Doctors have identified a number of possible causes of ectopic pregnancy. The most common is a blocked or damaged fallopian tube that prevents a fertilized egg from moving into the uterus.
Sometimes the cause of an ectopic pregnancy cannot be determined. Conditions that may lead to an ectopic pregnancy include:
- use of an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control
- a congenital abnormality (birth defect) in the fallopian tubes
- sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- pelvic surgery and scarring
- surgical sterilization such as a tubal ligation (having the fallopian tubes tied)
- use of fertility drugs or in vitro fertilization
- endometriosis, a disorder caused when cells that normally grow in the uterus, grow in other parts of the pelvis
- prior ectopic pregnancy
Hormonal changes are another of the possible causes of ectopic pregnancy. Age may also play a role with a higher incidence in women over age 35 and in teenagers. Risk also increases for women who have had many sexual partners.
The dangers posed by ectopic pregnancy are significant enough that women with any of the possible causes of an ectopic pregnancy, should inform their doctor and get regular checkups.