Mum had giant 20-pound ovarian cyst removed before it ‘suffocated her from the inside out’
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News
A mum had a giant 20lb ovarian cyst removed before it crushed her lungs and she was ‘suffocated from the inside out’.
Kenya Smith, a real estate professional from Orem, Utah, said she started noticing something was wrong in May last year when she had trouble using the toilet, could no longer sleep on her stomach and felt discomfort after eating.
"I had no idea what the symptoms were,” Kenya said. “I was wondering what was going on because I'd never had anything like this before.
"I thought maybe it was a gastro problem, my abs didn't come back together after having a baby or that maybe I'd developed a food allergy.
She had her third child in March 2022 and her stomach never really went back down after she gave birth. Her stomach started to grow once she stopped breastfeeding around six months later.
The 27-year-old visited various specialists but they were left scratching their heads as her stomach continued to grow which made her look pregnant.
"I went to five different specialists - an obstetrics doctor, pelvic floor specialist, an allergist, a naturalist, a gastroenterologist, before I finally scheduled my own ultrasound and CT scan."
To avoid making the people who asked about her non-existent baby feel bad, Kenya would go along with it.
She said: "It was like having a pregnant belly but it was soft and squishy, so it didn't feel like one. I was bigger than when I was nine months pregnant.
"People constantly mistook me for being pregnant. I probably got asked over 50 times when I was due or if I was having a boy or a girl.
"I felt bad because I finally stopped telling people that I wasn't pregnant because it would make them feel so terrible because I did look pregnant, I would have thought that I was too."
Several months passed without answers regarding her condition so she booked her own ultrasound and CT scan, which revealed the mum-of-three had an ovarian cyst – a fluid-filled sac – on her right ovary.
At its largest, the ovarian cyst crushed on her ribs which left her in excruciating pain and exhausted. She survived on smoothies for three weeks as the cyst took over the space in her abdomen.
Kenya had surgery in November to drain 10 litres of liquid from the cyst before it was removed along with her right ovary and fallopian tube.
"It was life-saving surgery,” Kenya said. “If it wasn't treated it would have kept on growing and crushed my lungs, so I would have suffocated from the inside out.
"For me it was an emergency to get it out because I literally was starving because I couldn't eat anything because there was no more room in my abdomen for my stomach to grow.
"My stomach was growing at a really fast and alarming rate the last few weeks before my surgery. It was really scary."
Since the surgery, Kenya says she feels ‘like a new person’. She shared: "I feel like a lot of times women push through things because we really are so strong.
"I think sometimes we push through pain and symptoms but I also want to really encourage women to advocate for themselves and push for their health and the things they need."
According to the NHS, symptoms of an ovarian cyst may include pelvic pain, pain during sex, difficulty emptying your bowels, a frequent need to urinate, heavy periods, irregular periods or lighter periods than normal, bloating and a swollen tummy, feeling very full after only eating a little or difficulty getting pregnant – although fertility is usually unaffected by ovarian cysts.