Corpus luteum cyst is a small sac (filled with fluid) that can develop on the ovary in the first trimester of pregnancy. These cysts are a type of functional cyst and vary in size, usually between 2 and 6 centimeters. Though they are not generally a cause for concern, they can lead to complications in pregnancy.
Who can get a corpus luteum cysts?
Any female can get corpus luteum cysts. Though they are more likely to develop in females taking drugs to induce ovulation, such as Clomid. These medications are usually prescribed by a gynecologist for females experiencing fertility problems, or for females with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
It is important to keep in mind that as the corpus luteum is a normal part of a female’s menstrual cycle, the type of functional ovarian cyst linked to them can also develop when a female is not pregnant. A female may also develop corpus luteum cysts even if she is not taking, or has never taken, medication to treat infertility.
Symptoms of corpus luteum cysts
Some females may notice one-sided pain during their menstrual cycle. Such pain may be worrisome, especially if the female is sexually active and is concerned about the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
But in some cases, a female who has a corpus luteum cysts does not experience any pain. She may not even realize that she has developed corpus luteum cysts. As these cysts generally resolve on their own after a few period cycles, and most females may not even realize they had corpus luteum cysts.
Is a Corpus Luteum Cyst Dangerous in Pregnancy?
A corpus luteum cyst is generally harmless and usually goes away on its own. The corpus luteum works to support the pregnancy in the early weeks. But, if the cyst is still present on the corpus luteum around the end of the first trimester or early second trimester, it usually resolves itself.
If it does not, the doctor will keep an eye on it and ask the female questions at her regularly scheduled appointments about whether she is experiencing any pain or discomfort. The doctor may suggest a timely ultrasound to monitor the size of the corpus luteum cyst and make sure it is not causing any issues for the pregnancy.
However, though unlikely, it is possible for the corpus luteum cyst to rupture or twist on the ovary’s blood supply, which can cause pain and, in rare cases, pose a risk for the ovaries.
When to worry about corpus luteum cysts?
If the pain suddenly becomes intense, a pregnant female should consult her doctor. According to Dr. Garmia Sawhney, the following symptoms a pregnant female may experience if, in the unlikely event, she has had a corpus luteum cyst rupture or twisted corpus luteum cysts–
- One-sided, sharp lower abdominal or pelvic pain
- Moderate to severe pain which comes on quickly
- Shoulder pain
If a female experiences any of the symptoms above, it is important that she seeks medical attention.
Diagnosis of corpus luteum cysts in pregnancy
Corpus luteum cysts are generally diagnosed with an ultrasound. These cysts are easier to see when a transvaginal ultrasound ( an internal ultrasound).
Treatment and complications of corpus luteum cysts in pregnancy
A corpus luteum cysts are usually not a cause for concern. In most cases, these cysts do not cause any complications in pregnancy, especially when they are diagnosed in the first trimester. If the cyst is potentially malignant, meaning that it could grow in size or worsen, a laparoscopic surgery may be required to avoid the risk of miscarriage The most common symptom of such a case is a slight twinge of pain or tenderness.
If the cyst is causing pain, the doctor may prescribe pain medications and suggest the female take a lot of rest. In most cases, corpus luteal cyst resolves on its own.
Occasionally, the cyst can also rupture. The female may experience increased pain if it happens. The pain usually subsides quickly, and pain medication and rest may be suggested by the doctor.
Less frequently, a corpus luteum cyst can lead to torsion (causing the ovary to twist). This can be very painful and may require laparoscopic surgery to prevent any further injury of the ovaries.
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