Corpus luteum cyst vs. ectopic pregnancy?

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Flower of Life's picture
Joined: 10/28/11
Posts: 43
Corpus luteum cyst vs. ectopic pregnancy?

Hi all.

The last few days have been less than fun. I'm 4 weeks pregnant, and have been in and out of the hospital with a sharp abdominal pain on my right side. My hcg levels are not high enough yet to be able to see a gestational sac on the ultrasound, so it's a nerve-wracking waiting game. The plan is just to keep doing hcg and ultrasounds every couple of days until we can see the sac and diagnose or rule out an ectopic.

The odd part is, all my lab work and ultrasounds are on target. My hcg is doubling, my endometrium lining is thick, I haven't had any bleeding or spotting . . . I just have this darn pain. It's not take-your-breath-away severe, but it does hurt more and is sharper than round ligament pain (and it's definitely coming from one specific location on the right).

The doctors did note a corpus luteum cyst in my right ovary (the same side the pain is on). From what I've read, this can cause that sort of pain as well. Has anyone had experience with a cyst causing pain during pregnancy? I'm trying to stay calm, but with all the potential concerns the doctors are expressing regarding ectopics it's proving difficult.

Red Sonja's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 63

I had pain like that during my first pregnancy, it was bad enough for my family practitioner to send me to the ER for an ultrasound to rule out an ectopic. Like with you, they couldn't see a sac yet on the ultrasound but did note a large corpus luteum cyst on my right side and said that was what was likely causing the pain. I had similar pain from 4 weeks until a few days ago this time (right side again, and I know I ovulated on that side) but it's not happening as often now.

Flower of Life's picture
Joined: 10/28/11
Posts: 43

Sonja, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I'm going to be optimistic darn it, and your post really helped with that! Smile
I'm glad the pain is easing up for you this time around.

Looking forward to sharing our pregnancy journey together!

CaityA83's picture
Joined: 05/08/09
Posts: 855

I had a similar issue also. I was very much able to feel my corpus luteum cysts. I had three though bc we did fertility treatments. That was my first pregnancy symptom - the pain from the cysts. I hope everything turns out great for you!!

ferz100's picture
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 32

I had pain from a corpus luteum cyst in my last pregnancy and went through this same thing! I know sometimes progesterone levels can be used to help differentiate......with ectopic progesterone tends to be on the lower end...if your hcg is doubling that is certainly a good sign!

Joined: 02/27/12
Posts: 3

I had a corpus liteum cyst during an ectopic pregnancy. I had no pain and I was 7 weeks when the operation to remove the ectopic pregnancy was done. They confirmed the initial mass that was seen on the scan adjacent to the ovary was the corpus liteum cyst and the ectopic was in the middle of the tube. I had no bleeding during the pregnancy, but my levels did not double although they were quite high(2800 went to 3900 in 48 hrs)
The only reason it was caught on time was because this was my second ectopic and I was quite aware of the symptoms to push for an early scan. With the first ectopic I had bleeding and my leg from the side of the ectopic was going numb. The doctors told me all kind or rubbish at the time like I was miscarrying, then they saw something in my uterus during the second scan and told me I was ok. It took them 3 weeks to diagnose me that time when finally they saw the ectopic in the tube.
The major symptoms between my two ectopics were different. I had bleeding during the first pregnancy, leg going numb and doubling hcg levels which confused the doctors and delayed the diagnosis. Luckily it didn't rupture. The second time I had no bleeding, no cramping or pain which initially gave me a bit of hope but I had those other signs which I will describe below and when they tested my hcg they weren't doubling, although they were quite high for an ectopic pregnancy.

Common signs between the two is that I literally felt like crap both times. I had no proper appetite for a pregnant woman. I had slight fever and I was sweating, especially at night. I had very light nausea all the time killing my appetite most of the time as opposed to morning/evening sickness. I did have the normal craving thing for a pregnancy and sore boobs with both though. I was also very strangly dizzy and very tired.
It is a horrible thing to go through especially considering that in my case I am left with no tubes and can never get pregnant normally, but if you ever have any doubts for an ectopic pregnancy, don't be in denial and face the facts as it will get way worse if not caught on time.

I don't know how much research has been done on ectopic pregnancies, but every doctor I talked to tends to think that the pain and bleeding are the most important signs of an ectopic pregnancy and they ignore you if you don't have them. Mind you that noticeable pain with ectopic is felt when the tube is rupturing and you don't want that happening to you as it is life threatening.

No one should go through the worrying whether they have ectopic pregnancy or not. If you have HCG levels above a 1000-1500 ask for an internal scan instead as normally at this level the pregnancy should be seen in most cases whereever it is.