Cassandra Bankson is a Youtube star who often shares her tips on fashion and beauty..
But there is something about Cassandra that most thought wasn't possible – she was born with two vaginas.
Not only that, but she also has two separate reproduction organs – two sets of cervixes, two uteri but only one kidney…
About Uterus Didelphys
Cassandra's story is not a unique one. The condition is called ‘Uterus Didelphys' or a ‘Double Womb', and it occurs in utero and affects 1 in 3000 women.
During foetal development, the uterus starts off as two small tubes called Mullerian ducts. Within the 12th to 16th week of pregnancy, these two ducts fuse together, however, in cases of Uterus Didelphys this fails to occur. The results of this can vary meaning, a woman can form two vaginas and just one uterus, or a ‘Unicorn Uterus' which is where a woman only has half of her reproductive system, one small uterus, one ovary and one fallopian tube.
How Did Cassandra Know She Had Two Vaginas?
Cassandra’s first video about her two vaginas went viral, with over 2.4 million views.
In the video, Cassandra explains that she had only been diagnosed with Uterus Didelphys as an adult when she started to experience kidney pain. Strangely enough, she had recently rescued a wild duck and fearing that she had contracted a disease from the wild bird her doctor sent her away for urgent tests.
A few routine ultrasounds and blood tests later the doctor quickly discovered that not only did Cassandra only have one kidney, but she also had two vaginas.
How Else Can Uterus Didelphys Be Detected?
Uterus Didelphys can be picked up by doctors during a routine pelvic exam though is most commonly detected through an Ultrasound, MRI, Hysterosalpingography (HSG) or Sonohysterogram.
What Were Cassandra's Symptoms?
Like many other patients with Uterus Didelphys, Cassandra put her symptoms down to hormone imbalance and particularly bad period pain. The signs of Uterus Didelphys vary and are often easy to dismiss or misdiagnose. Patients can experience bleeding for extended periods of time, continuing to bleed even though you have a tampon in, kidney pain, recurrent miscarriages, infertility, endometriosis and dyspareunia, pain during sexual intercourse.
Does She Get Two Periods?
Yes! Cassandra who got her first period at just ten years old gets two periods every month which she says “sucks”. Her first period of the month starts with back pain, headaches, breakouts, severe cramping and frequent bowel movements it then eases off after a few days before starting all over again with the same painful symptoms. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has two get two pap smear tests!
Can She Still Have Babies?
While some women who suffer from Uterus Didelphys experience recurrent miscarriages and infertility, having a baby is definitely possible, just ask Lauren Cotter from India. Lauren who is now 34-years-old was told she would never be able to have children due to having two vaginas. She is now the mother of four healthy children, Amelie who is five-years-old, Harvey, three and one-year-old twin girls Maya and Evie. All four children were delivered via caesarean, the twins at 37 weeks after months of bed rest.
Lauren Cotter gave birth to twins with two vaginas
Women with Mullerian abnormalities are much more likely to be infertile and Uterus Didelphys accounts for around 8% of all Mullerian abnormalities. Women with Uterus Didelphys have a significantly less chance of carrying a baby to full term with over half ending in premature deliveries. Despite the odds, some women with the condition even manage to carry two babies, one in each womb at the same time.
Can It Be Treated?
Though it is often not necessary particularly in asymptomatic women, corrective surgery is an option. For patients experiencing trouble conceiving, surgery may be needed to carry a baby to full term and “removal of the dividing membrane in their vagina may make childbirth easier”. While Cassandra is not at a point in her life where she is considering having children, Lauren decided to have surgery shortly after learning of her diagnosis.
To watch Cassandra’s insightful videos click here.
Read more: stayathomemum.com.au