Screening for hydatidiform mole begins as soon as a woman shows symptoms of the disease, which often resemble those of a normal pregnancy. A pelvic exam may show signs of the condition. Levels of the hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) rise as in a pregnancy, but are often much higher with GTD. Another difference is that the womb becomes larger than normal and there is no heartbeat from a fetus. Vaginal bleeding may also be occurring. Using ultrasound, doctors can see the condition of the placenta and if a fetus is growing.
Because symptoms of GTD in early stages look like pregnancy, a hormone test for HCG is conducted first. If HCG is elevated more than expected as a result of pregnancy, the possibility of a molar pregnancy is considered. Should an ultrasound rules out a pregnancy, the doctor prescribes further tests to determine the exact nature of the condition.
In addition to the hormone test, other tests for diagnosing hydatidiform mole, may include:
- a chest x-ray, CT scan or MRI to provide more exacting detail on the exact condition
- a complete blood count
- blood clotting
- liver and kidney function
As with all medical conditions, early diagnosis by screening for hydatidiform mole as soon as symptoms appear offers the highest potential for a successful outcome.