You know when you’re so bloated from your period (or just bagels) that you feel three months pregnant? One woman in the U.K. had an extreme case of just that…and the feeling didn’t stop for three years, according to The Sun.
Margaret Mcmahon, a 48-year-old mom of two, originally went to doctors with a distended abdomen and pain that she said felt similar to pregnancy, but docs chalked it up to bloating from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and a small uterine fibroid about the size of a plum, The Sun reports. “Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths that develop from the muscle tissue of the uterus,” says Pari Ghodsi, M.D., ob-gyn.
After years of increasing pain, Mcmahon was told her fibroid hadn’t grown at all and that she should simply lose weight. Fed up, she paid for her own CAT scan, which showed a huge mass in her uterus. After a few more tests (and some seriously humbled docs), it turned out the mass was the fibroid—now the size of a melon. To treat it, Mcmahon had to have a hysterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove her uterus.
Here’s what the fibroid looked like when it was removed:
Fibroids are common in women in their thirties and forties, however growths of this size are pretty rare, says Ghodsi. “The size, shape, and location of fibroids can vary greatly. They can remain very small for a long time and suddenly grow rapidly, or grow slowly over a number of years,” she says.
Though they vary in severity, fibroids can cause cramps, pain during sex, bleeding and pressure on your bladder that cause issues with urination. Sometimes they don’t cause any symptoms at all.
Either way, a gyno can pretty easily diagnose them as part of a routine pelvic exam or with an ultrasound, says Ghodsi. All the more reason to keep up with regular exams.