Lauren Williams Born with two vagina
Suffering periods that lasted up to 21 days and finding sex difficult, Lauren Williams knew that something was wrong.
However, the 28-year-old from Chingford, Essex was stunned to discover she had been born with a rare medical condition, which left her with two vagina's, two wombs and two cervix.
Following the shock diagnosis, and after an operation to create one single vagina, Lauren is enjoying life more and is even able to laugh about her unique configuration.
Her condition means that she has two smears, one for each cervix, and when she falls pregnant one day she will have to use contraception through out to stop her falling pregnant in her 'other' womb.
In her early twenties, Lauren could never have guessed the reason why she found some sexual positions uncomfortable.
"I hated going on top,' Lauren explains."Some of my girlfriends used to say how it was their favourite position, but others didn't like it either so I never worried that there was anything different about me. I just presumed I must have a short vagina".
Lauren, a veterinary nurse, also found using tampons difficult to use and opted for sanitary towels instead. It was only when she went for a smear test at 24 that she was alerted to the fact she could have a medical problem.
Lauren explains: "I'd had smear tests done before but they were all with nurses. This time I saw a doctor who said that something didn't look quite right down there and referred me to a gynaecologist".
By this time, Lauren also had concerns about her periods which were lasting 21 days.
"I put it down to the fact I'd been using a contraceptive implant for three years which had made my cycle go all haywire".
Following a scan, the gynaecologist diagnosed Lauren with a bicornuate uterus, which meant that it had a septum down the middle giving it the shape of a heart.
As this could have increased her chances of miscarriage in the future, she was booked in for an operation to fix it.
After coming round from the anaesthetic, a doctor came to tell her that she had been misdiagnosed.
"He arrived with a troop of other medics and sat on my bed," Lauren recalls. "He seemed quite excited and said that they'd got the prognosis wrong. I didn't have a bicornuate uterus after all. I actually had two of everything. Two uteruses, two cervixes and two vaginas.
"I was shocked. I'd certainly never noticed that I had two vaginas and none of my previous boyfriends had either. Even the doctor said he'd never seen anything like it before".
Instead of operating on her womb, the surgeon had removed the barrier between her two vaginas, leaving her with one big one.
"The barrier explained why I found some sexual positions uncomfortable and couldn't insert tampons," Lauren says. "The vagina that I was using was half the size of a normal one".
Following the operation Lauren had to keep packing her vagina with giant swabs to prevent a new barrier from forming.
"I'd never really examined myself down there before," she says. "But it seemed strange to me how none of the doctors and nurses that I'd seen over the years had cottoned on to the problem".
When the wound healed, Lauren was able to look at herself using a mirror.
"To my relief everything looked normal. I was worried that I'd been left with a huge vagina, but I felt uncomfortable about bringing it up with the doctors".
It was two weeks before Lauren was able to have sex with her boyfriend of a year, Mike, 31.
"He wasn't at all fazed by my medical revelation, but the first time we made love after the operation was a big deal for me.
"I felt like I was some sort of born again virgin. The sex was fine though and I no longer found certain positions uncomfortable".
However, Lauren's long periods were still a problem. She realised that she must be having two periods a month - one from each womb.
"It was obviously putting a real dampener on my sex life. There was only about a week in the month when I could be certain I wouldn't bleed".
Eventually, she opted to have a contraceptive injection that stopped her periods altogether.
Since then Lauren has been able to lead a normal life.
"Having two of everything doesn't bother me. In fact, I find it quite amusing and I don't mind telling people about it. My mum jokes that she always knew that there was something special about me!"
Now when Lauren has a smear test she books to have it with a doctor so that they can take a sample from each of her cervixes.
If she decides to have a family she will have to take extra precautions while pregnant.
"The doctor told me that conceiving won't be a problem as the uterus with the baby inside will push the other one to one side. But I'll have to use condoms throughout the pregnancy to stop myself falling pregnant in my other womb. That's going to feel really weird".
Lauren separated from Mike in March last year and has been single ever since.
"My vagina looks completely normal so I've got no fears about getting into a new relationship. As a veterinary nurse I compare myself to a cat as they've got two uterine horns! I accept who I am and any boyfriend will have to too - inside and out".
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