Calle Hack experienced painful symptoms from an ovarian cyst for photos 17 years. Photo courtesy Calle Heck
- For a long time, Calle Hack thought t he severe pain she experienced before her period was normal.
- But it was actually caused by a giant cyst on her ovary that contained cartilage and hair.
- "It was like if you lost hair, and teeth, and bones in the bathroom drain and they were just pulling that out," Hack told INSIDER.
- Warning: This post contains graphic images.
At 15, Calle Hack started experiencing intense pain leading up to her period each month. Significant bloating and inflammation, severe lower back pain, blackouts, hot and cold flashes, and fits of dry heaving followed by a coppery taste in her mouth were all typical for the first day of her cycle, Hack told INSIDER.
She knew that something was wrong, but doctors told her that some women just experience worse menstrual symptoms than others — hers just fell on the more painful end of the spectrum.
But when she was in her 20s, according to Good Housekeeping. Hack told INSIDER that it was common for her to vomit. Once, she passed out, hit her head on the floor, and started shaking.
Hack continued to seek medical opinions. Five doctors and an ultrasound later, she learned she was housing a large dermoid cyst the size of an orange on her right ovary.
Dermoid cysts are sac-like growths that can contain hair, teeth, skin, bone, or cartilage.
The small white ball on the left of both photos is Hack's healthy ovary, and the ball on the right is the ovary with the dermoid. Photo courtesy Calle Hack
Dermoid cysts are that become trapped during fetal development, according to a study published in the Canadian Urological Association Journal. Although they're present at birth,, as the American Journal of Scientific Research reported.
and they can lead to cancer if left untreated, according to an article published in the American Journal of Scientific Research. More commonly, they can according to Mayo Clinic.
Hack was relieved to know the source of her pain, but she wanted the "little monster" out of her as soon as possible.
Dermoid cysts come in a small leathery sack. Photo courtesy Calle Heck
In November of 2017, Hack underwent surgery to have the cyst removed. She told INSIDER that her doctors described it as a "rotten chicken wing" and compared the process of removing it to cleaning out a sewage tank. "It was like if you lost hair, and teeth, and bones in the bathroom drain and they were just pulling that out," Hack told INSIDER.
Hack recovered in about two weeks but the experience made her realize how important it is for women to advocate for their health. "I'm very lucky," Hack told INSIDER. "A lot of women don't get the right diagnosis or don't have doctors that listen to the pain."
Hack's story serves as a reminder that no one knows your body as well as you do. If something doesn't feel right, it's important to communicate that with your doctor.
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