29.05.2024

Doctors thought I was morbidly obese from eating too much. It turns out I had ovarian cysts

A morbidly obese woman in Ohio couldn’t lose weight despite dieting and exercising has revealed the surprising diagnosis curbing her fat loss.

Jess Cisco, who weighed 245lbs at her peak, spent 12 months swapping burgers and pizza for chicken, cottage cheese and evenings at the gym — but couldn’t lose a single pound.

Convinced that something was wrong, she was referred for hospital scans which  revealed the 32-year-old had multiple cysts on her ovaries.

The pus-filled sacs can cause weight gain by releasing extra estrogen, the female sex hormone that boosts appetite and promotes the accumulation of more fat cells.

But despite her condition, Ms Cisco has lost more than 100lbs after gastric bypass surgery.

Jesse Cisco, 32, a mental health nurse in Columbus, Ohio, struggled to lose weight for a whole year despite changing her diet and exercise regime (Shown above at 245lbs)

But doctors then spotted ovarian cysts that can hamper weight loss by disrupting hormones. She has now had a gastric bypass and lost 100lbs, with her weight down to 144.6lbs

Jesse Cisco, 32, a mental health nurse in Columbus, Ohio, struggled to lose weight for a whole year despite changing her diet and starting to exercise. (Left: At 245lbs). But after doctors found ovarian cysts that can hamper weight loss by disrupting hormones she had a gastric bypass and is now down to 144.6lbs

Ms Cisco was a dress size 20

Ms Cisco said she has also now dropped from a dress size 20 to a dress size four more than a year after having the gastric bypass  surgery

But says she has now dropped to a size four

Ms Cisco said that she used to frequently binge eat and then starve herself — eating 5,000 calories one day and then less than 1,000 the next.

Her obesity had got to a point where she was suffering from fatty liver disease, sleep apnea and struggling from pain in her foot, making it difficult to move.

But when a doctor told her she was now so large that she would struggle to get pregnant, Ms Cisco decided she wanted to change tack.

‘Almost everyone in my family is morbidly obese and chronically ill, and I was quickly falling into the same category,’ she said.

‘As I continued to gain weight, my blood work was falling into critical levels for my cholesterol and liver panels, my blood pressure was consistently dangerously high and I had such severe acid reflux that I was waking up every night in pain.

‘My weight caused me to isolate myself socially, even from loved ones. I hated going out in public because I didn’t want anyone to see me that way.’

She launched herself into a new healthy lifestyle that saw her choosing nutritious meals, going to the gym and getting therapy.

But after an entire year, the scale had not budged by a single pound.

‘I was at my lowest by the end of 2020, because I had spent that entire year doing everything the right way, but nothing was working,’ she said.

‘I didn’t lose a single pound that year.

‘I felt so defeated and was at the point of just giving up. I was ready to just accept that I was destined to be fat and sick.’

It was then that doctors asked her for an ultrasound to check her intra-uterine device (IUD). They may have been concerned that it was giving her pain, making it harder to stick to her diet plan.

But then they diagnosed her with ovarian cysts. There were three on her left ovary and two on her right, with the largest measuring about 0.8 inches across.

These can make it difficult to lose weight, they warned, because they can release extra female sex hormones linked to weight gain.

Doctors decided not to remove the cysts, however, because of their small size. They will track them through yearly appointments to check for cancer.

After the diagnosis, Ms Cisco received gastric bypass surgery to help her lose weight.

Ms Cisco is pictured above when she was at her biggest standing with her husband. She said that her weight has not affected their marriage

Ms Cisco is pictured above when she was at her biggest standing with her husband. She said that her weight has not affected their marriage

The watershed moment where she was inspired to lose weight came when an obstetrician told her that she would not be able to get pregnant

The watershed moment where she was inspired to lose weight came when an obstetrician told her that she would not be able to get pregnant

Ms Cisco said she was suffering from fatty liver disease, sleep apnea and a pain in her foot making it hard to move

Ms Cisco said her weight was also giving her a number of problems. She had fatty liver disease, sleep apnea and a pain in her foot that made it difficult to move

But these issues are now resolved following her weight loss of more than 100lbs

Ms Cisco’s weight loss progress is pictured above. She says that the gastric bypass surgery ‘saved my life’

Ms Cisco's weight loss progress is pictured above. She says that the gastric bypass surgery 'saved my life'

This works by making the stomach smaller and reducing the amount of the intestines that food passes through, helping to reduce appetite and the number of calories extracted from food that someone consumes.

As well as reducing her food intake, Ms Cisco also made a number of diet changes to help boost her weight loss. These included eating bacon-wrapped chicken, cottage cheese and berries plus granola. She says she is also now ‘obsessed’ with popcorn as a snack.

She said: ‘After surgery, I felt tired and was in some pain, but I mostly felt relieved and excited when I woke up. I knew my life was about to cahnge.

‘Honestly, I’m most proud of healing my relationship with food. It’s been a long road, and tons of effort, trial and error, but food no longer has power over me.’

She added: ‘My husband and I have plans to do a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trial within the next two years — now that I can hike without pain, this is finally a real option.’

Ms Cisco said she is now down to 144.6lbs and that she has cut her waist size from a 20 to a four.

The Appalachian Trail is about 2,000 miles long and runs through 14 US states, from Maine all the way down to Georgia. It can take up to seven months to complete.

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