Paige DeAngelo, 20, a college student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is born with uterine didelphys.
This means that DeAngelo was born with two fully functioning reproductive systems. She has two uteruses, two cervixes, and two vaginas.
Because of this condition, she also gets two periods.
DeAngelo could be pregnant in one of her uteruses without realizing it until she had other symptoms, and she could also fall pregnant in both wombs at the same time.
Due to the fact that both of her reproductive systems are functional, each of her wombs goes through a full menstrual cycle.
Unlike many other women, the 20-year-old’s body completes two menstrual cycles, one from each uterus. She could conceive a baby in one womb, while the other continues to have a period.
DeAngelo was not diagnosed with uterine didelphys until the age of 18 when she visited the gynecologist for the first time.
She went to visit the gynecologist for a routine check-up because of her irregular periods, but after the examinations, the doctors advised her to call her mother, so that they both hear her diagnosis.
“I always had a very irregular period but it was actually two cycles switching on and off,” DeAngelo explained. “Sometimes it would be once a month and other times it would be twice a month, only a couple weeks apart.”
DeAngelo said that when she tells people about her condition, the shock reactions remain consistent. She also added that most people make the same misconception about the anatomy of her body.
DeAngelo said many assume that both of her vaginas are visible on the exterior of her body, however, she explained that is not actually the case.
“People think [I have] two separate vaginas on the outside [of my body] but that is not the case which is why I didn’t find out for 18 years,” she told SWNS. “Each “side” is half the size of a normal vagina. It doesn’t cause any issues but it’s definitely noticeable.”
“[The gynecologist] didn’t tell me straight away, but when I saw the look on her face I knew something wasn’t right,” she recalled. “We had no idea the severity of it.”
DeAngelo, who was just 18 at the time, was told that there was likely just some extra tissue but was booked in for an MRI the following week.
“The person that gave it actually gasped and laughed out loud when they first saw it,” DeAngelo recalled. “I was like “what the heck, what is that?” and they were like, “You have two reproductive systems!”
“I thought it was kind of funny at first,” she said. “I’d never heard of that, but then when I went back to the gynecologist and we talked about what it entailed that that’s when it kind of hit me.”
DeAngelo initially did not take her condition seriously, but she soon learned that it actually puts her at a higher risk of miscarriages and premature births, because each of her wombs is smaller than usual.
She was also told by a doctor that if she wanted to have children in the future, she’d probably have to have a surrogate, news that reduced her to tears.
“I was alone when I was driving back and I was just bawling my eyes out,” DeAngelo said. “That was so heartbreaking to hear. I wanted to have a future where I grow up and have a big family.”
Despite her condition, DeAngelo remains optimistic and has found a community with other women, and mothers, who live with uterine didelphys.
“I’m in a Facebook support group with girls that have the condition and a lot of them have one child every five miscarriages,” she said. “It disheartening but I’m kind of glass half full person – the fact that people have had kids is what keeps me going.”
Women with uterine didelphys can be born with two full reproductive systems. The vaginas are not noticeable from the outside but have it has a piece of tissue separating them called a septum.
To educate people who have questions about her condition, DeAngelo started her TikTok channel.
“I’ve definitely reached a lot of people from my TikToks which has been pretty awesome, besides some of the weird, creepy comments which I definitely expected by talking about my vagina!”
“A lot of girls who have the same issue DMed me saying they felt so alone this whole time,” she said. “Being able to bring all those people together was the reason why I did this – I knew I felt really alone and really scared when I found out.”
“I’m glad I’ve created a safe space for other females to reach out for help.”