A Woman With A 50-Pound Ovarian Cyst Was Initially Told To Just Lose Weight

The surgeon who removed it said it was the largest ovarian cyst he'd ever seen.

That large object this doctor is holding is a 50-pound ovarian cyst, which was removed from an Alabama woman's abdomen. And the story is a great case for being your own advocate at the doctor's office.

It started months ago when Kayla Rahn, 30, from Montgomery, started experiencing abdominal pain and shortness of breath, and began gaining a serious amount of weight despite trying to lose it. It got to the point where a stranger asked if she was pregnant with twins.

"I couldn't even walk to my car without losing my breath," Rahn told NBC12. She went to a doctor, who told her to just lose weight.

Finally, with the pain getting to be too much, Rahn's mother took her to the Jackson Hospital emergency room in Montgomery, where tests revealed the source of her discomfort was a giant ovarian cyst. The technical name is mucinous cystadenoma — a benign cystic tumor. While not terribly uncommon, one of this size is certainly much rarer.

"Absolutely I've seen the condition but I've never seen one this large," Dr. Gregory Jones told BuzzFeed News. "It was the largest that I've ever seen or operated on," said Jones, an OB-GYN at Jackson Hospital and one of the doctors who operated on Rahn.

Although benign, a cyst of this size can cause serious complications. "Anytime a person develops a large mass they can develop something called abdominal compartment syndrome," Jones said.

That means the pressure from the cyst is so intense that it affects blood flow to the lower extremities, causing swelling. It can also obstruct urine flow, cause bowel obstruction, and create difficulty breathing due to pressure on the diaphragm. Ultimately it can cause kidney failure. By the time Rahn was operated on, she was experiencing "terrible" swelling, said Jones.

There's nothing in particular that causes these cysts and most resolve on their own, said Jones. But they occasionally keep filling with fluid and grow, like a balloon, sometimes to the size of an orange. Rahn's just had time to get much worse.

Post-op, Rahn is expected to return to normal. A literal weight has been lifted and she can now fit into clothes she couldn't before the surgery.

"As soon as I got home and was able to move a little, I tried on every shirt I had on and it was awesome,” Rahn said in a statement.

Jones said this is a good example of why you shouldn't be afraid to ask for a second opinion at the doctor, or to raise your voice when things just don't feel right.

"You have to be your own advocate for your medical care, if something's wrong, keep bringing it up with your physician," he said.


An earlier version of this post misattributed a quote that belonged to Dr. Gregory Jones to his patient, Kayla Rahn.

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