What is it ?
A woman born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome suffers from a partial or total absence of the vagina and the uterus. This rare disease is a result of an insufficient development of the embryo and the fusion of the Müller canals between the 4 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, this "malformation" does not prevent the proper development of women's sexual characteristics such as the production of hormones at puberty, monthly ovulation and the growth into adulthood. This syndrome affects many women as soon as they come out of the womb.
Who is affected?
One in 5000 women would be affected by this disease. However, since the main symptom is the absence of menstruation, women with the syndrome can only be diagnosed around the age of 15.
Causes of MRKH Syndrome
The causes of MRKH are still unknown, but they seem to be related to particular genes.
- Total absence of menstruation, also called primary amenorrhoea.
- Inability to have complete intercourse (this is known as complete penetration). If the penetration is partial, it can still be quite painful and uncomfortable.
- Absence of the cervix and a very short vagina depth.
- Infertility related to the absence of the uterus, which makes it impossible to carry a child. In all cases of Müller agenesis, pregnancy can not take place.
- Other factors must be taken into account as they may be related to the syndrome: deafness, kidney problems or skeletal problems (such as scoliosis).
It is strongly recommended that you consult a health professional if you experience one or more of the symptoms listed above to exclude other causes that may have the same characteristics.
Generally, the MRKH symptom can be diagnosed around the age of 15 due to the worry of a lack of menstruation. The tests are done using an ultrasound or an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Since the genitals seem perfectly normal to the naked eye, a routine gynecological examination can not reveal the partial or complete absence of the uterus.
The 2 types of possible treatments
Non surgical treatment
This is a technique called vaginal dilation. In fact, woman with MRKH experiences pain and discomfort in the vaginal cavity because it is usually very short. Long-term use of vaginal dilators allows to slowly stretch the skin of the vaginal area. The pressure exerted by the dilators against the vaginal walls causes a stretching of the skin and allows to form and extend the vaginal canal.
It is best to use vaginal dilators gradually and at its own pace. Indeed, sets of dilators generally contain several sizes to allow a gradual rehabilitation. This treatment is very enticing since it takes about 6 months and has an effectiveness rate of nearly 90%. In order to ensure effective treatment and promote optimal results, it is important to be regular in your dilation sessions. This type of treatment makes it possible to gain nearly 8 to 10 cm of vaginal cavity! It also helps to be sensitive to hormonal variations and sexual stimulation in the vagina area. In addition to having a ring for easy handling, Floravi's vaginal dilators are made of high quality silicone and have an ergonomic shape that makes the insertion easier. The Floravi set includes 4 vaginal dilators with widths and diameters of different sizes for a safe and comfortable progression. You can discover the set of dilators of Floravi by clicking here, do not forget the essentials: the water-based lubricant as well as the antibacterial cleanser Steri-clean.
This treatment is often considered as a solution only if the use of dilators was inconclusive. As a result, a surgical procedure called "neovagin" can be considered. It is actually a transplant that will create a vaginal canal, at least in similarity. The patient will still have to use vaginal dilators for 3 months following the surgery to obtain a satisfied and firmer vagina.
The surgery is quite painful and recovery is not easy. However, once the adaptation to this new vaginal cavity is complete, the woman will be able to fully appreciate sexual activities like any other woman. Unfortunately, this surgery does not allow pregnancy since the uterus is still missing.
Progeny, can we have children?
As mentioned above, women with MRKH syndrome can not become pregnant and carry a child until birth. However, it is still possible to have a child with the following options:
- By adoption. Adoption consists of assuming parental responsibility and raising a baby or a child, despite the absence of a genetic link. Whether or not they are able to have children naturally, this option allows women and couples to become parents of an infant or teenager legally and legitimately.
- By gestational motherhood. This process involves using a third party to carry the child of another woman who is unable to do so herself. She is also called surrogate mother. This person receives an embryo created from the ovum and sperm of the future parents. Following delivery, these donors become the legal parents of the child while the surrogate is not present as a parent in the newborn's life. It is also possible to use this option even if the ovaries or sperm come from a person outside the couple. In this case, the parents will remain legitimate without sharing a genetic link.
- By uterine transplant. Attention, this is still a highly experimental procedure. The procedure consists of an organ transplant that allows pregnancy. Although some procedures with a few patients were successful, this type of procedure is still insufficient and can not be proposed by specialists to their patients as an easily and accessible treatment.