A corpus luteum is known to be a mass of cells that forms in an ovary that is responsible for the production of the hormone progesterone during early pregnancy. Sometimes, it can fill with fluid which leads to a corpus luteum cyst, a type of functional ovarian cyst.
Most ovarian cysts develop as a result of the menstrual cycle (functional cycle). If a normal monthly follicle keeps growing, it is called a functional cyst. There are two types of functional cysts –
- Follicular cyst
- Corpus luteum cyst
Other types of cysts that are not related to the normal function of the menstrual cycle are –
- Dermoid cysts
Mostly corpus luteum cysts don’t cause symptoms and go away. Sometimes, symptoms can be seen which include –
- Pelvic pain can be dull or sharp in nature
- Abdominal fullness or heaviness
- Aching in the lower back and thighs
- Painful intercourse
- Weight gain
- Painful menstrual bleeding
- Breast tenderness
- Need to urinate more frequently
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Difficulty emptying bowels completely
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Some of the risk factors for corpus luteum cyst are –
- Hormonal problems
- Severe pelvic infection
- Previous ovarian cyst
Infrequent complications for corpus luteum cyst are –
- Internal bleeding
- Ovarian torsion
- Ovarian cancer
Corpus luteum cysts can be diagnosed by –
- Pregnancy test which may signal the presence of a corpus luteum cyst with a positive result.
- Pelvic ultrasound analyzes the image to confirm the presence of a cyst, helps identify its location and determine whether it’s solid, filled with fluid, or mixed.
- Surgical procedures like laparoscopy where a doctor inserts an instrument into a woman’s uterus through a small cut in the abdomen. The doctor can see the ovaries and remove the cysts.
- Ca125 blood test in which blood levels of a protein called cancer antigen 125 (ca125) often are elevated in women with ovarian cancer.
- Hormone testing
Treatment depends on the age, the type and size of the cyst, and the symptoms which include –
At times, the corpus luteum cyst will typically resolve on its own after a few menstrual cycles. In many cases wait and re-examine to see if the cyst goes away within a few months. This is typically an option regardless of the age if having no symptoms and an ultrasound shows a simple, small, fluid-filled cyst. The doctor will likely recommend getting follow-up pelvic ultrasounds at intervals to see if the cyst changes in size.
Like hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills to keep the corpus luteum cyst from recurring.
Remove a large or persistent cyst that is growing and causing pain.
Prevention during pregnancy
Although there is no prevention for corpus luteum cysts but regular pelvic examination help ensure that changes in the ovaries are diagnosed as early as possible. Be alert to changes during pregnancy and menstrual cycle, if there are some unusual symptoms then talk to the doctor.
Corpus luteum is a vital part of fertility that enables pregnancy to occur. Cysts are formed if the corpus luteum fills up with fluid. If there are symptoms seen, then contact the doctor. Corpus luteum cysts cause painful symptoms but in most cases, it resolves without treatment.
- corpus luteum: function, formation, and cysts (medicalnewstoday.com)
- ovarian cysts – diagnosis and treatment – mayo clinic