What are some common anomalies of the vagina/hymen?
Anomalies of hymen
The hymenal membrane consists of connective tissue attached to the vaginal wall. Variations can occur when there is loss of central degradation of the hymen during development. This results in the presence of “excess” hymenal tissue that can block the opening of the vagina.
Depending on the variation, the hymen can be completely imperforate (covering the entire opening to the vagina) or partially imperforate (only covering a portion of the vaginal opening).
Anomalies of the vagina
Septa are common vaginal anomalies in which there is extra tissue within the vaginal canal. Septa can be oriented either horizontally in the vagina, as in “transverse vaginal septum,” or vertically in the vagina, called “longitudinal vaginal septum.” These septa arise from different variations in the embryologic development of the vagina and also can cause varying degrees of symptoms.
They are each associated with different types of “co-variations” of development. Notably, transverse vaginal septa are associated with a higher risk of renal anomalies, and longitudinal septa are associated with uterine anomalies.
Vaginal agenesis (absence of a vagina)
Absence of a vagina is rare variation in development. Typically, girls are diagnosed in adolescence when they present to a doctor with the absence of a period.
This is also associated with various anomalies affecting the uterus, most commonly, absence of a uterus. Notably, ovaries are typically normal with this type of variation.
What are some anomalies of the uterus?
Defects involving the uterus are commonly referred to as “Müllerian” anomalies. They result from variations in the Müllerian tubes, the “progenitors” to the female reproductive system. As such, the different types of uterine anomalies are often grouped with respect to their corresponding variation in the development of the Müllerian system.
Common examples include bicornuate uretus, unicornuate uterus, acrcuate uterus, and didelphys uterus.
Specialists for Congenital Abnormalities of the Genitourinary Disorders in Women
Northwestern Medicine has compiled a transdisciplinary team of specialists from various backgrounds to uniquely evaluate and care for the needs of women with complicated congenital abnormalities of the genitourinary tract.
Our team includes:
Meet Our Team
These specialists provide customized, compassionate, full-service care for all pelvic floor disorders in a confidential environment.
To schedule an appointment with our team, call 312.694.PFDS (7337).