Hydatidiform mole

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Know the basics

What is hydatidiform mole?

Hydatidiform mole, also known as molar pregnancy, is a benign tumor that develops in the uterus. A molar pregnancy starts when an egg is fertilized, but instead of a normal and viable pregnancy resulting, the placenta develops into an abnormal mass of cysts. Even though it isn’t an embryo, the woman with a hydatidiform mole still has  the symptoms of pregnancy.

A molar pregnancy should be treated right away. This will make sure that all of the tissue is removed. This tissue can cause serious problems in some women.

There are two types of molar pregnancy: complete and partial.

  • Complete molar pregnancy: there’s no embryo or normal placental tissue.
  • Partial molar pregnancy: there’s an abnormal embryo and possibly some normal placental tissue. The embryo begins to develop but is malformed and can’t survive.

How common is hydatidiform mole?

This health condition is extremely rare, affecting around 1 in 1,200 pregnancies. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of hydatidiform mole?

The common symptoms of hydatidiform mole are:

  • Bigger or smaller uterus than usual;
  • Severe nausea, vomiting;
  • Dark brown to bright red;
  • Vaginal bleeding during the first 3 months old pregnancy;
  • Rapid heart rate;
  • Nervousness;
  • Unexpected weight loss;
  • Hypertension;
  • Swollen feet, ankles, legs;
  • Preeclampsia — a condition that causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy;
  • Ovarian cysts;
  • Anemia;
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes hydatidiform mole?

A molar pregnancy is caused by an abnormally fertilized egg. Human cells normally contain 23 pairs of chromosomes. One chromosome in each pair comes from the father, the other from the mother.

In a complete molar pregnancy, all of the fertilized egg’s chromosomes come from the father. Shortly after fertilization, the chromosomes from the mother’s egg are lost or inactivated and the father’s chromosomes are duplicated. The egg may have had an inactive nucleus or no nucleus.

In a partial or incomplete molar pregnancy, the mother’s chromosomes remain, but the father provides two sets of chromosomes. As a result, the embryo has 69 chromosomes instead of 46. This can happen when the father’s chromosomes are duplicated or if two sperm fertilize a single egg.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for hydatidiform mole?

There are many risk factors for hydatidiform mole, such as:

  • It commonly affects more women who are aged under 20 and over 35.
  • Previous molar pregnancy. A repeat molar pregnancy happens, on average, in 1 to 2 out of every 100 women.
  • A history of miscarriage.
  • Being of Asian or Mexican background.
  • A diet low in carotene. Carotene is a form of vitamin A. Women who don’t get enough of this vitamin have a higher rate of complete molar pregnancy.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is hydatidiform mole diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects a molar pregnancy, you will be required these following tests:

  • Blood tests. A blood test will measure the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).
  • The ultrasound may be done through a wand-like device placed in your vagina.
  • Chest X-ray.
  • CT or MRI of the abdomen (imaging tests).
  • Complete blood count (CBC).
  • Blood clotting tests.
  • Kidney and liver function tests.

How is hydatidiform mole treated?

A molar pregnancy is usually harmless and the only treatment required is the removal of the molar tissue from the womb. Treatment usually consists of one or more of the following:

  • Dilation and curettage (D&C). The molar tissue from your uterus will be removed by a procedure called dilation and curettage (D&C). A D&C is usually done as an outpatient procedure in a hospital.
  • Your uterus (hysterectomy) will be removed in case the extensive molar tissue and having no desire for future pregnancies.
  • HCG monitoring. After the molar tissue is removed, your doctor repeats measurements of your HCG level until it returns to normal (for six months to one year) to prevent the severe complications. In some cases, after a molar pregnancy has been removed, the molar tissue may remain and continue to grow. This is called persistent gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) and one sign of persistent GTD is when the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) remains high after the molar pregnancy has been removed.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage hydatidiform mole?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with hydatidiform mole:

  • Setting a routine prenatal care by a qualified health care professional.
  • Regular check-ups during the pregnancy.
  • Reporting any abnormal bleeding, pain during the pregnancy.
  • Waiting for six months to one year before trying to become pregnant.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: September 30, 2016 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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