Vaginal agenesis is a rare congenital birth defect that can occur in females. Patients with vaginal agenesis, are born without a vagina, or with a very short vaginal canal. Many patients who are are born with this condition also suffer from other reproductive organ defects such as an absent or small uterus. In addition some patients also suffer from kidney abnormalities. Most cases of vaginal agenesis remain unnoticed until puberty, when the condition prevents menstruation from beginning.
Diagnosis of Vaginal Agenesis
To diagnose vaginal agenesis, a physical examination and imaging tests are usually performed. These imaging tests typically include an ultrasound, and in some cases, an MRI, to view a patient's reproductive organs in greater detail.
Treatment for Vaginal Agenesis
Treatment for vaginal agenesis may vary depending on the patient's individual condition. Two common types of treatment for vaginal agenesis may include:
Some females may be able to reconstruct their vaginas non-surgically through daily use of a dilator. Using a very small tube called a dilator, the patient applies pressure over the vaginal area for about twenty minutes each day to stretch the vaginal canal.
Surgical reconstruction of the vagina, the most common form of treatment for vaginal agenesis, is achieved through a procedure known as vaginoplasty. This procedure reconstructs the vagina with a graft of skin or tissue from the inner-cheek lining, which is then applied to an incision where the vagina would normally be located.
Recovery from Vaginal Agenesis Treatment
Patients that have undergone vaginoplasty usually need to wear a vaginal dilator for three months following surgery. It is removed for showering, urination, bowel movements, and sexual intercourse. About six weeks after surgery, most patients can have sexual intercourse, although patients should consult with their doctor beforehand.
With proper treatment, most patients recover well from vaginal agenesis and lead healthy lives.