Although an estimated 160 million people in the United States are considered overweight, in a few rare cases, it may not be due to overeating.
And for one woman in Montgomery, Alabama, it turns out that her weight gain happened from something much more surprising and serious.
Kayla Rahn, 30, said she had been suffering from unexplained stomach issues, pain and weight gain for several months but was clueless over the cause.
"I couldn't even walk to my car without losing my breath," Rahn told WSFA 12, adding that medical professionals had simply recommended she go on a diet.
"I had been trying to lose weight for about a year, but I was gaining weight," Rahn explained. "I legit looked like I was a solid nine months pregnant. We went to dinner and someone asked me if I was having twins. It was frustrating and rough."
However, the pain became too much for Rahn and her mother took her to Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, where it was revealed she had a 50 lb cyst on her ovaries.
"I do remember telling my mom and busting out crying they were going to fix it. I knew something was wrong," she said.
Shocked over the diagnosis, Rahn went into surgery the following day to have the huge mass removed.
Doctors said since the average weight of a newborn in the United States is roughly 7.5 lbs, her cyst was equivalent of being pregnant with sextuplets.
"The technical diagnosis: mucinous cystadenoma. It is a benign condition. This is one of the largest I have ever seen or certainly removed," one of Rahn's surgeons Dr. Gregory Jones said. "We are very excited things went well for her.
Rahn said she hopes her story encourages other people to listen to their bodies even if medical professionals originally dismiss their claims.
She added that along with being healthy, she is now able to go back to work and wear clothes that haven't fit her for a year.
"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. "This dress I have on, I actually have not been able to wear in a year."
What is an ovarian cyst?
Ovarian cysts are described as fluid-filled sacs in the ovary. They're fairly common and don't typically show any symptoms.
Although most cysts occur naturally during a woman's ovulation period, it usually disappears on its own, without medical intervention.
However, if you're one of the few individuals who does experience the signs of an ovarian cyst, these are the symptoms you should look out for:
- Pelvic pain (which can range from mild to severe)
- Pain during intercourse
- Difficulty conceiving
- A frequent need to urinate but difficulty emptying your bowls
- Irregular periods that are either heavy or mild
- A bloated or swollen stomach
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