A molar pregnancy is an abnormal pregnancy, which results from abnormal fertilization. The molar pregnancy itself is not dangerous, but if left untreated inside of the uterus it will lead to a uterine cancer, called choriocarcinoma. This means that molar pregnancy is also a precancerous condition. A molar pregnancy is also known as hydatiform mole.
As mentioned before a hydatiform mole results from an abnormal fertilization. During this abnormal fertilization, the tissue that normally forms the fetus and the placenta, in molar pregnancy will form an abnormal cystic mass. The cysts have a characteristic form of grapes.
There are two types of molar pregnancy:
The Difference Between a Complete and Incomplete Mole
Both complete and incomplete mole will result from an abnormal fertilization.
An complete one results from the fertilization of two spermatozoids and an egg which has no genetic material, while an incomplete mole results from the fertilization of two spermatozoids and a normal egg. The embryo created in this case will have 69 chromosomes instead of 46 chromosomes that a normal embryo has.
A complete mole only consists of a cystic mass with a characteristic form of a grape, while an incomplete mole has also fetal parts together with an abnormal cystic mass.
Both complete and incomplete mole will not lead to creation of a normal embryo and development of a normal fetus. In an incomplete molar pregnancy the embryo will begin to develop but it is malformed and can’t survive.
Signs and Symptoms of Incomplete and Complete Mole
The signs and symptoms of both complete and incomplete molar pregnancy are the same. However, these signs and symptoms can be more severe in cases of a complete mole. In the first weeks the signs and symptoms are the same as in a normal pregnancy, but after a few weeks other signs and symptoms like vaginal bleeding, larger uterus than normal, severe nausea and vomiting may occur.
Both complete and incomplete mole should be diagnosed and treated on time as they are precancerous conditions. The cystic masses should be diagnosed on time, before they invade the uterine wall. If left untreated they will result into development of choriocarcinoma.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Molar Pregnancy
The diagnosis is more difficult in cases of an incomplete mole as normal fetal parts can be visualized on the ultrasound. The ultrasound image of the complete mole is very characteristic and is often called as the snow storm appearance.
As mentioned before it is very important to diagnose and treat a molar pregnancy on time, no matter if it is a complete or incomplete. If left untreated a hydatiform mole, both complete and incomplete molar pregnancies, will result into some serious complications. Both complete and incomplete molar pregnancies are known to be as precancerous conditions. Once a mole is developed, the cystic masses will invade the uterine wall resulting eventually into choriocarcinoma. Choriocarcinoma is a malignant and trophoblastic cancer which is characterized by an early hematogenous spread to the lungs.
Once the diagnosis of a hydatiform mole is confirmed with ultrasound and blood levels of Beta – HCG, the termination of this abnormal pregnancy is necessary. (Read more: pregnancy termination Brooklyn) Dilatation and curettage or even hysterectomy, laparoscopic surgery are necessary.