What is a molar 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.
What causes a molar pregnancy?
Molar pregnancy is thought to be caused by a problem with the genetic information of an egg or sperm. There are two types of molar pregnancy: complete and partial.
Sometimes a pregnancy that seems to be twins is found to be one fetus and one molar pregnancy. But this is very rare.
Things that may increase your risk of having a molar pregnancy include:
What are the symptoms?
A molar pregnancy causes the same early symptoms that a normal pregnancy does, such as a missed period or morning sickness. But a molar pregnancy usually causes other symptoms too. These may include:
Most of these symptoms can also occur with a normal pregnancy, a multiple pregnancy, or a miscarriage.
How is a molar pregnancy diagnosed?
Your doctor can confirm a molar pregnancy with:
What are the risks of having a molar pregnancy?
A molar pregnancy can cause heavy bleeding from the uterus.
Some molar pregnancies lead to gestational trophoblastic disease. Sometimes this disease keeps growing after molar pregnancy is removed.
In a few cases, trophoblastic disease turns into cancer. Fortunately, almost all women who get this cancer are cured with treatment.1
In rare cases, the abnormal tissue can spread to other parts of the body.
How is it treated?
When you have a molar pregnancy, you need treatment right away to remove all of the growth from your uterus. The growth is removed with a procedure called vacuum aspiration.
If you are done having children, you may decide to have your uterus removed (hysterectomy) instead of having a vacuum aspiration to treat your molar pregnancy.
After treatment, you will have regular blood tests to look for signs of trophoblastic disease. These blood tests will be done over the next 6 to 12 months. If you still have your uterus, you will need to use birth control for the next 6 to 12 months so you don't get pregnant. It is very important to see your doctor for all follow-up visits.
If you do get trophoblastic disease, there's a small chance that it will turn into cancer. But your doctor will likely find it early so it can be cured with chemotherapy. In the rare case when the cancer has had time to spread to other parts of the body, more chemotherapy is needed, sometimes combined with radiation treatment.
Trophoblastic disease doesn't keep most women from becoming pregnant later.2
After a molar pregnancy, it's normal to feel very sad and to worry about cancer. It may help to find a local support group or talk to your friends, a counselor, or a religious adviser.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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