Sexually transmitted disease, especially Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). If left untreated, this may cause scar tissue, adhesions and chronic inflammation in the fallopian tubes and uterus. Use protection such as condoms during sexual intercourse, especially with new partners to help prevent STIs.
Tubal Sterilization Reversal
This is a common birth control method for women who thought they were done having children. More and more women are deciding otherwise and having tubal reversal procedures. Because the fallopian tubes were cut and cauterized initially, then snipped again and sewn back together, this may cause scar tissue, which may narrow or block the tubes. Any type of tubal sterilization poses a risk for ectopic pregnancy, even if you do not want children and have not had a tubal reversal. Of all the unsuccessful tubal ligation procedures that resulted in pregnancy, about 50% resulted in ectopic pregnancy.
Subsequent pregnancies are at risk for ectopic pregnancy following a C-section. This is due to increased risk of scar tissue formation around the reproductive organs which may damage the fallopian tubes.
Surgery to Open Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Women who have already been diagnosed with blocked fallopian tubes can choose to have surgical procedures to re-open them; but these procedures may lead to the development of more scar tissue and adhesions.
A study conducted by Dr. Buckley (Ann Emerg Med., 8/2000) revealed that low progesterone levels in pregnant women may potentially indicate an ectopic pregnancy. Results of the study showed that all the women who experienced ectopic pregnancy had progesterone levels below 22ng/ml. Of all the women whose progesterone levels were below 22 ng/ml, 10% resulted in ectopic pregnancy BUT none of the patients with progesterone levels above 22 mg/ml had a pregnancy resulting in ectopic implantation.
Other research shows that progesterone plays an important role in the function of the fallopian tubes. Specialized cells within the fallopian tubes, called peg cells, produce tubular fluid influenced by an increase in progesterone. This fluid is necessary to move the sperm to the ova (egg), nourish both the ova and the sperm and then to help move the fertilized ovum (zygote) along with the cilia (hair like cells within the fallopian tubes) to the uterus for implantation. A failure in proper movement of the fallopian tube may possibly result in ectopic pregnancy.
Progesterone level testing prior to pregnancy may help doctors identify a potential red flag for the development of an ectopic pregnancy in their patients. Should one find that her progesterone levels are low, natural progesterone cream supplementation may be something to look into. Bio-identical progesterone cream supplementation is a natural way to increase progesterone levels to make sure they are at the right level to sustain a pregnancy and hopefully avoid an ectopic pregnancy.
Smoking cigarettes has been linked to 5-times greater risk for ectopic pregnancy. In some women, it has been shown that under the influence of nicotine the fallopian tubes contract and spasm, according to several studies included in a 2010 systematic review of scientific literature on the impact of cigarette smoking on the stages of reproductive function in the journal Human Reproduction Update. During the spasm the walls of the fallopian tubes collapse and then temporarily stick together, preventing the embryo from passing through for implantation in the uterus.
Fertility medications including clomiphene citrate (Clomid), Pergonal, and progestin (common in hormonal birth control) put a woman at risk for ectopic pregnancy by altering the ability of the fallopian tube to contract and move the fertilized egg to the uterus. If you become pregnant while on one of these medications, talk to your doctor right away to rule out ectopic pregnancy.
What Happens During an Ectopic Pregnancy?
The most common place for an ectopic pregnancy to occur is inside of the fallopian tubes. Some ectopic pregnancies may occur in the abdominal cavity, cervix or ovary; this is very rare. In all cases, the fetus begins to grow where it should not be.
Normally during conception the embryo, in the form of rapidly dividing cells, moves from the fallopian tubes down to the uterus for implantation. Because the most common place for this to occur is the fallopian tubes, I will concentrate on that type of ectopic pregnancy. 95% of all ectopic pregnancies happen in the fallopian tubes. 50% of all ectopic pregnancies in the fallopian tube are caused by damage to the fallopian tubes; the other 50% the cause is unknown.
The embryo begins to grow and form in the fallopian tube. This puts extreme pressure on the fallopian tube. This may cause discomfort to extreme pain. Some women may not even know they have this type of pregnancy until they experience pain or it is discovered by ultrasound.
If you are pregnant and feel slight lower abdominal pain on one side or have some blood loss (spotting), and this is not normal for you, seek medical attention to rule out ectopic pregnancy. If this type of pregnancy is left undiagnosed it may lead to the fallopian tube rupturing; this is extremely dangerous as it can cause hemorrhage and death.
Often, when this happens the ovary is damaged as well, and both the fallopian tube and ovary are removed surgically. The pain from fallopian tube rupture can be so extreme a woman may vomit or pass out. If you feel you are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, or rupture of the fallopian tube, seek emergency medical care right away.
If the ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed right away, doctors can treat it with the chemotherapy drug called Methotrexate. This medication dissolves the embryo and your body reabsorbs it. If you have used this medication for an ectopic pregnancy, you may seriously want to consider doing a Fertility Cleanse. The Fertility Cleanse may help clear the body of the medication prior to trying to conceive again.
Even if the fallopian tube has not ruptured, the embryo may be further along and will require surgical removal to prevent rupture. The stretching of the fallopian tube alone can create severe damage to the fallopian tube. Your doctor may determine this during surgery.
Healing Scar Tissue and Adhesions While Reducing Inflammation
Whether you are wanting to prevent an ectopic pregnancy, heal blocked fallopian tubes, or heal from a past or recent ectopic pregnancy, you will want to plan ahead to allow for proper healing to take place.
If you recently had an ectopic pregnancy, give your body 2 weeks before beginning any of these therapies or herbs. Listen to your body. If you are still tender physically from surgery or damage, give your body more time to heal on its own. Beginning Self Fertility Massage may take more time before continuing on to prepare the body for another pregnancy. In the meantime, you can begin counseling or energy body work like Reiki or acupuncture to begin healing right away.
Note: This program is very similar to our Blocked Fallopian Tubes guide.
Systemic Enzyme Therapy
This is one of the most effective ways to reduce and remove scar tissue and adhesions, while reducing inflammation and increasing healthy circulation. Specific enzymes in this therapy eat away scar tissue (fibrin) over time, aiding the body in preventing excessive scar tissue buildup, while removing old scar tissue and adhesions. When there has been damage to the reproductive organs or surrounding tissues, chronic inflammation may be present as your body works to heal. Systemic Enzyme Therapy may help reduce inflammation, while aiding the body in healthy inflammation response. This therapy works extremely well when combined with Self Fertility Massage and Castor Oil Packs.
Abdominal or Fertility Massage
Massage is another natural therapy that helps to support general fallopian tube health. Massage helps to increase circulation and break adhesions in a non-intrusive way. Whenever there is damage to the fallopian tubes, fertility massage is recommended!
This type of massage may help aid the body in breaking up old scar tissue formation, promoting healing of the reproductive organs, while loosening tight and twisted tissues. The increased circulation aids in tissue elimination, while at the same time bringing in fresh blood to promote healing.
Damage from ectopic pregnancy may cause adhesions, where the tissues of the reproductive organs attach to other parts of the surrounding muscles or tissues in the body; this can pull the organs of the reproductive system out of alignment. Massage may help to reposition the reproductive organs for proper function.
Massage can also assist healing from emotional trauma, helping a woman who has suffered a pregnancy loss and physical pain to her reproductive system. It does this by teaching you how to connect with your reproductive system once again. It is giving you a time to take part in your healing process. When doing your massage session, take time to pray, visualize, or bless that area of your body. Directly physically connecting to your fertility is very important when working toward healing. Listen to your body; it has wisdom beyond belief.
There are three options for massage when it comes to supporting the reproductive system. You can find a massage therapist who specializes in abdominal or fertility massage such as a Maya Abdominal Massage Therapist, visit a center like Clear Passages or you can learn how to apply Self Fertility Massage at home.
1. The Arvigo Technique of Maya Abdominal Massage™
Developed by Dr. Rosita Arvigo, this holistic pelvic care approach uses techniques taught to Dr. Arvigo by her mentor Don Elijio Panti, who was a Mayan Shaman in Belize, Central America. Dr. Arvigo spent 10 years learning these ancient massage techniques. Thousands of practitioners around the world are trained and perform Maya Abdominal Massage™ in their clinics.
This type of massage has been found to work to loosen and aid the body in removal of old scar tissue and adhesion formation, which may be causing the reproductive organs to become stuck together, or to other parts of the internal body.
One session, depending on the amount of time spent, costs anywhere from $70 to $100 per session. Prices may vary depending on the practitioner.
2. Clear Passages Therapy
Clear Passages uses hands-on physical therapy techniques known as the Wurn Technique to unblock fallopian tubes. This technique is done without the use of drugs or surgery. There are many studies proving success of this technique for naturally unblocking the fallopian tubes. They have clinics in 6 locations in the United States and two in the United Kingdom where women from all over the world travel to be treated.
According to a study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (2008), the Wurn Technique had a 61% success rate in opening blocked fallopian tubes that were totally blocked. The results of this therapy last many years in most cases, as compared to surgical procedures which usually regrow scar tissue and cause the fallopian tube/s to become blocked once again in approximately 6 months of the surgical procedure.
Clear Passages has success with their techniques in opening blocked fallopian tubes in women with…
- two completely blocked fallopian tubes
- one blocked fallopian tube, one tube previously removed
- hydrosalpinx (fluid filled tube)
- distal end blockage (distal tubal occlusion, end near ovary)
The average cost of a 20-hour Clear Passages therapy session is $5,200.
3. Self Fertility Massage™
Self Fertility Massage is a series of massage techniques that are used to help support reproductive health, the menstrual cycle, and your fertility all from the comfort of your own home! This type of massage is easy to learn and perform and is cost effective!
One of the greatest benefits of massage is the ability to break up adhesions. Adhesions are comprised of scar tissue. These adhesions are what cause the fallopian tubes to become blocked, stuck together, stuck to other parts of the reproductive organs or other internal tissues of the body. Self Fertility Massage gently helps to break up adhesions and increase circulation to detoxify and restore optimal function to the reproductive organs, including the fallopian tubes. Massage provides a great non-intrusive option for women with blocked fallopian tubes.
“I would strongly recommend deep tissue massage such as Maya abdominal massage for any woman who has had a history of tubal infection, tubal surgery, or ectopic pregnancy. That’s because this technique might well be able to help prevent or eliminate the tubal adhesions that favor a future ectopic pregnancy.”- Christiane Northrup, M.D. Author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
At $24.95 for an instant download video with detailed instructions, Self Fertility Massage is an inexpensive and effective alternative to other forms of abdominal massage. Click here to learn more about Self Fertility Massage™
Castor Oil Packs
Castor Oil packs promote healing to the reproductive system, by stimulating circulation and triggering the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for removing metabolic waste, old diseased cells, and tissues. This is very important, especially if your ectopic pregnancy may have been caused by Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), infection from past surgery, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts or PID. Edgar Cayce, the “father of holistic medicine”, suggested external application of castor oil packs to stimulate the organs of the abdomen (liver, gall ladder and colon) and as treatment for adhesions in the abdomen as well.
Castor oil is one of the only ways to stimulate the lymphatic system. Within the lymphatic system is a fluid called lymph and this system relies on us to get it to move. The heart runs our circulatory system, but the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump like the circulatory system has in the heart. Exercise, dry brushing, some herbs and Castor Oil are some of the only ways to get the lymph to move. Castor Oil Packs heal underlying tissues very well, when used consistently over time. This therapy works great in conjunction with any type of fertility or abdominal massage therapy including Self Fertility Massage.
Women’s Best Friend
This herbal blend contains medicinal herbs that help blocked fallopian tubes, PID or other fertility issues where scar tissue, infection, and diseased tissues may be present.
Antibiotic: The antibiotic herbs in this blend help to clear out any infection that may exist in the reproductive system or fallopian tubes.
Anti-inflammatory: Anti-inflammatory herbs such as Goldenseal help to reduce the inflammation and reduce further scar tissue production.
Circulatory: Herbs in this blend help to increase blood flow through the reproductive organs.
Women’s Best Friend is best used for 2-3 months consistently in healing and preparation for pregnancy. For best results, use for a couple of months prior to trying to conceive.
Healing Emotionally from Ectopic Pregnancy
Many women find it hard to move forward with trying to conceive after ectopic pregnancy. The statistics for recurrent ectopic pregnancy may compound this. If you have suffered an ectopic pregnancy, I am sure somewhere in the back of your mind you are asking, “Will this happen again?” Fear can create anxiety when trying to conceive and with subsequent pregnancies. How can you face those fears, and move forward? Fear alone can make getting pregnant again difficult. Work toward letting go of resentment, anger or shame surrounding your circumstances with regard to your ectopic pregnancy. We are more than our physical bodies, treating yourself holistically is going to greatly improve your chances of healing, so you can move toward a successful, healthy pregnancy.
- Seek counseling
- Actively engage your body in healing therapies
- Join an ectopic pregnancy support group or forum
- Journal about your journey
- Acknowledge your loss, take time to mourn, allow yourself space to process the experience
- Consciously thank your body for all that is does everyday
- Believe in your body’s capacity to heal itself
- Get body work done or do body work on yourself: Reiki, Maya Abdominal Massage, Self Fertility Massage or acupuncture
- Meditate or visualize a healthy pregnancy happening for you as your body is healing
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is similar to acupuncture. In this technique, various energy points in the body are unlocked by gentle tapping. The theory behind this technique is that all negative emotions are caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system. Either a practitioner can perform the tapping or the patient can be taught to perform the tapping alone. This technique is wonderful because it addresses both fertility and stress reduction at the same time. EFT has no known negative side effects, the reported success rates for resolving both emotional and physical issues is amazingly high with improvement for up to 95% of people.
I believe in the capacity of my body to heal itself.
There are many possible causes of ectopic pregnancy, with the best prevention being the avoidance of sexually transmitted diseases. Many women who have experienced an ectopic pregnancy have been shown to have low progesterone levels, but it is still unclear if progesterone alone will help to prevent ectopic pregnancies. Please talk with your doctor about this. If you have experienced or are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy make sure to take some time to nurture and take care of both your body and your mind through the use of systemic enzymes, abdominal massage, castor oil packs, herbal blends, counseling, EFT, meditation or look into joining a support group.
- Northrup, Christiane, M.D. (2010). Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.pp 435-46, New York, NY: Bantam Books.
- Ectopic Pregnancy (July 20, 2017). American Pregnancy Association. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/ectopic-pregnancy/
- Buckley, RG., et. al. (2000). Serum progesterone testing to predict ectopic pregnancy in symptomatic first trimester patients. Ann Emerg Med Aug. 36(2):95-100. Retrieved from: https://www.annemergmed.com/article/S0196-0644(00)71711-2/fulltext
- Dechanet, C., et al. (2010). Effects of cigarette smoking on reproduction. Human Reproduction Update,Vol.17, No.1 pp. 76–95. Retrieved from: http://humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/17/1/76.full.pdf+html
- Bouyer, Jean., et. al.(2000). Risk Factors for Ectopic Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Analysis Based on a Large CaseControl, Population based Study in France. The American Journal of Epidemiology. Retrieved from: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/157/3/185.short
- J Coste, N JobSpira, and H Fernandez. Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy with maternal cigarette smoking. American Journal of Public Health. February 1991: Vol. 81, No. 2, pp. 199-201. doi:10.2105/AJPH.81.2.199. Retrieved from: https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.81.2.199
- Stergachis, Andy, et. al. (1990). Maternal Cigarette Smoking and the Risk of Tubal Pregnancy. The American Journal of Epidemiology, 133:332–7. Retrieved from: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/133/4/332.short
- Wurn BF, Wurn LJ, King CR, Heuer MA, Roscow AS, Hornberger K, Scharf ES. Treating Fallopian Tube Occlusion with a Manual Pelvic Physical Therapy. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 Jan Feb;14(1):18-23. PMID 18251317. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18251317
- HERAPIES: CASTOR OIL PACKS (n.d.). Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. Retrieved from https://www.edgarcayce.org/the-readings/health-and-wellness/holistic-health-database/therapies-castor-oil-packs/
- Rodriguez, Hethir (n.d.) Natural Therapies for Fallopian Tube Health. In Natural Therapies for Blocked Fallopian Tubes. Retrieved from: https://natural-fertility-info.com/blocked-fallopian-tubes