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Molar Pregnancy - Symptoms and Treatment

A molar pregnancy, also called gestational trophoblastic disease, is an abnormality of the placenta caused by a problem at fertilization. The cause of a molar pregnancy is an abnormality during fertilization, in which two sets of chromosomes from the male become mixed in with either one set of chromosomes from the female or none of her chromosomes at all. Most molar pregnancies are discovered within weeks of conception. In a molar pregnancy, the early placenta develops into a fast-growing mass of cysts (hydatidiform mole) in the uterus.

Molar pregnancy is a type of miscarriage complicated by a noncancerous (benign) tumor. There are two types of molar pregnancies, "complete," and "partial." Complete molar pregnancy. In place of a normal placenta and embryo , the hydatidiform mole is abnormal placental tissue that grows into a grapelike cluster that can fill the uterus. Partial molar pregnancy. The placenta grows abnormally into molar tissue. Any fetal tissue that develops is likely to have severe defects. Molar pregnancy is uncommon, occurring in about one out of every 1,000 pregnancies in the United States. You are at increased risk of a molar pregnancy if you're older than age 40. The incidence is somewhat higher in people of East Asian descent.

A molar pregnancy is a mass of abnormal tissue (hydatidiform mole) that comes from the placenta inside the uterus , which triggers symptoms of pregnancy. In a molar pregnancy, the embryo never develops and the increase in the uterus size is faster when compared to normal fetal growth. The real cause for a molar pregnancy is not understood. It is derived that, nutritional deficiencies and ovular defects could be the contributing reasons for molar pregnancies. In normal pregnancies, the fertilized egg contains 23 chromosomes from the father and 23 from the mother.

In most complete molar pregnancies, the fertilized egg contributes no maternal chromosomes and the chromosomes from the father's sperm are duplicated, so you end up with two copies of chromosomes from the father and none from the mother. In this case, there's no embryo, amniotic sac, or any normal placental tissue. Instead, the placenta forms a mass of cysts that looks like a cluster of grapes. In most partial molar pregnancies, the fertilized egg has the normal complement of chromosomes from the mother but double the chromosomes from the father, so there are 69 chromosomes instead of the normal 46.

Causes of Molar Pregnancy

Find common causes and risk factors of Molar Pregnancy:

  • Women over the age of 40
  • White women in the US are at higher risk than black women
  • A diet low in carotene (a form of vitamin A). Women with low carotene or vitamin A intake have a higher rate of complete molar pregnancy.
  • In the US, approximately 1 out of 1,000 pregnancies is a molar pregnancy
  • History of miscarriage .
  • An abnormal egg with no genetic information is fertilized by a sperm. The sperm's chromosomes duplicate and develop into a complete mole.
  • A normal egg is fertilized by two sperm. This cell mass is most likely to develop into a partial mole.

Signs and Symptoms of Molar Pregnancy

Sign and symptoms may include the following :

  • Hyperthyroidism .
  • Increased hCG levels.
  • Nausea and vomiting .
  • Early preeclampsia (high blood pressure) .
  • Abdominal or pelvic cramps.
  • High blood pressure .

Treatment for Molar Pregnancy

Treatment may include:

  • Molar pregnancies are removed by suction curettage, dilation and evacuation (D & C), or sometimes through medication. General anesthetic is normally used during these procedures.
  • This treatment with medication toxic to the molar tissue is used to treat a molar pregnancy tumor that has features suggesting a good prognosis.
  • Treatment with several medications toxic to the molar tissue usually is needed to treat invasive tumors with poorer prognosis.
  • Approximately 90% of women who have a mole removed require no further treatment.
  • This uses high-strength X-ray beams to destroy cancer cells in the exceedingly rare case when a tumor has spread (metastasized) to the brain.
  • Follow-up procedures that monitor the hCG levels can occur monthly for six months or as your physician prescribes.



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