Lifestyle

Nursery worker faces 60hrs of painful treatment to stretch vagina to have sex

A nursery worker is gearing up for 60 hours of gruelling treatment to stretch her vagina – all so she can have sex comfortably.

Tk Kennedy was 17 when she was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, which means she doesn’t have a womb, cervix and part of her vagina.

The 20-year-old’s “life-changing” diagnosis means she won’t have a period or be able to carry her own children.

It also makes sex difficult, which is why she’s going through “painful” treatment to dilate her vagina.

She does this for 20 minutes twice a day – and will continue for three months in a bid to have intercourse without any discomfort.

Tk, from Verwood, Dorset, has “learned to embrace” her condition and is sharing her experiences with MRKH online to raise awareness for others who have also been diagnosed.

Tk had her first doctor's appointment in April 2019 but wasn’t diagnosed with MRKH until that October following an MRI scan.

She recalled: "When I was 17 I still hadn't started my period and had gone to the doctors and told them and they said 'oh, you're just a late bloomer', 'it will be fine, you'll start' and kept pushing me away.

"I [later] was like 'look, this is it, I've had enough, don't push me away. Something's up because I still haven't started'.

"They said that they thought I might have polycystic ovary syndrome and sent me for an ultrasound and after an hour he was like 'oh, maybe you just don't have a womb'.

"And I was like 'wait, hold up, what? You can be born without a womb?’”

Tk continued: "I went with my mum [for a later appointment] and he sat me down and said 'looking over your scan photos, I'm really sorry but you have MRKH'.

"The appointment before was 'maybe you have it', I grieved then. So it was more just the shock of 'wow, I do actually have it' and my life has been changed, now I have to live with this condition and all the plans for the future about pregnancy are no more. It was a big shock."

The syndrome has impacted Tk’s life as it prevents her from being able to have sex without it hurting.

She said: "I have a very short vaginal canal and don't have a cervix or a womb. My vaginal canal is not properly developed so it's very very little so I'm unable to have comfortable sex without treatment or surgery.

"With treatment you use dilators and start with a very very tiny one no bigger than the size of your pinky and stretch to make your vagina canal bigger so that when it comes to sex it's comfortable and you're stretched big enough to be able to have sex without it being painful."

TK added: "You have to do treatment for 20 minutes twice a day which is a lot and for me I work 10 hour days four days a week, so trying to fit it either side of that can be quite challenging. I'm still yet to work that out beforehand.

"I think it's three months if your body takes to it but again depending on the person they might not have to dilate as much because their vagina canal is longer and it can vary, and if your body takes to it, it can be shorter but if it doesn't it can be more work and make it longer.

"You can dilate through sex but it’s likely to be very painful because there’s basically no room to be able to have sex. It depends on the person because they might have a long enough vagina canal so they can have sex and it might only be uncomfortable for the first few times.

"All my girlfriends are obviously not doing it so it's just another thing that highlights how different I am and a reminder of this condition because it can be quite upsetting and it's not a nice thing to go through and going to be painful and uncomfortable, but yet it's something that I want to do so that I can have sex."

The childcare practitioner is hoping to go through with treatment next year – at the same time as a friend so they can support one another through it.

In the future, she will be able to have her own biological children via a surrogate as she has her own surrogate.

The keen singer jointly runs MRKH Stars which aims to support young and newly diagnosed women with the condition and she said that she's gained 'another family' from her involvement.

Tk said: "The positives I've found are friendships – without MRKH I would never have met these girls and actually have a really good friendship with them, and I can wear white when I like.

"I don't shy away from [MRKH] or hide it and shout from the rooftops [online] that I have this condition but I'm not going to let it consume me and I'm going to use it to my advantage to support others and spread awareness.

"It's nice to know that I can help others with it and raise awareness because I don't want them to go through what I went through, to have it in a way dropped on my lap, I want to give them the head up that it's a condition and it's not rare, it's just not talked about enough.

"When I met my best friend with MRKH she helped me realise that I didn't need to suffer in silence, I have someone to grieve with and understands where I'm coming from. I can now help others with it by supporting them and spreading awareness, and one day I could have a child of my own through adoption and give them a loving family.

“Now I don't see it as a weakness, I see it as a strength."

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