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What causes higher HCG levels post menopause ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
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What can account for slightly higher than normal HCG in post-menopausal woman who has never been pregnant. My HCG has been just a few points above the "normal" range for someone post-menopause. This first showed up two years ago and an U/S test was normal. Is there ANY other cause besides Ovarian Cancer for above-normal HCG in post-menopausal woman? Any other malady? I have no abdominal pain but I do feel a pinching type pain during intercourse but never used to. I am age 60 now. Is it possible to have undiagnosed ovarian cancer and live relatively symptom free for two years? Isn't it fast growing? What else could be responsible? Please don't just tell me to see my GYN for evaluation. I already know I need to do that. Thanks!
Posted Mon, 30 Apr 2012 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Deepak Anvekar 41 minutes later

Thanks for the query,

Human chorionic gonadotropin is a glycoprotein hormone produced during pregnancy by the placenta. HCG is also produced in the pituitary gland of males and females of all ages.

The reference range of HCG in non pregnant women is < 5.0 mIU /mL.
The levels in post menopausal women is slightly higher : < 9.0 m IU/ mL.

From the history and details provided, you need not worry about cancer. It is commonly seen among some normal, non-pregnant, post-menopausal women to have β-hCG levels that are slightly above normal laboratory limits, and these levels do not show an increasing pattern over time (As in your case).

With regard to the possibility to live with ovarian cancer for more than 2 years is not likely. Ovarian tumors are definitely fast growers and hence usually present within a few months of development.

The Possible causes for an elevated Serum HCG Levels in a post menopausal women can include the following:- (But the titres in these cases would be very higher than that seen in otherwise normal postmenopausal women).

1. Elevated Pituitary hCG (Very high levels - Associated with pituitary tumors).
2. Ovarian cancer ( Very high levels).
3. False postive testing (by confusing hCG with LH and FSH)
4. End-stage renal failure ( is associated with up to 10-fold elevations in serum hCG levels.)
5. hepatic disease
6. NON OVARIAN Cancer OR tumors (e.g., lung, liver, breast, bladder, and gastrointestinal tract)

I hope this helps to answer your questions.

Please feel free to consult me again if you have additional queries


Dr Anvekar.
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