A student, who was born with two uteruses and vaginas, may never know if she is pregnant due to getting double periods.
Paige DeAngelo, 20, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has uterine didelphys, meaning she was born with two fully-functioning reproductive systems – two uteruses, cervixes and vaginas.
She has two periods, meaning she could be pregnant in one of her uteruses and wouldn’t know about it until she had other symptoms – or could get pregnant in both at the same time.
A student, who was born with two uteruses and vaginas, may never know if she is pregnant due to getting DOUBLE periods
She had suffered with irregular periods – sometimes one every two weeks – for years, but she wasn’t diagnosed until she visited a gynaecologist for the first time, aged 18.
It was just a normal check-up, but the doctor told her that she should probably call her mother, Carol Ann VanAuken, 53, to hear the news.
She 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.’
Paige DeAngelo, 20, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has uterine didelphys, meaning she was born with two fully-functioning reproductive systems – two uteruses, cervixes and vaginas
Paige said when she tells people, their reactions are always shocked, and she added one big misconception is the anatomy of her body.
She said: ‘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.’
Speaking of the appointment where she found out, 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.’
The teen was told there was likely just some extra tissue, but was booked in for an MRI the following week.
Paige said: ‘The person that gave it actually gasped and laughed out loud when they first saw it.
She had suffered with irregular periods – sometimes one every two weeks – for years, but she wasn’t diagnosed until she visited a gynaecologist for the first time, aged 18
‘I was like “what the heck, what is that?”, and they were like “you have two reproductive systems!”
‘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.’
Paige’s condition puts her at a much higher risk of premature births or miscarriages, because her uteri are much smaller than usual.
She was told by a doctor that if she wanted to have children she’d probably have to have a surrogate.
The student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said: ‘I was alone when I was driving back and I was just bawling my eyes out.
She has two periods, meaning she could be pregnant in one of her uteruses and wouldn’t know about it until she had other symptoms – or could get pregnant in both at the same time
‘That was so heart-breaking to hear. I wanted to have a future where I grow up and have a big family.’
She remains optimistic and has found community with other women, and mothers, who live with uterine didelphys.
What is uterine didelphys? The medical condition where woman have two vaginas
A double uterus is a rare abnormality that develops when a baby girl is in her mother’s womb.
Every uterus starts out as two small tubes called Mullerian ducts. As they begin to develop, they usually fuse together to form one uterus.
But in rare cases, the tubes remain separate and become two uteri.
Sometimes there is only one cervix for both wombs, other times each womb has a cervix.
Often the vagina in women with a double uterus is divided into two separate openings by a thin membrane.
It’s entirely possible for women with a double uterus to carry a baby to term.
However, the condition does come with an increased risk of miscarriage or premature labor.
It’s quite common for a woman with a double uterus to experience no symptoms whatsoever.
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 disheartening but I’m kind of glass half full person – the fact that people have had kids is what keeps me going.’
Paige is often bombarded with questions about her sex life, and has to assure people that there’s no issues.
‘I have a boyfriend right now and everything works in that sense!’ said Paige who is with boyfriend, Hugh Hinton, 20, also a student.
The condition is caused because when a female foetus is growing, the uterus starts out as two small tubes called Müllerian ducts.
These will eventually fuse together to form the reproductive system in a process called embryogenesis.
Women 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, but have a piece of tissue separating them called a septum.
Paige started her TikTok channel, to educate people who have questions about her condition and she now has over 300,000 followers.
She said: ‘I’ve definitely reached a lot of people from my TikToks which has been pretty awesome, besides some of the weird, creepy comments which I definitely expected by talking about my vagina!
‘A lot of girls who have the same issue DMed me saying they felt so alone this whole time.
‘Being able to bring all those people together was the reason why I did this – I knew I felt really alone and really scared when I found out.
‘I’m glad I’ve created a safe space for other females to reach out for help..’
She has since been able to control her irregular periods with the birth control pill.