- Naomi Benton, 34, baffled doctors for more than a decade
- She continued to pile on the pounds despite following an 800 calorie-a-day diet and undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2008
- Tests finally revealed an orange-sized tumour on her adrenal gland
- After having it removed she now only weighs 14st, but has 4st of excess skin
A woman who weighed 32 stone has told how her excessive weight was due to a hidden tumour.
Naomi Benton baffled doctors for over a decade as she continued to pile on the pounds despite following an 800 calorie-a-day diet and undergoing gastric bypass surgery.
The 34-year-old from Haddington, East Lothian, pleaded with doctors for help after she ballooned from a healthy 10 stone at age 20 to more than 32 stone.
Naomi Benton baffled doctors for over a decade as she continued to pile on the pounds despite following an 800 calorie-a-day diet and undergoing gastric bypass surgery
The mother-of-two failed to drop any weight after her bypass surgery in 2008 and medical staff assumed her huge frame was due to secret snacking.
But when she was hospitalised after a bad fall the following year and her weight continued to balloon, she underwent tests which revealed the hidden deadly mass.
Further blood tests showed she was suffering from Cushing’s syndrome – a collection of symptoms that develop in the body due to high levels of a hormone called cortisol.
The tumour, which had developed on her adrenal gland located on top of the kidneys, had grown to the size of an orange and Ms Benton underwent an eight-hour emergency operation.
Ms Benton, who now weighs 14 stone, needs plastic surgery to remove four stone of excess skin.
She said: ‘I was always fit and healthy but when I hit 20 I started to dramatically put on weight.
The 34-year-old from Haddington, East Lothian, pleaded with doctors for help after she ballooned from a healthy 10 stone (pictured) at age 20 to over 32 stone
When she was hospitalised after a bad fall and her weight continued to balloon, she underwent tests which revealed a tumour on her adrenal gland. She is pictured in hospital after having the tumour removed
‘Just after my first pregnancy I managed to put on over five stone despite not changing my diet and just couldn’t drop the weight.
‘I went to the doctors numerous times about the dramatic gain but no-one believed that my weight wasn’t just down to a very unhealthy diet.
‘It was so frustrating, no-one was listening to me when I told them I wasn’t stuffing my face.
‘I was sent to see a dietitian who helped monitor my 800-calorie-a-day diet. Every day I was weak and tired, but still hadn’t lost any weight.
Ms Benton lost weight quickly after her tumour was removed and now weighs 14 stone. She needs plastic surgery to remove four stone of excess skin (left). She is pictured (right) before her weight loss
‘Even my friends and family were convinced I was eating in secret and complete strangers would tell me I needed to go on a diet.
‘Finally I signed up for a gastric bypass but after the op still didn’t lose anywhere near the kind of weight that was expected.
‘The breakthrough came after I was laid up in hospital for eight months after breaking both arms and legs in a nasty fall.
‘A junior doctor stopped by and asked if he could take run some new tests which finally showed what was wrong.
Ms Benton said: ‘Now I’m just glad the tumour was discovered, as I’d hate to think what would have happened if it had gone on for longer’
‘The tests revealed I had Cushing’s syndrome and a large tumour on my right side.’
Just weeks after having emergency surgery, the weight began to fall off her.
Ms Benton said: ‘Now I’m just glad it was discovered, as I’d hate to think what would have happened if it had gone on for longer.’
She has now shrunk down to a dress size 16 and but hopes to reach a size 12 and weigh 10 stone.
She added: ‘I’m a work in progress and I’m taking it in baby steps. I can’t wait to look and feel like my old self again.’
WHAT IS CUSHING’S SYNDROME?
Cushing’s syndrome is a collection of symptoms that develop due to very high levels of a hormone called cortisol.
The symptoms include weight gain, thinning skin, stretch marks and decreased interested in sex.
The condition often develops as a side effect of treatments for inflammation and autoimmune conditions.
It can also develop as a result of a tumour inside one of the body’s glands.
The main treatment is to stop taking the medication that is causing it or to remove the tumour.
If these options are not available, medication can be used to counter the effects of high cortisol levels.
If left untreated, it can cause high blood pressure which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
It affects about one in 50,000 people.
Source: NHS Choices