A WOMAN suffers agonising period pains because she has two vaginas, and two wombs.
Andreea, 26, was told she had a rare condition at the age of 14 that meant her organs were split into two.
The assistant manager, who does not want to give her second name, said: “I do suffer very bad period cramps, I can be doubled over and unable to move some months. I guess that comes with having an extra uterus.”
But she worries more about the fertility complications that come with her condition.
Because her womb is split into two, it reduces the space available for a baby to grow.
Andreea, from Salisbury in Wiltshire, was heartbroken when she lost a baby at the age of 17.
Sadly at three months, her baby stopped growing, which she later found out is a danger linked to the condition.
Now in a six year relationship with her partner Oliver, 36, who does not wish to share his surname, the couple hope to have a family one day.
Andreea has decided to find out more about her condition and if she will be able to have a family naturally after being given hardly any information when she was diagnosed.
The condition, named uterus didelphys, was found during a complicated check-up when she was a teenager.
But sometimes it can do undetected for years, with symptoms only including unusual cramping during a period, an abnormal amount of blood, or repeated miscarriages.
Andreea said: “I knew a sexual health check-up would include a slightly uncomfortable examination, but I was in such a lot of pain, it hurt so badly I had to ask the doctor to stop.”
The gynaecologist discovered that he could not insert the speculum because Andreea has cartilage dividing the entrance to her vagina, effectively splitting it into two.
Andreea remembers: “He was quite shocked. He said it was very rare but not something to worry about at my age.”
Uterus didelphys, a condition from birth, is when a woman has two wombs and two separate cervixes, and sometimes two vaginas.
Andreea was sent for scans where it was confirmed her uterus was split into two and she had a dividing wall of tissue around 2cm inside her vagina that’s not visible externally.
Both uteruses function, but Andreea has since been told that one has lower chances of reproduction.
The two wombs are often slightly smaller than average, though sometimes one can be bigger and more of a normal size while the other is smaller.
A double uterus is often undetected for years because there may be no symptoms.
After her diagnosis, Andreea admits she didn’t really discuss it again and didn’t tell her friends.
She said: “When I was a teenager, you didn’t talk about what was going on with your body, especially nothing that you were self-conscious of or something that you were worried about. You didn’t want to be seen as different to other people.
“I was quite blind to it for most of my teenage years and early twenties. It’s not uncomfortable, so I didn’t think about it too much until I met my partner and naturally we have discussed our future.”
After losing a baby at the age of 17, Andreea said: “I have never been sure if I could carry a baby full term, so I wanted to know if we could have children.
“I still have so many questions surrounding my diagnosis. In theory I have two wombs so I could fall pregnant, whilst pregnant and carry two babies at the same time but I want to know if I can carry one baby safely.”
There have been cases of women with his condition having successful full term pregnancies but Andreea fears that any child she may carry may not grow properly.
Andreea said: “It is a grey area, we have a 50/50 chance but I won’t know more until we try and it is something we will face together when the time comes.”
Today Andreea said her condition makes no difference to her sex life, and she is confident in her body compared to before.
She said: “Now, I’m not self-conscious about it at all.
“As I’ve got older I‘ve always been honest with people and I haven’t been judged for it.
“My worries were as a teenager when I didn’t know if it made me different or who to talk to. Now I don’t find it weird, it’s just who I am and we are all different in one way or another.”
Andreea hopes by openly talking about her condition, it will help other young girls and women talk about their health and bodies.
She said: “Girls should know their bodies, be comfortable in their own skin and learn to know what is ‘normal’ for them.
Andrea added: “It’s different now and people can be more open and there is a lot more research and information available. It is good to talk and have all the facts.”