Suffering periods that lasted up to 21 days and finding sex difficult, Lauren Williams knew that something was wrong.
The 28-year-old from Chingford, Essex, was stunned to discover she had been born with a rare medical condition, which left her with two vaginas, two wombs and two cervixes.
Following the shocking diagnosis, and after an operation to create one single vagina, Lauren is enjoying life more and is even able to laugh about her unique configuration.
In her early twenties, Lauren could never have guessed the reason why she found some sexual positions uncomfortable.
"I just presumed I must have a short vagina." It was only when she went for a smear test at 24 that she was alerted to the fact that she could have a medical problem. Lauren explains: "I'd had smear tests done before but they were all with nurses. This time I saw a doctor who said that something didn't look quite right down there and referred me to a gynaecologist."
By this time, Lauren also had concerns about her periods which were lasting 21 days. "I put it down to the fact that I'd been using a contraceptive implant for three years which had made my cycle go haywire."
The gynaecologist diagnosed Lauren with a bicornuate uterus, which meant that it had a septum down the middle giving it the shape of a heart.
As this could have increased her chances of miscarriage in the future, she was booked in for an operation to fix it.
After coming round from the anaesthetic, a doctor came to tell her that she'd been misdiagnosed.
"He arrived with a troop of other medics and sat on my bed," Lauren recalls. "He seemed quite excited and said that they'd got the prognosis wrong. I didn't have a bicornuate uterus after all. I actually had two of everything. Two uteruses, two cervixes and two vaginas. I was shocked. I'd never noticed that I had two vaginas and none of my previous boyfriends had either. Even the doctor said he'd never seen anything like it before."
The surgeon removed the barrier between her two vaginas, leaving her with one big one. "The vagina I was using was half the size of a normal one."
Following the operation Lauren had to keep packing her vagina with giant swabs to prevent a new barrier from forming.
"I'd never really examined myself down there before," she says. "But it seemed strange to me how none of the doctors and nurses that I'd seen over the years had cottoned on to the problem."
"I was worried that I'd been left with a huge vagina, but I felt uncomfortable about bringing it up with the doctors." It was two weeks before Lauren was able to have sex with her boyfriend of a year, Mike, 31.
"He wasn't at all fazed by my medical revelation, but the first time we made love after the operation was a big deal for me. I felt like I was some sort of born again virgin. The sex was fine though and I no longer found certain positions uncomfortable."
Lauren has now been able to lead a normal life. "Having two of everything doesn't bother me. I find it quite amusing and don't mind telling people about it." If she decides to have a family she will have to take extra precautions while pregnant. "The doctor told me that conceiving won't be a problem as the uterus with the baby inside will push the other one to one side. But I'll have to use condoms throughout the pregnancy to stop myself falling pregnant in my other womb. That's going to feel really weird."
Lauren separated from Mike in March last year and has been single ever since.
"My vagina looks completely normal so I've got no fears about getting into a new relationship. As a veterinary nurse I compare myself to a cat as they've got two uterine horns! I accept who I am and any boyfriend will have to too inside and out."