Have you ever gone to a clinic and come across the term HCG? Maybe not, unless you are there for a pregnancy test. HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin commonly appears in the system when a woman is pregnant.
This is a hormone that is produced by the cells from the placenta. HCG hormone plays a vital role during the early stages of pregnancy as it helps secrete progesterone needed by the growing embryo.
As you can guess, HCG is detected in pregnancy tests. There are two types of HCG tests:
• The qualitative HCG tests is the common method using over the counter pregnancy kits. These test the presence of HCG hormones in the blood.
• The quantitative HCG test is usually done in combination with progesterone. Quantitative HCG is also known as Beta-HCG testing. This is done to diagnose cases of ectopic pregnancy, to detect and continuously monitor possible failing pregnancy, and to keep a watchful eye on a woman’s condition after a miscarriage.
It all sounds so scientific and worrisome, but there are some key things that are important to note about the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin.
• Levels of HCG will double as pregnancy progresses.
• Do not put too much interpretation on HCG numbers. This is because they are not indications of an unhealthy baby or a problem in the pregnancy.
• In measuring the HCG hormone, milli-international units per milliliter or mlU/ml is used.
• Once a woman reaches an HCG level of up to 2,000 mlU/ml during pregnancy, the ultrasound will show a gestational sac.
• Dating the pregnancy should not be based on HCG levels as numbers can vary.
• A single HCG reading is not enough to provide information for a diagnosis.
• Multiple testings of HCG are done when there are questions concerning the health of the pregnancy.
• There are guidelines to HCG levels during pregnancy. The rise of HCG levels in may vary, but note that the change in level is more important than the level itself.
• Antibodies may interfere with HCG test results.
• Certain medications that contain HCG can interfere with HCG levels. These types of drugs are more related to fertility issues. Other drugs such as pain killers should not affect HCG levels.
The levels of HCG could mean a lot of things. Such results will be read and interpreted for you so there is no cause for panic. Low levels can result to possible miscarriage, a blighted ovum or a case of ectopic pregnancy. High levels on the other hand could indicate multiple pregnancies or a molar pregnancy wherein an abnormal growth of a cyst occurs.
Given the possible scenarios of an HCG testing, does this mean one should go through testing regularly? Quite frankly, it is not common for doctors to check HCG unless signs of possible problems arise. There are also instances during pregnancy when a woman’s HCG level might be checked in the event that there is bleeding, severe cramping, or a history of miscarriage. Otherwise, there is no need to test HCG levels. Now when the pregnancy is over, HCG levels are checked just to make sure that they go back to the normal level.
The human chorionic gonadotropin really is not something that is normally checked. This hormone could, however, be eyed by doctors to diagnose certain conditions. Though it is quite helpful to have an understanding of what it is and its effects, there is really no need to worry too much about it. If a problem occurs due to HCG, your doctor would know and would provide you with the necessary information.
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