A YOUNG mum thought the painful sex she experienced was just due to getting carried away with her husband.
But medics eventually found a cyst, which made her stomach swell so much she looked pregnant.
Katie Sims, 32, has told how she thought the "sharp stabbing pain" when she and hubby Ben got frisky was just from deep penetration.
The pair chalked it up to something normal all women go through, until the mum went to the doctor with stomach trouble.
She was told she might have IBS but a later scan picked up a 10cm benign tumour on her ovary.
The commercial cleaning business owner said what initially started as bloating after she ate soon evolved into her stomach becoming permanently "huge".
Katie now thinks the discomfort she experienced during sex have been her cyst "getting poked".
She wants to raise awareness incase other women have the same problem, by sharing tell-tell signs of the condition.
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Katie, of Ottery Saint Mary, Devon, said: "I had pain in my ovaries, mainly my left ovary where the cyst was, during sexual intercourse. It was almost like a sharp stabbing pain.
"I've got a friend who also gets the same pain and we've mentioned it over the past year and a half to each other.
"You joke about it with your friends and I don't want to sound crude but you just say it's when your partner goes quite deep and 'that's just what happens'.
"Being a woman you just think that it's just something that you have to put up with and 'oh, it's normal'. I also had a coil in at the time and thought 'oh is that what it is as well?' You don't ever think it could be something more sinister.
"My husband was then afraid to have sex with me because he thought that he was always putting me in pain, so our sex life dwindled completely, and it was only a rare occurrence.
"The pain has now completely gone [since surgery]. I'm guessing that the cyst was sitting too low and getting poked, that's the only way to put it."
KNOW THE SIGNS
Katie said she also had extremely painful and heavy periods to the extent she'd be bleeding 'profusely' and 'keeled over in pain'.
She had symptoms for around a year prior to her diagnosis as in March 2020 started gaining weight around her abdomen, but it was a year later that the bloating started.
Katie said: "I had a lot of acid reflux, nausea and just a really bad stomach. I was really bloated, it wasn't just my lower abdomen it was also my upper abdomen.
"I genuinely was looking six months pregnant. I could eat a tiny meal or half a piece of bread or an apple and I would bloat.
"I looked pregnant only when I ate until around this July when it started to get really big at the bottom of my stomach. It was crazy how big I looked. I did look huge."
Katie, who was usually a slinky size eight to ten, said she couldn't even fit into size 14 jeans as they'd be tight around her stomach but her legs would be 'swimming' in excess material.
She eventually had the cyst pierced, drained and removed in November – it wasn't measured during the procedure but she suspects it grew bigger than 10cm.
Don't think 'oh it could be this, it could be that'. Make sure you know what it is.
Katie said: "I looked forward to it [surgery] every day, I couldn't wish it to come any quicker.
"It was a bit of a recovery but as soon as I'd fully healed it was amazing. It's like the cyst was draining the life out of me. It excretes weight-gaining hormones and those that make you tired, angry and a massive hormonal mess.
"It's gone. I can bend over and fit into jeans. It's just the simple pleasures of life that you don't realise that you need but make you so much happier.
"I'd say to other women that if you have any symptoms whatsoever to do with your pelvic area then speak to a doctor, don't put them off and think they're something else.
"Don't think 'oh it could be this, it could be that'. Make sure you know what it is."
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