MRKH Syndrome

Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser Syndrome is a condition that affects approximately 1 in 5000 women. Learn more about it by reading this article.

We've heard of heart malformations and limb deformities but genital malformations? This is part of Mayer Rokitanksy Kuster Hauser Syndrome(MRKH) which includes a short or nonexistent vagina, no cervix, and a partial or absent uterus. The causes are unknown.

Most women find about this when they are teenagers. Some girls may find out at a young age when they have surgeries for some other problems such as hernias. Yet the majority find out when their periods won't come. They despair because sisters got their periods at earlier ages. They think they're "late bloomers".

A visit to the obstetrician-gynecologist will be futile when the doctors are unable to do pelvic exams on them because of their short or nonexistent vaginas. Instead doctors use laparoscopic surgery where they insert a light through the navel or they use ultrasound to make a diagnosis. This way, the doctors are able to ascertain the condition of the reproductive organs.

Doctors should find normal ovaries and fallopian tubes. However, they should find no uterus or an incomplete one. An incomplete one is usually removed because it may cause cramps. Once the doctors find these problems, the question changes from why haven't I gotten a period to how can a doctor "cure" it? A doctor can't cure the 'no periods' part because the women don't have uteruses.

However, there are methods to achieve longer vaginal length through dilation or surgery. Most women have to use dilators, plastic objects that come in increasing sizes as the women use them over time to achieve full vaginal length. In more severe cases, there are several types of surgery available. Understanding partners and these methods usually allow MRKH women to have satisfying sex lives.

Another question is what about children? As of now, medical science will not allow MRKH women to bear their own children. There is adoption. There is also gestational surrogacy, where an egg is taken from the ovaries of the MRKH woman and the sperm from a man to produce an embryo which is implanted in the "host uterus" of another woman. The child or children that result from this are biologically the MRKH woman's. Other problems may come from this syndrome as well such as kidney problems, hearing loss, and bone malformations.

The psychological factors of this syndrome should be considered as as well as the physical ones. Women may grow depressed or may not feel like real women, and counseling should be available to them. It should be stressed that MRKH women are biological women with XX chromosomes and secondary sex characteristics such as breasts and body hair.

Greater awareness of this syndrome has become possible because of the Internet: a search on any of the major search engines should pull up sites, online clubs, and support networks for women with MRKH. In the past, women used to feel ashamed and isolated because of MRKH, but thanks to the Internet, they can empower themselves with the latest MRKH information and connections with others like them.

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