She thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

  • Doctors discovered she had several blood clots in her lungs, stomach and left leg
  • READ MORE: Mother thought she had the flu... in fact it was incurable cancer 

A gym fanatic claims she almost died after hip pain she dismissed as a pulled muscle turns out to be a symptom of blood clots all over her body.

Holly Whitehall first felt her left hip aching in October last year, but she just blamed it on going to the gym too much.

The 22-year-old paralegal from Nottingham, decided to visit her GP when the pain got increasingly worse and was advised to go to A&E after medics suspected an ovarian cyst.

But further tests at Nottingham City Hospital revealed she actually had multiple deadly blood clots in her lungs, stomach and left leg.

Ms Whitehall says doctors spotted the killer clusters only 10 days before she was set to fly to Australia — a dream six-month trip that doctors say could have killed her before making it home.

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

Holly Whitehall, 22, first felt her left hip aching in October last year, but she just blamed it on going to the gym too much

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

Decided to visit her GP when the pain got increasingly worse and was advised to go to A&E, where tests revealed she had blood clots

She said she is 'lucky to be alive' as she claims doctors told her the blood clots were a rare complication of taking the combined contraceptive pill.

Ms Whitehall had tried three different combined pills since early 2022.

But she consider the 'achy, growing pain' in her hip was caused by the contraceptive.

'I just got this pain at the top of my hip all of a sudden, but I go to the gym quite a lot so I thought I'd just pulled a muscle,' she said.

'I didn't think anything of it. It was like an achy, growing pain.

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

She had tried three different combined pills since early 2022. But she didn't think the 'achy, growing pain' was caused by the pill

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

She had tried everything to help the pain in her hip, from ice packs to heat, but nothing was working

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

Doctors found clots in her lungs, stomach and left leg and they were shocked it had not affected her breathing

'A couple of days later, I thought "this is getting quite painful" so I tried the classic ice pack and heat but nothing was helping.

'My parents actually said "maybe you should go to the doctors and get it checked out" so I went to the doctors and they did tests.

'At A&E I was feeling more and more uncomfortable. I was in a lot of pain and they basically told me that they've found blood clots in my leg and it's travelled up to my hip.

'The pain in my leg got so bad that I couldn't actually walk in the end.

'There were clots in my lungs, stomach and left leg. They were shocked that it hadn't affected my breathing.

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

Ms Whitehall underwent two surgeries to remove the clots and had a stent fitted in her hip

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

Ms Whitehall will now remain on blood-thinning medication for the rest of her life

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

Although blood clots are a side effect of the pill only one in 1,000 are affected by them as a direct result of the contraceptive

'They said it was a significant amount and I was lucky to be alive. I was pretty petrified.

'I was meant to be going travelling to Australia two weeks later and they essentially said that if I'd got on the plane I wouldn't have made it home.'

Ms Whitehall underwent two surgeries to remove the clots and had an operation to restore the circulation in her hip.

She will now remain on blood-thinning medication for the rest of her life.

Blood clots are a side affect of taking the combined pill, but this risk is very small.

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

Further tests revealed Ms Whitehall had antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) — a disorder of the immune system that causes an increased risk of blood clots

In fact, only one in 1,000 people using combined hormonal contraception, like the pill are at risk of getting blood clots, according to the NHS.

These blood clots can appear in the legs or lungs and put you at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

A doctor, nurse or pharmacist should check if you have certain risk factors such as blood clots, a heart problem or migraines, before prescribing the pill. They should also check your blood pressure.

Further tests revealed Ms Whitehall had antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) — a disorder of the immune system that causes an increased risk of blood clots.

Certain medication including the combined contraceptive pill can trigger APS in some people. Eating an unhealthy diet, not exercising enough and smoking are also risk factors, according to the NHS.

she thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

Ms Whitehall is warning others to not ignore the potential warning signs of a blood clot

Following her three-week hospital admission last year she is now urging others to not ignore any aches or pains, especially when on the combined pill.

'The doctors said this could've potentially happened in the future because of underlying issues with the APS but that it was triggered and contributed by the pill,' she said.

'What scares me most is that I didn't know what was happening in my body and how quickly it came out of nowhere. You never think it's going to happen to you.

'I would tell people not to ignore any signs or pains you're getting, especially if you're on the pill.

'I tell everyone to get things checked just to be sure. I probably delayed treatment for myself by thinking it was minor.

'Just consider all options of contraception and whether you actually need them.'

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