A mother born with two sets of reproductive organs has been forced to have a double hysterectomy at just 28.
Megan Argyle had both of her wombs surgically removed earlier this month after they were ravaged by endometriosis which left her in excruciating pain.
The condition occurs when cells in the lining of the womb grow on the outer layer of the uterus.
It causes the tissue to thicken, break down and bleed with each menstrual cycle, causing painful, heavy periods and irritation.
Ms Argyle was forced to have the hysterectomies – drastic procedures normally reserved for women in their 40s and 50s – because the agony was leaving her bed-bound and unable to work.
Her condition was made even more complicated by the fact she had two cervixes and two wombs, a disorder known as uterus didelphys.
It occurs when two smaller tubes in a female foetus fail to fuse into a single uterus, instead growing into two separate structures.
The condition, which affects one in 3,000 women, increases the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and bleeding during pregnancy.
But the mother-of-one became pregnant with daughter Rubie, now five, in 2014 and claims she was told there is a 90 per cent chance of miscarrying.
Ms Argyle, from Hull, Yorkshire, said: ‘Having a double hysterectomy was the best decision I have ever made.
‘I needed to get my quality of life back so I can be the best mum to my daughter Rubie.
‘I feel incredibly lucky to have her after the doctors warned me at 21 that I must try for a baby before I’m 30 and the chance of miscarriage was very high.
‘I was only 21 with my whole life ahead of me, I had never thought about children before.
‘But it seemed like a now or never decision as the endometriosis was getting worse and can cause further fertility problems.’
She added: ‘I suffered one miscarriage before giving birth to my miracle baby Rubie at 23.
‘But it has been so hard for me to enjoy activities with her because of my crippling endometriosis.
‘I am now happier than ever, and I can’t wait to be a mum again – I can’t wait to go swimming with my daughter and pick her up when she falls without being in excruciating pain.’
Ms Argyle revealed she was diagnosed with the painful endometriosis at 18, after suffering pain in her lower abdomen throughout her teens.
Tests also revealed a painful cyst had developed on her ovaries – a common side effect of endometriosis.
Despite four ablations – a surgical procedure that destroys the lining of the uterus and reduce menstrual flow whilst burning endometriosis away – it continued to grow back leaving the mother in constant pain.
She was desperate for a hysterectomy and requested one aged 26 years old, but medics were reluctant as they wanted to try contraceptive methods instead.
She trialled all contraceptive pills and a coil for each cervix, but to no avail. Birth control pills contain a progesterone-like hormone, which makes the lining of the uterus thinner and causes lighter bleeding episodes.
Ms Argyle added: ‘Nothing was helping, my heavy periods continued, and the pain never stopped.
‘My quality of life was getting worse and worse; I’ve lost count of how many times I was signed off work.
‘I would change up to three sanitary pads per hour and I was in constant agony to the point where I have to curl into a ball.
‘I have also been known to sit on the floor in shops as I physically couldn’t walk any more.
‘I was put into an induced menopause, but I continued to bleed so the doctor agreed a hysterectomy is the best option for me.’
Although the mother had both uterus’s removed on October 9 – her ovaries were not removed so she can have children using a surrogate in the future.
WHAT IS UTERUS DIDELPHYS?
Uterus didelphys, also known as a double uterus, is a condition where a woman is born with two uterus, to separate cervixes and sometimes two vaginas, though this is not always the case.
It occurs because in a female foetus, the uterus starts out as two small tubes.
As the foetus develops, the tubes normally join to create one larger, hollow organ — the uterus.
Sometimes the tubes don’t join completely and each one develops into a separate hollow organ so the woman is born with two wombs.
It often only becomes noticeable after puberty and is diagnosed with a physical exam or an ultrasound scan.
In terms of physical anatomy, the two wombs are often slightly smaller than average in order to fit, though they can be as big as a ‘normal’ womb.
It also makes it possible to be pregnant twice at the same time – with a baby in each womb.
Some women are also born with two vaginas, although they can have sex and menstruate in the same way as people with just one.
‘They may know they have two and be able to find them, or they may not realise,’ Dr Leila Hanna, a consultant gynaecologist & Obstetrician at BMI The Sloane Hospital, told MailOnline.
‘It can be painful because there are two squashed in the same area, so sometimes we do an operation to join them together, but its not necessary.
‘They could also have abnormalities of their kidneys and the tube which bring the urine from the bladder.’
Women will frequently have a slightly higher risk of late miscarriage, premature delivery and bleeding during pregnancy.
Often Caesarean sections are recommended, to reduce the risk of complications.
There is no treatment or cure for the condition.
WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS AND HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
Endometriosis occurs when cells in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Each month, these cells react in the same way as those in the womb; building up, breaking down and bleeding. Yet, the blood has no way to escape the body.
Symptoms include pain, heavy periods and fatigue, as well as a higher risk of infertility, and bowel and bladder problems.
Around 1.5million women in the UK are suffering from the disease.
Its cause is unknown but may be genetic, related to problems with the immune system or exposure to chemicals.
The only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is by a laparoscopy – an operation in which a camera – a laparoscope – is inserted into the pelvis via a small cut near the navel.
The surgeon uses the camera to see the pelvic organs and look for any signs of endometriosis.
If endometriosis is diagnosed, the endometriosis may be treated or removed for further examination during the laparoscopy.
Treatment focuses on pain relief and improving quality of life, which may include surgery or hormone treatment.