What is a Congenital Anomaly?
A congenital anomaly may develop while a female fetus is in utero —when the tissue between the two ridges fails to disintegrate and the ridges do not come together to form the vagina and uterus. When this happens, you may develop differences (congenital anomalies) in your reproductive organs, including the uterus, cervix, vagina and hymen.
Congenital anomalies not only play a role in the anatomical and functional aspects of an adolescent’s life, but have a significant impact on the psychological health of a patient, especially during the adolescent period. The aesthetic appearance of the genitalia may affect a girl's body image if left untreated.
Some young women will have signs or symptoms depending on the type of developmental difference including a total lack of no menstrual bleeding despite the presence of other signs of puberty. In some cases, it may mean the uterus did not develop completely or there may be a blockage. If a blockage of the menstrual flow is preventing menstrual blood from leaving the uterus, cyclic abdominal or pelvic pain usually occurs.
Adolescent gynecology clinics at Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center have providers that are sensitive to a young woman’s health issues and concerns and we take the time to listen, diagnose, and provide a plan of care for treatment of issues such as congenital anomalies.
Vaginal agenesis or absence of the vagina involves many issues including concerns about body image, sexual identity and sexual/reproductive functioning. It is normal to feel confused. Omaha’s only adolescent gynecology clinic at Methodist Physicians Clinic Women’s Center has providers who are trained in the sensitive area of congenital anomalies.
Some teens have a type of developmental difference of the reproductive organs that may include:
Extra tissue dividing the uterus or vagina (a septum), usually found during an annual exam or an ultrasound.
Extra tissue at the hyman, or entrance to the vagina, commonly noticed when it is hard to place a tampon, have sex or during your routine annual exam.
Most teens with developmental differences of their uterus do not have symptoms. The difference may be noted for the first time after a routine pelvic exam or with an ultrasound.
Many teens with a developmental difference of the uterus will not need any treatment. If your adolescent is having severe pain during her periods, the gynecologist may recommend surgery. If a vagina is not fully developed, it can usually be stretched to a normal length. If a teen is diagnosed with vaginal agenesis (absence of the vagina), surgery can be performed.
With a variety of sensitive issues that are important for both the healthy function of the body and the healthy psychological needs of your adolescent, you can feel confident that you can share your concerns with your OB/GYN and help to find the best answers for your teen.