A woman has warned others of the importance of acting on gynaecological symptoms after she was diagnosed as having a huge teratoma or ‘evil twin’ tumour in her body. The tumours are rare growths which can feature bone, hair and teeth; resembling a small, deformed human inside a person’s body.
The tumours take the name ‘teratoma’ from the Greek for ‘monstrous tumour’ and can cause considerable pain and distress. They begin in embryos when tissue of the developing body breaks away in error and folds up. They can lie undetected for years after birth and into adulthood.
The 24-year-old woman, who has not been named, has taken to online forum Reddit to share her experience and warn other women of the importance of getting medical help when experiencing abdominal pain. She explained: “Last weekend I was experiencing very severe abdominal pain (which I had blamed on menstrual cramps for several months) that drove me to Emergency Room. My doctors guessed it was my appendix, kidney stones, or possibly further digestive problems but one look at a CT scan showed a “9-10cm mass” in the middle of my abdomen, immediately behind my uterus.
“After taking in a heroic amount of dilaudid intravenously over three hours, I went into surgery and my teratoma, right ovary, and right fallopian tube were diced up and able to be extracted (very luckily)laparoscopically. Only one of my laparoscopy incisions had to be extended 3-4 “in order to remove all of the offending contents.”
She added that: “Recovery was very easy, and pain and discomfort remains minimal. I feel a [lot] lighter.”
She urged other women to see her experience as a cautionary tale of acting on abdominal pain. She warned that many women can be reluctant to speak up about pain related to gynaecological issues due to embarrassment or concerns doctors will not take them seriously and simply dismiss it as period pain. She said: “Hopefully this is a nice reminder to any of those with a uterus to GET CHECKED OUT and BE PERSISTENT if you have new or odd symptoms.
"This was missed on me even after reporting the new symptoms to my doctor(the cramping/pain) and still receiving annual exams. I now have learned the “3 cycle rule” while in the hospital: if a new symptom lasts 3 or more cycles, GO TO YOUR GYNECOLOGIST.”
In 2003, doctors in Japan found a fully formed teratoma on a woman’s ovary, with a small, doll-like body covered in fine hair, along with a phallus, several teeth and a single eye central on the forehead.
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