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What is Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD)?

Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), sometimes called placental cancer, refers to a group of abnormalities in which tumors grow inside a woman's uterus (womb). The abnormal cells start in the tissue that would normally become the placenta, the organ that develops during pregnancy to feed the fetus.

Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) Signs and Symptoms

In its early stages, GTD may look like a normal pregnancy. A doctor should be seen if you experience vaginal bleeding (not menstrual bleeding) and if you are pregnant and the fetus has not moved by the expected time in its development.

Other symptoms include:

  • Abnormal growth of the womb (uterus)
  • Excessive growth in about half of cases
  • Smaller-than-expected growth in about a third of cases
  • Nausea and vomiting that may be severe enough to require a hospital stay
  • Vaginal bleeding during the first three months of pregnancy
  • Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
  • Heat intolerance
  • Loose stools
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Restlessness, nervousness
  • Skin warmer and more moist than usual
  • Trembling hands
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Symptoms similar to preeclampsia that occur in the first trimester or early second trimester; this is almost always a sign of a hydatidiform mole, because preeclampsia is extremely rare this early in a normal pregnancy. 
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling in feet, ankles, legs
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Uneven swelling of the uterus
  • Pain

These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is best to contact a Penn Medicine physician for a diagnosis.