This 23-Year-Old Discovered She Had an Ovarian Cyst Filled With 2 Liters of Fluid

Kayley Reese, 23, shared details of her diagnosis and surgery on TikTok and with Health.

Ovarian cysts are common and most are harmless. But in some cases, they may cause problems or indicate other conditions. When they grow large, they can cause pain, and interfere with your lifestyle. For example, consider Kayley Reese, aka @thesavvykay, a 23-year-old who has gone viral on TikTok for warning women about the subtle signs of having an ovarian cyst.

Educating Others Through Social Media

"If I can even help one person from this video!" Reese wrote in the caption of her post, which has been liked more than 1.3 million times. Reese starts the video by sharing a clip from TikTok user @ashhventure. In it, @ashhventure gestures at her pelvis and says, "this is normal for me. I've always had this bump, no matter what I do."

Woman Posts TikTok About Ovarian Cyst to Warn Others
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Cut to Reese, who said: "I feel very compelled to respond to this video, especially due to all the comments on it, saying it's completely normal.… It's not always completely normal."

Reese says that she had a "similar bump in the same exact place" that "gradually got bigger." But about a month ago, she says she went to the hospital, where doctors found an 8.5-inch long benign cyst on her left ovary that weighed about six to seven pounds. It was filled with two liters of fluid, she shared.

"It had the potential to become [ovarian] cancer and [I could] lose both my ovaries," she said. Reese also shared a before and after picture, which clearly showed a flatter stomach after the cyst was removed. She then pointed out the new scar that runs from her belly button down her pelvis.

Something Was Off With My Body

Reese tells Health that she realized something was off with her body in May 2020. "I noticed a bump in my lower stomach protruding in a disproportional way," she says. "I put it off as maybe weight gain or constipation." But, she says, "It would stick out when laying down flat and feel like I was laying on a basketball while sleeping on my stomach."

Reese says the spot "felt like a firm football-shaped mass that I could kinda wrap my hands around." It wasn't painful, but it caused pressure and she noticed that she felt full easily.

By June 2021, things got worse. "I was experiencing constant nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, and painful urination," she says. "I flew back to my hometown, Orlando, Florida, so my mom and I could get my health figured out. She had heard me mention something before about my bump, so right when I got home she asked to feel it." Reese says her mom, who is a nurse, "immediately" knew it wasn't normal and took her to the ER, where she was admitted. "I immediately felt so horrible for putting something off this long," she says.

Reese was given a CT scan, and she learned that she had a large ovarian cyst. "In the beginning, I was so relieved," she says. "I finally had an answer and a reason for all my symptoms. This mass in my stomach would be gone." But she "became very nervous" when she learned that she may need to have her ovary or ovaries removed.

The Largest Cyst the Doctor Had Seen

"One doctor had told me [the cyst] was the largest she had ever seen," she says. "I had no idea this could happen to someone my age. All the way leading up to surgery I was extremely anxious, hoping everything would go smooth and this wouldn't affect future fertility."

Reese says that things were "nerve-wracking" and "very scary" before surgery, which was the first time she had been under anesthesia. "An ovarian cyst removal was a fairly routine procedure, but they didn't have an answer to what exactly would all be removed, because of the size, until they saw the cyst," she says. "Thankfully my cyst turned out to be a para-ovarian cyst, which meant it didn't adhere to my organs."

As a result, Reese had nothing except the cyst removed during the two-hour surgery. Now, she has a five-inch scar from the top of her pelvis that reaches up to underneath her belly button.

"This experience has made me want to bring awareness to women," Reese says. "If there's something that doesn't seem right, it never hurts to get it looked at. My bump wasn't accompanied by symptoms for the longest time. It is so important to pay extra attention to our bodies."

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