What Does Corpus Luteum Cyst Mean?
A corpus luteum cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops inside of an ovary after ovulation (the release of an egg). If the opening of the follicle where the egg was released during ovulation seals off, fluid can accumulate and create a corpus luteum cyst.
Most corpus luteum cysts do not have any symptoms and many women do not even know they exist unless they grow large, causing pain. Corpus luteum cysts are an indication that the functions required for fertility are taking place and they do not contribute to infertility.
FertilitySmarts Explains Corpus Luteum Cyst
For women of childbearing age, the ovaries release an egg every month to facilitate possible conception. Eggs develop inside follicles, which are fluid-filled sac-like growths within the ovary. After a follicle ruptures, the released egg travels from the ovary into the fallopian tube in search of sperm. The follicle is now called the corpus luteum and it releases conception-aiding hormones, estrogen, and progesterone.
Once the corpus luteum finishes secreting these hormones, it disappears back into the ovarian surface. However, sometimes, the opening of the corpus luteum may seal back, trapping the fluid inside that leads to the formation of a functional cyst called corpus luteum cyst. These cysts are considered “functional” because they occur as a result of the body’s biological processes.
How are they diagnosed?
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 another 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.
What are the treatment options?
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.