By Isabelle Loynes and Anna Hodgekiss. A teenager has spoken of her 'total shock' at being told at the age of 17 she had no vagina. Jacqui Beck, 19, has MRKH, an rare syndrome which affects the reproductive system - meaning she has no womb, cervix or vaginal opening. She was only diagnosed after she went to her GP about back pain - and mentioned in passing that she hadn't started her periods.
Shock: Jacqui Beck was told at the age of 17 she had no vagina. She was diagnosed with MRKH, an unusual syndrome which affects the reproductive system - meaning she has no womb, cervix or vaginal opening. Tests revealed her condition and that where her vagina should be, there is simply an ident, or 'dimple' - meaning she is unable to have sex or carry her own child. Miss Beck, from the Isle of Wight, admits when she was first diagnosed, she felt 'like a freak'. All the things I had imagined doing suddenly got erased from my future.
Unaware: Miss Beck explained she has a 'dimple' where her vagina should be so from the outside it looks normal - hence why the condition wasn't detected in her younger years. Unexpected: Miss Beck was only diagnosed after she went to her GP about back pain - and mentioned in passing that she hadn't started her periods.
Tests revealed her condition, which means she is unable to have sex or carry her own child. Because she had never attempted to have a physical relationship, Miss Beck had never noticed the problem herself.
Had she tried, she would have discovered it was impossible for her to have sex. Women suffering from the condition will have normally functioning ovaries and so will experience the normal signs of puberty but will not have periods or be able to conceive.
Many women are able to create a vaginal canal using dilation treatment, which uses cylinder shaped dilators of different sizes to stretch the muscles. However, if this is unsuccessful then surgery will be used to stretch the vaginal canal. Following treatment women are able to have intercourse and can have their eggs removed and fertilised to be used in surrogacy. Most discover they have the condition because they haven't started their periods, but some find out when they struggle to have intercourse. Miss Beck explained she has a 'dimple' where her vagina should be so from the outside it looks normal - which explains why the condition wasn't detected earlier.
Despite the shocking news, she is trying to see her condition in a positive light - and even as a way of making sure she meets the right man. She says that as a teenager, she was blissfully unaware of her condition - with no idea that the development she was waiting for would never happen. They started carrying tampons around, complaining about cramps and sharing notes on what it was like.
Instead, she focused on her future and when she was 17, applied to attend a music college in Guildford. But after suffering from pain in her neck in summer , she went to see her GP. He just suggested that he would do some scans to see what the problem was. Hindsight: Miss Beck says that as a teenager, she was blissfully unaware of her condition - with no idea that the development she was waiting for would never happen.
Women with MRKH appear completely normal externally - which means it is often not discovered in childhood, but in the teenage years. When scans showed nothing, she was referred to a gynaecologist, who immediately spotted something was wrong. So mortified by what she had heard, she was too embarrassed to admit to family and friends she had the condition - let alone the prospect of telling any future boyfriends. YouTube Jacqui Beck. Help: Miss Beck is now undergoing treatment to help her try and have intercourse in the future.
Focusing on her treatment, Miss Beck was admitted to the Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital in London, which specialises in the condition. Honest: Miss Beck says she now wants to speak out about her condition to raise awareness of it.
But now I've got used to it, I see it as any other form of treatment. It was great to speak to other girls who felt like me. Thankfully, her treatment has worked and if she continues she will not need surgery and when she chooses to, will be able to have intercourse.
Further down the line there are more difficult conversations she will have to have to have when she wants to have children. I will use a surrogate, or adopt, but I will have to make sure any guy I meet is ok with that too.
For Miss Beck, her one hope is that the condition becomes more well known, so that other women realise they have it earlier than she did. So, I recently came out to everyone on Facebook, telling them about my condition.
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