What is Vaginal Fusion and Duplication?

Causes

What Causes Vaginal Fusion and Duplication?

Most of the female reproductive system comes from two structures, known as müllerian ducts. These ducts become the fallopian tubes, uterus and vagina in females.

They form into reproductive organs during the ninth week of pregnancy. In rare cases, the "fusion" or "duplication" of organs can occur. For example:

  • In uterus didelphys, there are two each of a uterus, cervix and vagina. One vagina is blocked, and the other is unblocked.
  • In uterus duplex bicollis, there are two uteruses and cervix, but only one vagina.
  • In bicornate uterus, there are two uteruses fused with one cervix and one vagina.

Symptoms

What are the Signs of Vaginal Fusion and Duplication?

There may be no obvious signs. Sometimes the outer organs may not look normal.

In adult women, infertility is the main problem.

For a baby or young girl, early signs of this disease could be:

  • Urine pooling then leaking from the vagina during and after urinating
  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • A lump or mass in the lower belly
  • Discomfort with puberty

Diagnosis

How are Vaginal Fusion and Duplication Diagnosed?

Some fusion abnormalities can be seen in newborns. Lumps in the lower belly, found with a physical exam may signal this problem. An ultrasound can show why a lump pushes the bladder forward and the vagina back.

Some patients with complete duplication and a block are found at puberty. A girl can get her period, but she will feel uncomfortable. At that time a lump in the lower belly can be seen. This lump is from the buildup of menstrual fluid in the blocked vagina.

If a physical exam doesn’t show a problem, an exam called a vaginoscopy may be done. For this exam, a scope is placed in the vagina to let the surgeon to see inside. Sometimes an MRI is used to get a full diagnosis.

Treatment

How is Vaginal Fusion and Duplication Treated?

Not everyone needs treatment. Each woman should be treated based on her well-being and pregnancy goals.

Surgery is needed to treat vaginal fusion and duplication when:

  • The condition is causing symptoms
  • A woman is unable to get pregnant
  • A woman has had miscarriages

Surgical treatment can allow a woman to have a healthy pregnancy. If there is complete duplication with a block, the urologist can surgically drain fluid. Other times, more involved surgery is needed.

After Treatment

What to Expect After Treatment?

After treatment, many women have no medical or pregnancy problems.