vaginal astresia

VAGINAL ATRESIA VS BLIND VAGINA: WHY SOME WOMEN MAY NOT BE ABLE TO ENJOY SEX | 2 AWESOME SOLUTIONS

Back in medical college, I have heard stories of malformed body parts like babies born with no bottom hole and intersex conditions for example, but when I heard the term blind vagina, I was curious to know what it was about. Female sexuality has always been an interesting subject. So I decided to dig deeper for answers. It turns out it was just another form of a rare medical condition known with an umbrella term vaginal atresia.

vaginal atresia

Fast-forward to date, a real-life situation reported by the media about a 20-year-old Pakistani woman who was regularly physically abused by her husband because he was always experiencing problems while having sex with her. I can imagine the man’s frustration, but hitting the innocent lady wasn’t necessary.

According to her medical history, she has never had a period. This, her mother thought was a result of delayed puberty; even though she was knowledgeable of other signs that showed something was off about her. She explained to the doctors that she’d been having lower abdominal discomfort over the past three years. 

Aside from the domestic abuse on her, this had clearly awakened her curiosity to question what was going on with her.

WHAT IS A VAGINAL ATRESIA OR BLIND VAGINA?

Contrary to the word for word interpretation of the name (a vagina that cannot see or an autistic vagina with emotional blindness), a “blind vagina” a form of vaginal atresia, also referred to as a “dead-end vagina”, is a short vaginal canal that has a section of tissue blocking the vagina, therefore making it shorter,’ said Dr Sarah Welsh, co-founder of Hanx.[1]

The doctor probed further and according to her ultrasound results, it turned out her uterus, ovaries, and results of a hormonal profile were all within normal limits. 

So where did all the menstrual blood go? The revelation came when she was physically examined. The woman had a “blind vagina” of just 2 centimeters (0.7 inches) in length: her reproductive canal literally ended in a sack, which didn’t connect her internal reproductive organs.

Naturally, a regular vagina is about 3-4 inches (7.62cm – 10.16cm) long, which can ‘enlarge by 200 percent when sexually aroused, kind of like a balloon. Remember, the vagina was made to birth babies, so it’s exceedingly elastic.’[3]

vaginal atresia

This case was merely another form of vaginal atresia which is a ‘condition in which the vagina is abnormally closed or absent’. The main causes can either be complete vaginal hypoplasia, or a vaginal obstruction, often caused by an imperforate hymen or, less commonly, a transverse vaginal septum’.[2]

 Finally, she was diagnosed with a transverse vaginal septum or partial vaginal agenesis, which is a horizontal “wall” of tissue formed during the formative stage of a baby which blocks the vagina. When this happens and there is no hole connecting the upper and lower vagina.

This by and large means the end of the vagina does not continue to the reproductive organs which include the neck of the womb.
The menstrual blood pool in the upper vagina can cause serious abdominal discomfort.

vaginal atresia

According to research published by  J Obstet Gynaecol India. The incidence of the transverse vaginal septum or partial vaginal agenesis is 1 in 70,000 live births

The birth rate for Nigeria in 2019 was 37.684 births per 1000 people, a 1.09% decline from 2018. Assuming in Nigeria we have a population of 200,963,599 as of 2019 which means about 7573112 babies were born just last year, at least 1 baby would have vaginal atresia. That might be a negligible number but in 10years there may be more than 10 real cases in Nigeria.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A BLIND VAGINA?

vaginal atresia

 Females born with a blind vagina may regularly experience discomfort during penetrative sex. However, if your partner hasn’t been able to fit it in, or the regular-sized penis can’t fit into your vagina, don’t worry – you could merely be suffering from vaginal dryness, you obviously do not have a case of a blind vagina.

The blind vagina is a congenital disorder; this means that ladies who have the condition are born with it. According to Dr. Sara Welsh a gynecologist and co-founder of HANX, the disorder is common among those with ‘intersex conditions’.

These are ‘individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies’ [5]

Experts say this condition can often go unnoticed until the onset of puberty, especially when people who have it become sexually active and experience pain during penetrative sex.

vaginal atresia

Symptoms of the blind vagina or vaginal atresia may include abdominal discomfort, absent or light periods during adolescence, and pain during sexual intercourse.’ The severity of this discomfort varies, depending on the individual. Girls who are born with this condition may not know until adulthood, or when she starts having sex or during masturbation.

Having a blind vagina might present with psychosocial symptoms too, some women may feel embarrassed because of their lack of ability to have sex as we all know when it comes to vaginal issues, there is always a stigma attached.

Being exceptional can be difficult, especially if you’re a teenager and your friends are talking about their sexual exploits and you don’t have any experiences to contribute. It’s possible to feel there is something ‘wrong’ with you; I’ll definitely feel that way if I can’t have sex.

CAN BLIND VAGINA/ VAGINAL ATRESIA BE TREATED?

 According to J Obstet Gynaecol, ‘Longitudinal vaginal septum is usually benign, though obstruction can occur when the septum is associated with other mullerian anomalies and surgical excision may be required’ [6]

A blind vagina can be treated surgically; medical management of vaginal atresia is inadequate. For a patient with a functional uterus and an obstructed outflow tract like the Pakistani girl, manipulating the menstrual cycle temporarily might be necessary until a patent genital tract can be created. 

This is a rare condition that is handled by experienced surgeons at a specialist hospital. It involves the removal of the fibrous tissue occluding the vagina. It may call for further treatment to guarantee the vagina canal does not constrict as it heals.

According to Dr. Datta, ‘In the vast majority of cases, we are able to treat women successfully and fully.’[1 For the Pakistani woman, The surgeons performed an operation to connect the two parts of the woman’s vagina, splitting the tissue blocking the passage.

They then inserted a mold-covered in a condom into her vagina, which was left in for 7 days to stretch out the newly created opening, before changing it with a silicone mold that was used on and off for another three weeks.

On the third month post-surgery, she was able to enjoy sex without discomfort and eventually became pregnant seven months later, giving birth to a baby boy through caesarian section.

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