Weird news of a 35-year-old Ghanaian woman with two vaginas and two uteruses threw the world—including some medical practitioners—into a new sphere of doubts and inquisitiveness. The wonder woman was identified as Elizabeth Amoaa, a Ghanaian with “extremely rare condition.”
Speaking on a radio show, the UK resident revealed that she has suffered a medical disorder from birth. Her ailment has no known cure.
Elizabeth is one of the few persons born with two vaginas and two wombs. This rare condition is commonly known as “didelphys.”
According to Health, Elizabeth has visited many hospitals since she was 10, seeking permanent cure to yeast infections. However, the problems got worse after she reached puberty; her menstrual periods have been extremely painful to the point that she would faint in some occasions. This medical condition was so rare and undetected because there are no clear symptoms, health experts say.
It wasn’t until 2008 that doctors diagnosed Elizabeth of “uterine fibroid,” a health condition associated with non-cancerous growths [on the uterus wall] that is capable of causing excessive bleeding and pain. Despite the attention she got from doctors, her discomforting period symptoms continued. The Ghanaian mom eventually realized that her case was beyond fibrosis.
In 2016, Elizabeth gave birth to a premature baby girl but it wasn’t until 2015 that an MRI scan confirmed her “uterus didelphys (also known as double uterus)” status.
According to Mayo Clinic, uterus didelphys occurs during fetal development; two tubes that are normally connected to one uterus inexplicably form two distinct structures. In some cases, someone with “double uterus” may have her cervix joined to one vagina, or each separate uterine cavity linked to once cervix and vagina—leaving the “wonderfully-made women” with two vaginas—as in the Elizabeth’s case.
Another “double uterus” case
In a similar incident, a woman from Bangladesh didn’t know her uterus didelphys status until she gave birth to three babies in just one month.
As if giving birth and taking care of a newborn isn’t hard enough, the wonder woman’s second delivery produced a set of twins—an occurrence that some medical practitioners taught was “impossible”. The 20-year-old mom was identified as Arifa Sultana.
Media reports confirmed that Arifa gave birth to a baby boy in February 2019 but suffered severe stomach ache 26 days later–with no signs of labour–and was rushed to a nearby hospital where she later delivered a set of twins.
The hospital confirmed that Arifa’s circumstance led to an MRI test which confirmed that she has “two well-functioning uteruses,” a dauntingly symptomless congenital condition which remained undetected until she went back to the hospital for checkup and “surprisingly” delivered her twins.
What are we missing?
Though health experts associate uterus didelphys with menstrual pains, miscarriage and premature births, Arifa’s case showed no complications at all.
Poddar Sheila, an ob-gyn and Managing Director at Ad-Din Hospital, Bangladesh, told CNN that Arifa complained of abdominal pains but an ultrasound confirmed her pregnancy. The medical practitioner said a C-section was her only option to deliver the twins safely.
Christine Greves, an ob-gyn and MD at Florida Health (a hospital in Orlando, USA) described the medical condition as “incredibly rare” and explained that “few case reports have resulted in deliveries from women with double uterus.”
In her words, “The possibility of a woman with uterus didelphys having a baby is comparable to winning Powerball. I don’t know what the statistics are but there are certainly more lottery winners than people with double uterus.”
Medical experts agree that a woman with double uterus can live a completely normal life, enjoy sex, experience a healthy pregnancy, and may never know about the health condition—even without getting pregnant or having kids. In addition, there are cases where a woman doesn’t just have double uteruses but two vaginas which makes it possible to menstruate twice within a monthly circle.
Uterus didelphys, however, makes some women susceptible to ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, and may lead to infertility, miscarriage or premature birth.
Elizabeth’s case showed signs of endometriosis and ovarian cysts. Her first delivery was premature and the second ended in miscarriage. The Ghanaian mom has had about eight corrective surgeries.
To sensitize young woman on the gynecological conditions, Elizabeth established the Special Lady Foundation in 2017.
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“It’s been kind of a blessing in disguise, to be able to use my experience to help other women,” she said, advising young women not to ignore any symptoms, no matter how small.
“Don’t keep it to yourself,” Elizabeth added.