Kimberly Robles Besinal, 17, from a remote island in Albay, the Philippines, began experiencing stomach pains last June. Her stomach started to swell and her family angrily accused her of having a secret lover.
They forced Kimberly to undergo an ultrasound scan, which appeared to show a strange creature with fish-like eyes and a mouth in her belly.
She says the pictures – combined with a traditional Filipino folklore and the youngster’s love of swimming without underwear – led to the family to bizarrely accuse her of having sex with a fish.
But after a year passed and no baby had materialised, doctors checked again.
Kimberly is now trying to raise money for the operation to surgically remove the large cyst.
“I am having a hard time breathing and my chest feels tight. I feel like someone is choking me,” she said.
“My family thought I was pregnant, but I had no boyfriend.
“They then believed I was pregnant by a mythical creature because I used to like swimming in the ocean without panties.”
Dr Massachusette Fernandez, the obstetrician-gynecologist who is treating Kimberly said: “The scan really resembles a fish, but it’s not.
“She has an ovarian cyst. It is impossible to have a fish inside her ovaries.”
Kimberley’s weight has also increased from 40 kilos to 50 kilos since last year, which medics have put down to the cyst.
Locals on the tiny island of Manaet in the Bacacay region believe that women should stay out of the ocean for up to five days after their monthly period.
The strange belief comes from an ancient Filipino superstition which says that when a woman on her period swims in the sea without underwear, organisms can enter her vagina causing her to fall pregnant to a mythical creature.
Despite the medical evidence, Kimberley’s grandmother and cousin still believe the growth in her belly is that of a mythical fish from the local Gumaliw folklore, she says.
Kimberley’s cousin, Amada Robles, said Kimberley likes swimming in the sea near her house.
Amada said: “I always scold her for doing that especially on her menstruation day, but she is so hard-headed.”
Kim Ngan Do
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