Illustration showing the link between ovarian cysts and positive pregnancy tests.
Ovarian Cyst

Can Ovarian Cysts Cause Positive Pregnancy Tests?

In recent times, the internet has become a hub for all sorts of medical inquiries and concerns. One question that has been increasingly asked in online forums and search engines is whether ovarian cysts can cause positive pregnancy tests. We understand the importance of addressing this topic comprehensively to provide you with the most accurate information available. In this article, we will delve into the relationship between ovarian cysts and pregnancy tests, exploring the possible scenarios, symptoms, and how to differentiate between the two. So, let’s embark on this informative journey to clarify any doubts you may have.

Understanding Ovarian Cysts

Before we explore the connection between ovarian cysts and positive pregnancy tests, it’s crucial to grasp what ovarian cysts are. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop in a woman’s ovaries. These cysts are a common occurrence and can vary in size, from small, unnoticeable ones to larger cysts that may cause discomfort or pain.

Types of Ovarian Cysts

  1. Functional Cysts: These ovarian cysts are the most prevalent kind. They form as a normal part of the menstrual cycle and are usually harmless. Functional cysts can be further divided into two subtypes:
    • Follicular Cysts: These occur when a follicle, a small sac that holds an immature egg, fails to rupture and release the egg during ovulation. Instead, it keeps expanding and develops into a cyst. Typically, these cysts resolve on their own within a few menstrual cycles.
    • Corpus Luteum Cysts: When the follicle releases the egg but fails to properly contract thereafter, these cysts form. Instead, it seals off and forms a cyst. While most corpus luteum cysts resolve naturally, some can cause pain or bleeding.
  2. Dermoid Cysts (Mature Cystic Teratomas): Dermoid cysts are unique because they can contain various types of tissues, including hair, skin, and even teeth. They form from cells that produce human eggs and are usually benign, but they may grow quite large and, in some cases, require surgical removal.
  3. Endometriomas (Endometrioid Cysts): Endometriomas develop as a result of endometriosis, a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus. These cysts may hurt and have an impact on fertility. Surgical treatment is often necessary.
  4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can lead to the development of multiple small cysts on the ovaries. These cysts are typically tiny and do not cause the same issues as the larger cysts mentioned above. PCOS is often associated with irregular periods, hormonal imbalances, and fertility problems.

Ovarian Cysts and Pregnancy

Now that we have a clear understanding of ovarian cysts, let’s address the pressing question: Can ovarian cysts cause positive pregnancy tests?

False Positives

In most cases, ovarian cysts do not directly cause positive pregnancy tests. Pregnancy tests work by detecting the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in a woman’s urine or blood. During pregnancy, the placenta produces this hormone. However, certain types of ovarian cysts, specifically corpus luteum cysts, can lead to false positives.

Corpus luteum cysts develop from the empty follicle left behind after an egg is released during ovulation. These cysts produce small amounts of hCG, which can be detected by pregnancy tests. It’s important to note that this is a rare occurrence, and not all corpus luteum cysts will produce enough hCG to trigger a positive result on a pregnancy test.

Differentiating Between Ovarian Cysts and Pregnancy

Given the potential for false positives, it’s essential to differentiate between ovarian cysts and pregnancy when experiencing symptoms. Here are some important things to think about:

  1. Menstrual Cycle: Pregnancy typically leads to missed periods, while ovarian cysts may cause irregular periods or pelvic pain.
  2. Symptoms: Pregnancy often comes with symptoms like morning sickness and breast tenderness, while ovarian cysts can cause lower abdominal pain and discomfort.
  3. Medical Evaluation: If you suspect you have ovarian cysts or are experiencing pregnancy symptoms, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis through ultrasound, blood tests, or physical examination.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Here’s a concise explanation of the “Diagnosis and Treatment” are as follows:

Diagnosing Ovarian Cysts

If you experience symptoms like pelvic pain, irregular periods, or abdominal discomfort, it’s essential to seek medical advice. A doctor can perform various tests, including ultrasounds and blood tests, to diagnose ovarian cysts accurately.

Treatment Options

  1. Watchful Waiting: In many cases, especially with functional cysts, the doctor may recommend monitoring the cyst’s growth over time.
  2. Medications: Hormonal birth control pills may be prescribed to regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent new cysts from forming.
  3. Surgery: If the cyst is large, painful, or suspected to be cancerous, surgical removal may be necessary.


In summary, ovarian cysts, particularly corpus luteum cysts, can occasionally lead to false positive pregnancy tests due to the production of hCG. However, this is a rare occurrence, and most ovarian cysts do not directly cause positive pregnancy tests. If you suspect you may have ovarian cysts or are experiencing pregnancy symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical evaluation for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Janvi Dhiman holds a Master's degree in Biotechnology and has a background in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies from Amity University, Noida. Her passion lies in making meaningful contributions to the healthcare and research sectors. Currently, she is a valued member of our team, serving as a Research Analyst and a medical content writer at DiseaseInfoHub.

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