‘I was born with two vaginas, have double periods and could menstruate while pregnant’
Paige DeAngelo had long suffered from irregular periods, sometimes have one every two weeks.
But it wasn’t until she was 18 and saw a gynaecologist for the first time that she found out why.
It turned out that Paige has two vaginas, plus two uteruses and two cervixes.
The 20-year-old has uterine didelphys, which means she was born with two fully-functioning reproductive systems.
Paige said: ‘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.
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‘It was always a gamble as to when I was going to get it, and that was all through high school I couldn’t plan for it.
‘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.
‘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.’
Paige’s condition means she has two periods, and could be unknowingly pregnant in one of her uteruses, as the other would continue to menstruate.
She could also get pregnant in both uteruses at the same time.
Speaking about how she was diagnosed, Paige 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.’
She was told there was likely some extra tissue, and was booked to have an MRI the next week.
Paige said: ‘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!”
‘I had no idea. I honestly didn’t even process it right away.
‘I thought it was kind of funny at first. I’d never heard of that, but then when I went back to the gynaecologist, and we talked about what it entailed that that’s when it kind of hit me.’
The condition can emerge while a foetus is growing, with the uterus starting out as two small tubes called Müllerian ducts.
These tubes will eventually fuse together and form the reproductive system in a process called embryogenesis, however, those with uterine didelphys do not undergo full embryogenesis, and can be born with two full reproductive systems.
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.
On the upside, Paige’s diagnosis at last provided an answer for her irregular periods, andshe has since been able to control them by taking the birth control pill.
However, she was told that she would probably have to 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.
Paige, a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said: ‘I was alone when I was driving back, and I was just bawling my eyes out.
‘That was so heartbreaking to hear.
‘I wanted to have a future where I grow up and have a big family.’
However, she has stayed optimistic and has found a community of people, including mothers, who have the same condition.
She said: ‘I’m in a Facebook support group with girls that have the condition and a lot of them have one child every five miscarriages.
‘It’s disheartening, but I’m kind of glass half full person – the fact that people have had kids is what keeps me going.’
Unfortunately, she is often pestered with questions about her sex life, and finds herself assuring people that there are no problems in that department.
‘I have a boyfriend right now and everything works in that sense,’ said Paige, who’s dating fellow student Hugh Hinton, also 20.Source