A Pennsylvania woman, who had long suffered from irregular periods, was shocked to find out that she has two vaginas and two uteruses. Paige DeAngelo, 20, visited a gynecologist two years back for the first time when a thorough checkup revealed that she has two vaginas, two uteruses and two cervices that causes her double periods.
The rare congenital abnormality is disturbing but DeAngelo doesn't have any other problem physically due to this condition. However, she says she has to deal with it quite carefully and as to monitor if both the uteruses are functioning properly.
Since attaining puberty DeAngelo has been having periods every alternate week. It made her not only wonder about the irregularity but also was disturbing. Finally, when she turned 18, she went to a gynecologist when this rare condition was detected.
She was told that she has uterine didelphys, which means she was born with two fully-functioning reproductive systems. "I always had a very irregular period, but it was actually two cycles switching on and off. Sometimes it would be once a month and other times it would be twice a month, only a couple weeks apart," DeAngelo said.
The 20-year-old says that it was always a gamble for her since she had no idea when she was going to get her periods as there was no fixed menstrual cycle.
However, after learning about her condition she took the entire thing sportingly as she knew the rare condition won't otherwise be a problem for her. "People's reactions when I tell them are always funny – it's like shock, and then 'what did you say?' There's definitely curiosity, everyone says 'I have so many questions!' I think the biggest misconception is the anatomy of the two," she said.
DeAngelo's rare condition also keeps her cautious always. Two vaginas and two uteruses mean she can get pregnant in one can still continue menstruating from the other. At the same time she can also get pregnant in both the vaginas at the same time with two children.
That said, DeAngelo says that having two vaginas is extremely rare but people who have heard about it still have a misconception about the anatomy. "People think they're two separate vaginas on the outside, but that is not the case which is why I didn't find out for 18 years. Each 'side' is half the size of a normal vagina. It doesn't cause any issues, but it's definitely noticeable," she said.
Speaking about how she was diagnosed, DeAngelo said: "She didn't tell me straight away, but when I saw the look on her face I knew something wasn't right. We had no idea the severity of it."
In fact, the person who took her for the tests and did the MRI couldn't stop laughing after her condition was detected. "The person that gave it actually gasped and laughed out loud when they first saw it. I was like 'what the heck, what is that?', and they were like 'you have two reproductive systems!'" she said.
DeAngelo too found it funny initially. "I thought it was kind of funny at first. I'd never heard of that, but then when I went back to the gynecologist, and we talked about what it entailed that that's when it kind of hit me," said DeAngelo.
DeAngelo's condition can emerge while a fetus is growing, with the uterus starting out as two small tubes called Müllerian ducts. The vaginas are not distinguishable on the outside of the body, but they do have a piece of tissue separating them, which is called a septum.
DeAngelo's diagnosis finally helped her get an answer for her irregular periods and she has since been able to control it by taking birth control pills.
However, she has been advised by doctors that she should ideally use a surrogate if she ever wanted to have children, because her condition puts her at a much higher risk of premature births or miscarriages since her uteri are much smaller than usual.