Hydatidiform Mole

Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

What is the definition of Hydatidiform Mole?

Hydatidiform mole (HM) is a rare mass or growth that forms inside the womb (uterus) at the beginning of a pregnancy. It is a type of gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD).

What are the alternative names for Hydatidiform Mole?

Hydatid mole; Molar pregnancy; Hyperemesis - molar

What are the causes for Hydatidiform Mole?

HM, or molar pregnancy, results from abnormal fertilization of the oocyte (egg). It results in an abnormal fetus. The placenta grows normally with little or no growth of the fetal tissue. The placental tissue forms a mass in the uterus. On ultrasound, this mass often has a grape-like appearance, as it contains many small cysts.

Chance of mole formation is higher in older women. A history of mole in earlier years is also a risk factor.

Molar pregnancy can be of two types:

  • Partial molar pregnancy: There is an abnormal placenta and some fetal development.
  • Complete molar pregnancy: There is an abnormal placenta and no fetus.

There is no way to prevent formation of these masses.

What are the symptoms for Hydatidiform Mole?

Symptoms of a molar pregnancy may include:

  • Abnormal growth of the uterus, either bigger or smaller than usual
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Vaginal bleeding during the first 3 months of pregnancy
  • Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including heat intolerance, loose stools, rapid heart rate, restlessness or nervousness, warm and moist skin, trembling hands, or unexplained weight loss
  • Symptoms similar to preeclampsia that occur in the first trimester or early second trimester, including high blood pressure and swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs (this is almost always a sign of a hydatidiform mole, because preeclampsia is extremely rare this early in a normal pregnancy)

What are the current treatments for Hydatidiform Mole?

If your provider suspects a molar pregnancy, removal of the abnormal tissue with a dilation and curettage (D&C) will most likely be suggested. D&C may also be done using suction. This is called suction aspiration (The method uses a suction cup to remove contents from the uterus). 

Sometimes a partial molar pregnancy can continue. A woman may choose to continue her pregnancy in the hope of having a successful birth and delivery. However, these are very high-risk pregnancies. Risks may include bleeding, problems with blood pressure, and premature delivery (having the baby before it is fully developed). In rare cases, the fetus is genetically normal. Women need to completely discuss the risks with their provider before continuing the pregnancy.

A hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus) may be an option for older women who DO NOT wish to become pregnant in the future.

After treatment, your hCG level will be followed. It is important to avoid another pregnancy and to use a reliable contraceptive for 6 to 12 months after treatment for a molar pregnancy. This time allows for accurate testing to be sure that the abnormal tissue does not grow back. Women who get pregnant too soon after a molar pregnancy are at high risk of having another molar pregnancy.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Hydatidiform Mole?

Most HMs are noncancerous (benign). Treatment is usually successful. Close follow-up by your provider is important to ensure that signs of the molar pregnancy are gone and pregnancy hormone levels return to normal.

About 15% of cases of HM can become invasive. These moles can grow deep into the uterine wall and cause bleeding or other complications. This type of mole most often responds well to medicines.

In very few cases of complete HM, moles develop into a choriocarcinoma. This is a fast-growing cancer. It is usually successfully treated with chemotherapy, but can be life threatening.

What are the possible complications for Hydatidiform Mole?

Complications of molar pregnancy may include:

  • Change to invasive molar disease or choriocarcinoma
  • Preeclampsia
  • Thyroid problems
  • Molar pregnancy that continues or comes back

Complications from surgery to remove a molar pregnancy may include:

  • Excessive bleeding, possibly requiring a blood transfusion
  • Side effects of anesthesia


Bouchard-Fortier G, Covens A. Gestational trophoblastic disease: hydatidiform mole, nonmetastatic and metastatic gestational trophoblastic tumor: diagnosis and management. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 35.

Goldstein DP, Berkowitz RS. Gestational trophoblastic disease. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 90.

Salani R, Copeland LJ. Malignant diseases and pregnancy. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 50.

Salhi BA, Nagrani S. Acute complications of pregnancy. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 178.

Latest Research

Latest Advance
  • Condition: Hydatidiform Mole with Pulmonary Deportation
  • Journal: Chinese medical journal
  • Treatment Used: Uterine Evacuation
  • Number of Patients: 20
  • Published —
In this study, researchers sought to determine the best treatment for hydatidiform mole with pulmonary deportation.
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia
  • Journal: Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP
  • Treatment Used: Methotrexate Leucovorin
  • Number of Patients: 102
  • Published —
In this study, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of using prophylactic chemotherapy with methotrexate leucovorin in high-risk molar pregnancy to prevent malignant gestational trophoblastic neoplasia.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Drug
  • Participants: 26
  • Start Date: February 12, 2020
TROPHAMET, a Phase I/II Trial of Avelumab and METhotrexate in Low-risk Gestational TROPHoblastic Neoplasias as First Line Treatment
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Drug
  • Participants: 306
  • Start Date: December 24, 2018
Study of Different Therapeutic Strategies in Hydatidiform Mole With Lung Nodule,A Prospective Multicentre Randomized Controlled Trial