Human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG for short, is a hormone produced in the placenta, which promotes pregnancy through its many important functions. Alpha-HCG and Beta-HCG are differentiated, with only the latter HCG, the beta-HCG, the pregnancy hormone gives its specific character.
HCG at the beginning of a pregnancy
In the first phase of pregnancy, HCG is already involved in the implantation of the fertilized oocyte in the endometrium. It causes the release of the so-called yellow body hormones estrogen and progesterone, which cause the lining of the womb to grow, and also ensures the absence of menstruation and the possible maintenance of pregnancy. Otherwise, the body would reject the unborn child.
Pregnant? HCG values by pregnancy test
In each pregnancy test, among other things, the HCG value is determined. Although an elevated HCG may suggest pregnancy, comparing units of the HCG chart alone does not provide any assurance. If a woman is pregnant, the HCG level in the blood first rises and then in the urine, whereby the blood test is safer. So a HCG pregnancy test of the blood after a week, so before the absence of the period, security on the question "Pregnant or not?" give.
In addition, the HCG value can also provide some information about the course of pregnancy:
- If the HCG value despite pregnancy is very low or decreases, this could be an indication of a miscarriage or a pregnancy outside the uterus (for example, an ectopic pregnancy).
- On the other hand, a very high HCG score could indicate a multiple birth or a malignancy of the placenta.
- Also on a possible presence of trisomy 21, the so-called Down syndrome, in particular the free beta HCG provides information.
HCG Table: Which HCG value is normal?
Many women who wish to have a child study the standard ranges of the HCG table - whether to test whether they are pregnant or to monitor the course of a pregnancy. Since the hormone is also injected in the fertility treatment, an elevated HCG value just here can lead to a false result in the pregnancy test. In addition, the standard range of HCG value is subject to enormous deviations and therefore can only be a vague clue.
Instead of circling a specific number using a HCG table, it makes more sense to keep an eye on the curve. As a rule, the HCG value doubles every two to three days in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. After reaching a maximum between the eighth and eleventh week, it decreases again but remains detectable until the end of the pregnancy. After a miscarriage or abortion, the HCG value drops to normal only after a few weeks.
Due to the large range, the values of the HCG table also do not allow conclusions about the pregnancy week. HCG values play a role not only in a possible pregnancy, but also as a tumor marker in the field of cancer.
HCG as a tumor marker
If pregnancy is ruled out, the HCG value can also be a marker for a hormone-related tumor or give information about the course of a tumor disease. The HCG value is monitored weekly as part of a tumor treatment. Most often, certain forms of testicular cancer, uterine cancer, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer are associated with elevated levels. Less common are other malignant cancers such as colon cancer or lung cancer.
Further use in medicine finds the human chorionic gonadotropin in boys, the lowering of the scrotum is disturbed. In addition, attempts are made to avoid testicular shrinkage in athletes of strength sports, which are caused by the artificial administration of testosterone, because the pregnancy hormone also stimulates the body's own testosterone production.