Gestational trophoblastic disease

You are here: 

Signs and symptoms of gestational trophoblastic disease

A sign is something that can be observed and recognized by a doctor or healthcare professional (for example, a rash). A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can feel and know (for example, pain or tiredness). Some women with gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) do not experience signs and symptoms because blood tests and ultrasound during prenatal care find most types of GTD early, before it causes any signs or symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of GTD include:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • swelling of the abdomen
    • With a hydatidiform mole, the abdomen and uterus may grow at a much faster rate than with a normal pregnancy.
  • ovarian cysts (luteoma)
  • nausea and vomiting
    • Some women have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes nausea and vomiting that is often much worse than what may occur during a normal pregnancy.
  • passing of  tissue resembling a “bunch of grapes” from the vagina
  • lack of fetal movement during pregnancy

Rare signs and symptoms

Rare signs and symptoms of GTD are:

  • anemia (if bleeding is severe or lasts for a long time)
  • pre-eclampsia, a condition characterized by:
    • high blood pressure
    • abnormal amounts of protein in the urine
    • headache
    • swelling of the hands and feet
  • overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) that causes:
    • rapid heartbeat
    • warm skin
    • sweating
    • shaking
    • feeling “too hot”
  • abdominal or pelvic pain
  • vaginal discharge
  • fever

Late signs and symptoms

Late signs and symptoms occur as the cancer grows larger or spreads to other parts of the body, including other organs.

  • coughing up blood
  • dry cough
  • chest pain
  • trouble breathing
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • gradual loss of the ability to move a body part (paralysis)
  • seizure
  • trouble speaking
  • vision problems
  • lump in the vagina


A condition in which the skin and whites of the eyes become yellow and urine is dark yellow.

Jaundice may be caused by high levels of bilirubin (a substance formed when red blood cells break down) in the blood. It can also result from liver problems or a blocked bile duct.


Heather Moyes I encourage every woman – regardless of how young or how old – to be aware of their body

Read Heather's story

Great progress has been made

Icon - arrow

Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

Learn more