Aunt Vadge: double vagina – what are my options for surgery?

Dear Aunt Vadge, 

A couple of months ago I went to a consultant after realising I had a divide in my vagina. I’m 23 now, but only noticed the divide was unusual when I started dating my boyfriend at 21. He would sometimes get pain trying to fully enter my vagina and I would always experience pain!

I thought it was normal until I went for an STI check again at 21, and the nurse asked me if I had been pregnant before which I was shocked at and straight away looked up what the divide could be! I reckon she thought I had a prolapsed vagina?!

Anyway I went to this consultant three months ago and she sent me on for an MRI and then a bladder check, she came back with a conclusion that I had a ‘double vagina’ [longitudinal vaginal septum] only, everything else is in perfect working order and there is no risk with future pregnancies etc.

That was the extent of my information after paying nearly 400 for all the consultancies and MRI! I’ve been looking into this ‘septum’ in the vagina/double vagina and I’ve seen that you can have a surgery to remove it. I definitely need to have this surgery, I don’t understand why she didn’t relay that option or gave me any information on possible surgery.

Although a well credited gynaecologist and consultant, I felt my case was the first she had come across, and it worries me that others in her field here in the south of Ireland are as inexperienced?! Where would I go to get this surgery if that is the case? Surely I would need a surgeon who has seen many double vaginas and performed many incisions or septum extractions (whatever the right term is) to perform the surgery.

So my main question is, who do I go to from here, what are the risks, and what is the outcome of have such a surgery?

Thanks in advance.

Hi Duble,

Thanks for your email. You are right to be concerned about the lack of experience in vaginal septum abnormalities. The treatment for a longitudinal vaginal septum is surgery to remove the middle section (the septum), and is called a septoplasty.

This surgery is reasonably straightforward as in, the septum is removed and the bases of the septum are joined together. Your surgeon should be experienced in this surgery, so it would pay to call around hospitals in Ireland, starting with your largest cities, to see – there will be someone who knows how to do this.

If that isn’t an option,you may wish to consider travelling to have the surgery, though I would think there are a number of excellent surgeons in Ireland who would have experience in these cases, as few as they might be. It is not your regular gynaecological problem!

The Atlas of Pelvic Surgery has an excellent set of diagrams that accurately depict the surgery, so take a look.

In terms of outcomes, the surgery will keep you in hospital for one or two days (though some women are out the same day), and is healed up in weeks. You are able to have sex again in just a month.

Any surgery comes with risks, and your surgeon will explain these to you. The risks are generally poor healing and scar tissue, nerve damage, and infection. Because the surgery isn’t too invasive, risks can be really minimised, and the benefits will be great – having no pain during sex, being able to use tampons, and have a baby without problems seems worth it.

You really do need to find a good surgeon though, one who has done this before – not just once, either! Having a learner driver operating on your reproductive organs is not recommended under any circumstances (unless an emergency obviously!), because any nerve damage or scarring can ruin your sex life for all of time. There are a lot of nerve endings around that area.

To find the surgeon of your dreams, call hospitals, specialists and gynaecologists – just make a spreadsheet, get a list of everyone practicing in Ireland, and start calling. Someone will know something, and have recommendations, including reception staff at hospitals and gynaecology offices.

Find the person everyone recommends – the medical world is pretty small once you get down to it, and specialists in this type of operation are not going to be found many places. The search should be pretty short, but be thorough and get as many opinions as you need to feel in good hands.

Write back anytime!

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge  

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