Woman's Cyst Turned Out To Contain Body Parts Of Her Twin
A woman was shocked to discover that a cyst on her ovaries was actually a growth containing teeth, nails and hair from her very own twin.
Mum-of-two Hannah Bridgewater was nine months pregnant with daughter Lexie, now six, when she collapsed and was rushed into hospital back in 2012.
Medics found a lemon-sized cyst on her right ovary, before proceeding to unearth fragments of teeth, hair and nails that matched her DNA.
While doctors initially thought the body parts must have belonged to Lexie's twin, they soon realised they were too old for that to be the case.
That suggested there was only one other answer: the body parts found in the lump were likely to have belonged to Hannah's own twin, and that she'd been carrying them inside her since before she was born, with no idea whatsoever.
Full time carer Hannah, 29, said: "When the doctors investigated the cyst, they found fragments of teeth, hair and nails that matched my DNA.
"They were too old to be Lexie's twin so they said I'd been carrying my own twin.
"It had always been there, they just never found it.
"Twins do run in my family - my mum was supposed to be a twin but my grandmother miscarried, my aunties are twins and I also have twin cousins."
Hannah's rare condition may have been a rare type of teratoma - a tumour called fetus-in-fetu that can contain teeth, hair and bone - which occurs as a result of late cell division, and means that twins don't fully separate.
One connects via the placenta to the mother, while the other smaller one connects itself to its twin's vessels, and as the bigger sibling grows, the smaller of the two simply becomes absorbed into the abdomen.
Fewer than 200 cases have been reported worldwide, and the phenomenon is estimated to occur in just one in 500,000 births.
After giving birth to Lexie by caesarean, Hannah had to have her right ovary removed.
This sent her into premature menopause at the young age of 23, as she'd already had her left ovary removed earlier in her pregnancy, after doctors found another cyst.
According to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, if both ovaries are removed then the woman will experience an 'immediate surgical menopause'.
Hannah continued: "I only wanted two children and I've got one of each but that choice was taken from me.
"I wasn't given a choice. It hit me really hard. What if I wanted another in five years' time? I didn't even have the option.
"Then a nurse walked past and handed me a leaflet: '10 easy ways to deal with the menopause' and that's how I found out.
"I can be really happy, then I don't want anyone to talk to me.
"If I think about it in depth I get quite upset, I could lay and cry randomly.
"It's just out of my control. It was terrifying, I didn't know how I was going to handle the menopause.
"I was 23, I should have been in the prime of my life and partying, but I'm staying at home crying with two young kids and going through the menopause at the same time."
Despite Hannah's premature menopause, she is planning to have more children with new husband Anthony, 29, through adoption.
She added: "It would be amazing, we're looking into it for the future.
"I'd hoped to have more children but once I found out the option had been taken away I got over the idea, now me and Anthony are talking about it so it's really exciting."
Featured Image Credit: Mercury