Corpus Luteum Cyst

Definition - What does Corpus Luteum Cyst mean?

A corpus luteum cyst is a growth that develops inside of an ovary. Ovarian cysts are common, a condition many women will experience at some point. Most corpus luteum cysts are asymptomatic and many women do not even know they exist. However, in postmenopausal women, this type of cyst may be cancerous. Corpus luteum cysts are an indication that the functions required for fertility are taking place and they do not contribute to infertility.

A corpus luteum cyst may also be called a corpus luteum ovarian cyst.

FertilitySmarts explains Corpus Luteum Cyst

For women of childbearing age, each month results in the production of an egg to facilitate possible conception. Eggs are developed inside follicles, sac-like growths inside the ovary. However, when the follicle remains active even after the egg has been released, it can result in the growth of a functional cyst. These cysts are considered “functional” because they develop as a result of the body’s biological processes.

There are two types of functional ovarian cysts: corpus luteum cysts and follicular cysts. After a follicle has ruptured and the egg has been released, the egg travels from the ovary into the fallopian tube in search of sperm. The follicle releases large amounts of the conception-aiding hormones, estrogen, and progesterone. Afterward, the follicle's role is complete and it disappears back into the ovarian surface. However, a corpus luteum cyst occurs when the ruptured follicle seals improperly, trapping fluid inside. The swelling and fluid build-up to cause the follicle to expand.

A corpus luteum cyst can be diagnosed through imaging tests, including an ultrasound or a pelvic MRI. They may also be discovered inadvertently during a routine pelvic exam or other unrelated testing. Most corpus luteum cysts will resolve within a period of 2-3 menstrual cycles. For women with exceptionally large cysts or postmenopausal women, additional testing and possible surgery may be required.

Treatment for corpus luteum cysts depends on a woman’s symptoms and health history. Many cysts will heal independently and require no medical intervention. However, cysts that become large may bleed (hemorrhage) or rupture. In these cases, the cysts may cause pain or discomfort and could require treatment. Additionally, physicians may advise preventative treatment if cysts reappear. This may include birth control pills to regulate the hormone release that typically fuels cyst growth.

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