SURGERY: The unidentified man will have an operation to remove his female sexual organs
A businessman who thought the blood in his urine was a sign of bladder cancer has discovered that he has a fully functioning womb, and the blood could actually be from his monthly period.
The 37-year-old Lancashire man - who is being called Rob to protect his identity - discovered he has a full set of female reproductive organs after undergoing scans for suspected bladder cancer.
He is know preparing to have a hysterectomy to remove the uterus, even though it could apparently trigger the menopause.
Doctors believe Rob has a rare condition called persistent Müllerian duct syndrome (PMDS), which occurs when the body fails to produce or respond to certain hormones while developing during pregnancy.
Every foetus contains the beginnings of a womb, known as the Müllerian duct, but if the baby is male then it will produce hormones meaning this reduces and then disappears all together.
However in those with PMDS, the body either does not produce these hormones, or does not react to them properly, meaning the duct develops into a functioning womb. Because these hormones do not affect the growth of the penis, it means the child will also develop typical exterior male genitals.
Most cases are diagnosed at birth or puberty, although people can discover they have intersex bodies at any age.
Rob's condition was finally revealed when he had a MRI scan after reporting blood in his urine - something that had been happening since his late teens.
He said: "The diagnosis came as a bombshell. I've never seen myself as anything but an ordinary bloke who has a normal sex life.
"I was shocked when the consultant said I had a fully functioning set of women's reproductive organs, and I was even having periods."
He continued: "It appears I could even potentially get pregnant. But I've been told by doctors I'll be having a hysterectomy in the next few weeks. Bizarrely, that could lead to menopause."
SHOCKING DIAGNOSIS: 'Rob' thought the blood in his urine was a sign of bladder cancer but he was actually having a period
The 37-year-old added "In hindsight I can now see I've been having odd symptoms for years. But when I saw doctors they always fobbed me off as if it were all in my mind."
When he was 18 Rob began noticing blood in his urine, but nothing was detected despite repeated tests and visits to his local GP.
Doctors eventually began to suspect bladder cancer, but a biopsy came back clear so Rob was sent for an MRI scan, where it was discovered that he had a fully functioning uterus, ovaries and even a cervix.
Rob has now been referred to a specialist in Manchester for further tests and a full hysterectomy in the next few weeks, according to The Sun, who first broke the story.
He is concerned, however, that his condition was not detected earlier. He said: "I believe fertility doctors should have at least done a scan to see if there was a reason why I have such poor sperm quality."
Experts say about 120 babies a year are born in Britain with the same condition as Rob, but it is exceptionally rare for cases to be uncovered so late in life.
Rob said he wanted to talk about his condition in the hope of helping others with a similar problem, adding: “I can't believe I'm the only person with this. And I hope any other man with similar symptoms will get checked out."