Gestational trophoblastic disease
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Gestational trophoblastic disease is a generic term for a complex of medical conditions associated with pregnancy, which develops in the uterus. It is a fairly rare disease, and its most widespread form is molar pregnancy (hydatiform mole). Find out how you can recognize the disease and what measures you should take, but especially if there are chances for the pregnancy to continue!
The disease is also known as gestational trophoblastic tumor, because it refers to tumors associated with pregnancy, which derive from the placental testis. Although most tumors are benign, ie non-cancerous, there is a small percentage of them becoming malignant. Therefore, doctors emphasize the importance of early diagnosis of the condition. In the case of early detection of tumors, the chance of complete healing is almost 100%.
Types of trophoblastic gestational disease
Gestational trophoblastic disease originates from the group of trophoblastic cells that naturally surround the uterus during pregnancy.
In the early stage of development, trophoblast cells (a cell tissue specific to pregnancy) form small, thin, elongated projections, called cilia. They grow in the uterine mucosa. Subsequently, the trophoblast layer develops in the placenta, the organ that protects and helps nourish the fetus.
Trophoblastic disease always occurs in a pregnancy that does not evolve normally. There are four main types of the disease and they all derive or originate from trophoblast:
- hydatiform mole (molar pregnancy);
- invasive spring;
- trophoblastic placental tumor.
The hydatiform mole, also known as the molar pregnancy, is the most common form of trophoblastic gestational disease. In the first phase it is benign, but if it gets worse, it can degenerate into malignancy.
It originates from eyelashes that swell due to excessive fluid accumulation in them. Inflamed eyelashes grow in groups that associate in the form of a bunch of grapes and impede the normal development of the fetus during pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms of trophoblastic gestational disease
There are some symptoms associated with this condition, even though many of them can easily be confused with other diseases.
For accurate diagnosis or confirmation of the disease, blood tests and advanced imaging methods are required. It is very important that when you notice any of these symptoms, the pregnant woman presents to the doctor for further investigations.
When trophoblastic disease begins to develop in placental tissue, the abdomen increases in volume. The swollen area is soft to the touch and sometimes painful.
Vaginal bleeding is another symptom that indicates the presence of gestational trophoblastic disease. These occur especially during the first three months of pregnancy, and may be accompanied by blood clots or brown leaks.
Missing or abnormal fetal movements are another sign that something is wrong with your pregnancy. Associated with other specific manifestations, the symptom may be due to the presence of trophoblastic tumors in the placental tissue.
Anemia and high blood pressure are two medical conditions that can occur during pregnancy and are often correlated with trophoblastic disease.
Treatment of trophoblastic gestational disease
Treatment depends on the type of gestational trophoblastic disease with which the pregnant woman is diagnosed.
Whether it is benign or malignant, doctors often recommend surgery to remove the tumor tissue. It is a precautionary method that helps reduce the risk of malignancy and cancer.
In the case of the hydatiform mole, the most common type of trophoblastic gestational disease, the doctors resort to the removal of the tumor, and implicitly of the pregnancy, by uterine curettage.
In some cases, in order to reduce the risk of recurrence of the disease, hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) is used, but only if the woman never wants to have children again.
In the case of the types of malignant trophoblastic tumor, the doctors establish a personalized treatment scheme for each pregnant woman, which usually includes the administration of methotrexate, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The therapeutic method chosen depends on the severity of the disease and the stage at which the disease is diagnosed, but also on the pregnancy preference.
What medical problems did you face during pregnancy? Share your story in the comment section below!
Tags Molar pregnancy Complications of pregnancy