Congenital vaginal obstructions: Varied presentation and outcome

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Paediatric Surgery


Congenital obstructing lesions of vagina, hydrometrocolpos, and hematocolpos, present at a variable time during early childhood and adolescence to different medical and surgical specialties. Twenty-six cases presenting over an 18-years period (1987–2005) were divided into three groups; Group A: neonates (6), Group B: adolescents (18), and Group C: adults (2). Common presentations in neonates (Group A) were abdominal mass (5), neonatal sepsis (3), and respiratory distress (2); whereas abdominal pain (18), voiding dysfunctions (13), and backache (7) were prevalent in adolescents (Group B). Adults (Group C) presented with inability to consummate and infertility (2). Four patients received erroneous treatment; exploratory laparotomy (1) and appendectomy (3). Urinary symptoms and associated urinary abnormalities were present in more than 50% of cases, especially those with complex anomalies. Management included excision of imperforate hymen (16) and transverse vaginal septum (8) through perineal (20) and abdominoperineal approach (4). Patients with urogenital sinus (1) and cloacal malformation (1) had staged reconstruction at 2.5 years of age following preliminary vesicostomy and colostomy at birth. On follow up (range 1–15 years; mean 7) more than 60% patients have menstrual irregularity (11), endometriosis (5), and infertility (4). In conclusion, rarity and variable presentation of congenital vaginal obstructions can lead to delayed diagnosis and erroneous management. A high index of suspicion and cross-sectional imaging help in early diagnosis and associated renal anomalies. A comprehensive management is imperative to preserve the reproductive potentials, as significant proportion of patients may experience sexual difficulties, menstrual irregularity, and infertility.


Pediatric Surgery International