Woman had ovarian cyst the size of a football

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Hollie Welham originally thought she was pregnant – but all tests came back negative

A woman appeared to be nine months pregnant with an ovarian cyst that had grown to the size of a soccer ball in her abdomen.

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Hollie Welham, 21, initially thought she was pregnant after becoming nauseous in January 2022 and noticing her stomach was “growing”.

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But when all the tests came back negative, Hollie was referred for an ultrasound as her symptoms continued to worsen – including severe cramping, bleeding and back pain.

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Hollie Welham, 21, thought she was pregnant but it was an ovarian cyst that reached the size of a football.

“My stomach got bigger every day”

Doctors determined she wasn’t carrying a baby, but a large cyst was growing on her right ovary and while she awaited surgery to have it removed, Hollie watched her stomach “grow and grow” every day.

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By the time she had keyhole surgery in May 2022, the cyst had grown to 27cm – larger than a football – and Hollie’s stomach was bloated and bloated from fluid buildup.

A surgeon at Musgrove Hospital, Taunton, successfully removed the cyst, along with her right ovary and fallopian tube, and Hollie has shrunk back to her normal size eight.

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Hollie, a health worker from Bridgwater, Somerset, said: “At first I thought I was pregnant.

“All the symptoms pointed to it because every day my belly was getting bigger – like a bulge.

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“I can’t believe how big my belly has gotten – I looked like I was nine months old.

“I couldn’t fit into any jeans and even leggings felt too tight and hurt on my stomach.

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“I felt so uncomfortable but I’m so glad they discovered the cyst and managed to remove it.”

Hollie Welham.

“It was pretty scary”

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In January 2022, Hollie began experiencing symptoms including fatigue, nausea, and stomach cramps.

She also struggled to fit into some of her dresses and felt extremely bloated.

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Hollie said: “I thought it came from an overstatement at Christmas.

“But as the bloating and pain got worse I thought I might be pregnant.

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“I took a couple of pregnancy tests, but they were all negative.

“It was pretty scary and I had no idea what it could be or if I would just be like this now.”

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In February 2022, Hollie also experienced irregular bleeding throughout the month.

She booked an appointment with the GP to see what was causing the problems.

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Hollie claims the doctor felt a “lump” in her stomach and referred her for an ultrasound.

She said: “They offered a five-week scan but I couldn’t wait that long.

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“My stomach was getting bigger every day and I was in so much pain.”

A week later, in March 2022, Hollie managed to undergo a scan that revealed a large cyst was growing on her right ovary.

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“I looked like I was about to give birth”

At this point, Hollie said her stomach felt “tight” and she remained bloated from a buildup of fluid.

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“On the first scan, it was about 18 cm tall,” she said.

“I’ve read that anything over 10cm for a cyst on your ovary is large and fairly rare.

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“But they said it wasn’t benign and it wasn’t cancerous or anything to worry about.

“I can’t believe how big I’ve grown – I looked like I was going to give birth, I had such a big ‘bump’.

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“I was in so much pain from carrying a lot of extra weight.”

Hollie was booked for surgery at Musgrove Hospital in Taunton in May 2022, where doctors performed keyhole surgery to remove the cyst.

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When the cyst was removed, it was over 27 cm – about the size of a football.

Doctors were able to remove the entire cyst, as well as Hollie’s right ovary and fallopian tube.

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She said: “They also had to remove my ovary because the cysts had grown in it.

“It shouldn’t affect my fertility – you can still have children with one ovary, it just might take longer.

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“I had great support from my family and my boyfriend Isaac, 20.

“My tummy is still a bit sore and bloated, but it has drastically reduced in size.

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“I want to share my story to help others be aware of the signs and symptoms.

“It was pretty scary at the time, but I’m recovering well now.”

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