An obstetrician and gynaecologist in Lagos, Dr. Faye Iketubosin, has encouraged girls and women who were born without vaginas to urgently seek medical help.
The immediate past President of the Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health stated that the health disorder can be surgically corrected if patients present at the facility early.
Iketubosin's statement was a reaction to a tweet posted by a legal practitioner, Malachy Odo, via his official Twitter handle @MalachyOdo.
Odo had narrated how a man has stormed the court seeking a divorce from his wife of two years because he discovered that she had no vagina.
His tweet reads, "In court yesterday, a guy claimed that his reason for seeking to divorce his wife of two years was because she does not have a vagina…"
According to PUNCH HealthWise, a puzzled Dr. Faye Iketubosin disclosed that what the man ought to be looking for is a corrective measure, not divorce as stated.
The physician described the woman's condition as vaginal agenesis; adding, "It is a rare disorder that occurs when the vagina doesn't develop, and the womb (uterus) may only develop partially or not at all."
Iketubosin, who is also the Medical Director of George Memorial Medical Centre, noted that this condition is present before birth, and may also be associated with kidney, heart or skeletal abnormalities.
"There is nothing that predisposes to it; it is the way the vaginal fails to develop at the embryonic stage" he added.
His statement was further corroborated by a report by the US-based Centre for Congenital Anomalies of the Reproductive Tract, which posits that vaginal agenesis affects one out of 5,000 to 7,000 female infants.
"Sometimes, vaginal agenesis is recognised at birth. Most times, the condition isn't diagnosed until puberty, when the teen notices she hasn't started her period and seeks medical advice," the centre said.
Continuing, it says, "90 percent of patients are born with the condition, also known as Mayer-von Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser's Syndrome (MRKH);" and they have a collection of symptoms which may include an absent uterus and cervix, kidney, hearing loss, and a possible spinal abnormality such as curvature of the spine.
"All [affected] females will either have an absent vagina or an incomplete vaginal canal," it said.
Physicians say that 30 percent of patients with vaginal agenesis have kidney abnormalities. "Usually, one kidney is absent or one or both kidneys are dislocated. The kidneys could also be fused together in a horseshoe shape," the centre said.
"Approximately 12 per cent of girls with vaginal agenesis have skeletal abnormalities. Two-thirds of those patients experience minor problems with the spine, ribs or limbs," physicians warn.
According to Iketubosin, who is also a fertility expert, this condition may interfere with a woman's ability to conceive.
"The condition may also be corrected, depending on the type of vaginal agenesis. It is a developmental problem and a developmental problem can be partial or complete.
"Partial means that the womb develops but the vagina doesn't. Complete means that there is no womb, no vagina. If there is no womb and no vagina, there is no menstruation.
"Menstruation for such women is dependent on if the stage of development of vaginal agenesis in such people is confined to the vagina and not to the rest of the genital tracts.
"Because the uterus, the ovaries, the Fallopian tube and the vagina all come from what is called the Mullerian duct.
"So, if it is a complete lack of development, we won't have a uterus either but if it is partial, the uterus is developed and it is only the vagina that is not developed.
"Then it is possible to surgically create a vagina that leads to the uterus. Then conception will be possible."
He added that because the outer sex organs appear normal, the anomaly is often not found until around age 15 or until girls reach their teens but do not menstruate.