Woman, 21, Learns She Has a 'Duplicate' Vagina During Treatment for Constant Sexual Arousal

After living nearly her entire life in "pain" from Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder, an art student, 21, says doctors discovered her condition

<p>Scarlet Wallen/SWNS</p> Scarlet Wallen, who has Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD).

Scarlet Wallen/SWNS

Scarlet Wallen, who has Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD).

A Barrington, Rhode Island, woman discovered she had a “duplicate” vagina after seeking treatment for a rare disorder that’s caused her to live in a constant state of arousal for most of her life.

Scarlet Kaitlin Wallen, 21, says she experiences a constant “pins-and-needles” sensation in her genitals, and the persistent sensation is painful enough to keep her from working or studying full-time, according to the Southwest News Service, via the New York Post.

“I’d been experiencing pain for as long as I remember,” the part-time art student told the outlet. “My vulva was constantly burning — it was like I was naturally aroused but I didn’t want it.”

Her disorder, Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD), is an “extremely rare” disorder, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and affects an estimated 1% of women.

<p>Scarlet Wallen/SWNS</p> Scarlet Wallen.

Scarlet Wallen/SWNS

Scarlet Wallen.

It’s marked by “unpredictable, uncontrollable physical sensations associated with sexual arousal — but in the absence of desire.” And these symptoms don’t resolve with orgasms, the Cleveland Clinic notes, adding that “PGAD doesn’t feel good in the way that sexual arousal does.”

Wallen compared the sensation to “burning bugs under her skin,” and said “There’s nerve pain, it’s not wanted — and there’s no pleasure. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to have a painless sexual relationship in my lifetime.”

The Cleveland Clinic says that the disorder, which was only recognized in 2001, “is so new that researchers are still learning about which treatments and coping strategies work best” and points to medications, physical therapy, and behavioral therapies as ways to cope.

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Wallen said she was so desperate for relief from her condition that she used vapor rub, a menthol-indused topical ointment commonly used to help open up airways during bouts of chest congestion, on her genitals, telling SWNS that the pain was better than the PGAD.

“At least if it wasn’t treating me, the pain I’d get from it was distracting,” she said. “I wanted my genitals to burn from that, rather than the PGAD.”

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<p>Scarlet Wallen/SWNS</p> Scarlet Wallen.

Scarlet Wallen/SWNS

Scarlet Wallen.

Wallen shared that a doctor diagnosed her with hypersensitive pelvic nerves, which is believed to have caused her PGAD. She was scheduled for a vestibulectomy — surgery to remove the painful tissue — but it was during that examination that her doctor made a shocking discovery.

“They found I had a duplicate [vagina],” she told SWNS.

What she had was a septate vaginal wall, which the Cleveland Clinic explains is a “a wall of tissue” that divides the vagina into two parts.

So in February 2023, Wallen underwent surgery to have the septate wall removed, and seven months later she had her vestibulectomy.

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However, she shared that she only had parts of the painful tissue removed, as she’d also been diagnosed with post-SSRI sexual dysfunction, a “numbing” effect in the genitals that can be caused by some anti-depressants in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class, the National Library of Medicine says.

“I was told there was a significant possibility I wouldn’t be able to feel any sort of natural sexual arousal again if I had all of it removed — due to my post-SSRI sexual dysfunction.”

“I still want to have a sexual relationship,” Wallen told SWNS, “but my choice is currently between living with PGAD or being completely numb."

“I’m just hopeful that one day I’ll be able to live a normal life.”

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