(a Hebrew term). A name for the patelle, knee pan, for the molares denies, or grinders; for the maxilla; and a false conception, or a shapeless mass in the uterus, without a placenta, called epicy-ema, myle, and by Avicenna, naducem. Should part of the placenta remain in the uterus after the birth of the child, this may resemble a mole; and it is then called pseudo-mo/a, a false mole. If the symptoms of a miscarriage happen in the first, or beginning of the second month, the foetus being then very tender, and lying in the os internum two or three days, will dissolve, it is said, into a kind of jelly, which, coming away, is called a false conception; and if, during the time of child-bearing, a flooding occurs, a large coagulum of blood, with a fibrous appearance, is discharged some time after its cessation: this also is called a mole. It differs from the placenta in being only fibrous on the outside.
We cannot indeed deny, that the tender foetus may melt into a jelly, or that coagula may become fibrous, but the appearances of molae seem to be owing to a more recondite origin. It is ridiculous to talk at this time of a plastic power, or a tendency to organization; yet either imperfect rudiments of a foetus pre-exist in ovaria, or by some unknown process there is an approach to organization. We have numerous records of the remains of hair and teeth in ovaria of women of character, and in circumstances where there can be no deception. We have similar appearances in the brute creation. We find, too, that, when married women have been in a bad state of health, which has prevented conception, an organized mass is often discharged on their recovery before a living foetus is produced. We have much reason to suspect, then, that in every instancemoles are imperfectly organized productions, and that they may be both formed and discharged in some instances without any blemish on the female character, whatever theory may be adopted respecting their origin. In many instances what is styled a mole is merely a coagulum of blood.
The signs of a mole are, in general, the same as pregnancy. It is said, indeed, that in the former case the belly increases more rapidly than in pregnancy,and after the third month it generally produces floodings. Women of experience, however, always feel some variety in their symptoms and sensations, and generally suppose they are not with child.
A mole is also distinguished from pregnancy by its exciting no motions in the womb like those of a living child, and by changing its situation in the belly according to the posture of the mother. The general health is commonly worse, after the fourth month while in pregnancy it improves.
Should the existence of a mole be ascertained, assistance is necessary, the finger may be gradually introduced into the uterus, and its action excited by a slight irritation. As there is no placenta, so, if after the discharge of the mole the flooding ceases, the whole is at an end, except another may remain, a circumstance peculiarly rare, which however will soon follow. See La Motte, Smellie, and Hamilton.