Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Long-Term Psychological Morbidity, Sexual Functioning, and Relationship Outcomes in Women With Gestational Trophoblastic Disease
  1. Lesley Stafford, BA (Hons), MA (Psych), MPsych (Clin), PhD*,,,
  2. Orla M. McNally, MB, BAO, BCh, FRCSI, MRCOG, FRANZCOG§,
  3. Penelope Gibson, BA* and
  4. Fiona Judd, MBBS, DPM, FRANZCP, MD*,
  1. *Centre for Women's Mental Health, Royal Women's Hospital, Parkville; Departments of
  2. Psychology,
  3. Psychiatry, University of Melbourne;
  4. §Oncology/Dysplasia/Hydatidiform Mole Registry, Royal Women's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Lesley Stafford, BA (Hons), MA (Psych), MPsych (Clin), PhD, Centre for Women's Mental Health, Royal Women's Hospital, Locked Bag 300, Parkville, 3052 Victoria, Australia. E-mail: lesley.stafford{at}; lesley{at}


Objective: Clinical observation suggests a protracted psychosocial recovery after gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), although this has not been well studied. We describe long-term psychological morbidity, sexual functioning, and relationship outcomes after GTD.

Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional analysis was made of 176 Australian women previously diagnosed with GTD recruited from a statewide registry. Participants comprised 149 women (85%) who did not require chemotherapy and 27 women (15%) who required chemotherapy for malignant or persistent GTD/molar disease (gestational trophoblastic tumor [GTT]). Data were collected from medical records and via validated self-report questionnaires.

Results: The participants were 94 women (53%) with partial mole, 75 women (43%) with complete mole, 4 women (2%) with choriocarcinoma, and 3 women (2%) with hydatidiform mole not otherwise specified. The mean (SD) age at diagnosis and time since diagnosis were 32.1 (6.3) and 4.7 (3.3) years, respectively. Elevated levels of depression and anxiety were reported by 22% and 26% of the women, respectively. One fifth to half of the women experienced some GTD-related avoidant and intrusive phenomena, the latter being more prominent among women who had not had chemotherapy. Sexual dysfunction was reported by 52% of the women. Most women (81%) felt well supported by their partners during the illness, 19% thought the relationship had changed, and 26% perceived that GTD had negatively affected sex life. This perception was stronger in those who received chemotherapy, although objective measures of sexual morbidity showed no group differences. Socially disadvantaged women and those who did not conceive subsequent to the diagnosis had poorer psychosocial outcomes.

Conclusions: Notwithstanding limitations, this study is the largest of its type to date. Psychological morbidity rates exceeded community norms, but sexual dysfunction rates, although high, are likely consistent with local norms. These findings highlight the long-term burden of GTD and the importance of a supportive care component in management, even among those who do not require chemotherapy. Socially disadvantaged women and those who do not conceive subsequent to GTD diagnosis require greater psychosocial support.

  • Gestational trophoblastic disease
  • Sexuality
  • Psychological morbidity
  • Quality of life

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.