Molar Pregnancy Diagnosis

A molar pregnancy is a rare pregnancy complication. When it comes to its diagnosis, using ultrasounds is essential.
Molar Pregnancy Diagnosis

Last update: 27 April, 2019

Throughout the gestation period, several alterations may occur that make it necessary to take action immediately. One of these complications, even though it may be rare, is a molar pregnancy.

Below, we’ll explain this condition and the techniques they use to diagnosis and treat it.

What is a Molar Pregnancy?

Molar pregnancy is a term that refers to Gestational Trophoblastic Disease, or GTD. It involves an abnormal proliferation of the tissue that composes the trophoblast (one of the cell layers involved in the formation of the embryo).

Overall, there are several categories of molar pregnancy depending on the nature of the issue.

Woman getting checked for molar pregnancy

On the one hand, there may be a benign tissue disease. In this case, there’s no risk of developing a cancerous tumor pathology. This may involve partial or complete Benign Gestational Trophoblastic Disease.

On the other hand, there may also be a series of diseases related to molar pregnancy known as Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia. This group includes malignant or invasive hydatidiform moles, choriocarcinomas and epithelial tumors are highlighted, which all affect the tissue.

The Signs and Symptoms of a Molar Pregnancy?

It’s important to consider that this can go unnoticed during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

However, as the pregnancy progresses, a series of clinical manifestations will appear, which will help the diagnosis:

  • Metrorrhagia: Vaginalbleeding takes place in almost all women with a molar pregnancy. This is due to the fact that the trophoblastic tissue has a high invasive capacity and is situated between the cell layers. It accumulates blood due to not being able to properly drain it. When the blood volume exceeds the capacity of the cavity, sudden bleeding occurs.
  • Toxemia: This is a common sign in patients. However, there may be cases where it doesn’t appear. Toxemia consists of pregnancy-associated hypertension and is a serious condition that needs medical attention to prevent repercussions.
  • Abnormal fundal height: The depth of the uterus grows around four centimes every month of pregnancy. In the past, doctors used this depth to estimate the gestational age. Today, this technique isn’t used thanks to ultrasounds. In any case, a fundal height that’s above normal is a sign that’s often associated with a molar pregnancy.
  • Hormonal alterations: Throughout the pregnancy, several analytical controls are conducted in order to verify that all levels are correct. When there is a proliferation of the trophoblastic tissue, the levels of hormones alter due to a cell layer with an endocrine capacity.

Check out this article, too: Bleeding During Pregnancy

Diagnosis of a Molar Pregnancy

First, there has to be a clinical suspicion. The hormonal alterations in the blood analysis are an important test for a molar pregnancy.

However, this doesn’t mean there’s an issue. It may also be a sign of other complication. This is particularly true if the patient is an aged first-time mom or if there are genetic alterations.

However, without a doubt, the best technique for diagnosing molar pregnancy is an ultrasound.

Pregnant woman touching her belly

Thanks to the use of ultrasounds, we can directly visualize the gestational sac and cysts that often appear next to the gestational sac. Also, in case of suspicion, doctors can take samples to analyze.

If, at the time of diagnosis, there is a suspicion of neoplastic disease, it will also be necessary to perform an imaging test such as a CT scan or x-ray apart from an ultrasound.

It’s essential to perform a complete removal of the cysts in order to prevent future complications, especially in the case of metastasis. Then, it’s essential to follow through with a surgical treatment and chemotherapy.

If the patient has no intention of having more children or the risk of complications is very high, then they should opt for more aggressive treatment. However, just like everything else in medicine, it’s best to always choose to have a more conservative attitude in the case of young patients.

Ultimately, there are many diagnoses and treatments for molar pregnancy. However, the analytical study and imaging techniques are what really help diagnose and establish the prognosis.

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