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Ambiguous Genitalia

The Importance of Psychological Assistance for People with Ambiguous Genitalia

, – Also called disorders of sex development (DSD), ambiguous genitalia is a sexual development disorder that makes the baby’s genitals unclear, whether male or female. Babies born with this disorder usually have a defect in the shape of their genitals, or an incompatibility of the external and internal genital organs, or with their sexual chromosomes. Is it true that psychologist assistance is needed?

The answer is, yes. In general, ambiguous genitalia does not endanger the life of the sufferer. However, this sexual disorder can cause social problems, both for babies when they are growing up, and for families.

Therefore, in order to maintain the psychological condition and mental development of children with ambiguous genitalia , consultation with a child psychologist is needed. Now, discussions with psychologists can also be done on the app , you know. Through the Talk to a Doctor feature , you can discuss directly via Chat or Voice / Video Call .

Recognize Ambiguous Genitalia that Affects Babies

Why Does Ambiguous Genitalia Happen?

There are many factors that can cause ambiguous genitalia in babies. It could be due to chromosomal abnormalities, or abnormalities in hormones. Sexual development disorders due to the number of chromosomes usually occur when the baby has a deficiency or excess of chromosomes in his cells, such as Turner syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome .

It should be noted that the main factor in determining the sex of a baby is the presence of a Y chromosome which determines the sex of a boy. If the fetal cells have a Y chromosome, the sex of the fetus is male. However, if there is no Y chromosome, the fetus will be female.

Normally, males will have 22 pairs of body chromosomes (autosomes) and 1 pair of sex or sex chromosomes, namely XY. While women will have 22 pairs of autosomes and 1 pair of sex chromosomes, namely XX. Klinefelter’s syndrome occurs when a boy has an excess of the X chromosome to become XXY. Meanwhile, Turner syndrome occurs when women lack the X chromosome to become XO.

Is There Any Treatment for Ambiguous Genitalia?

Meanwhile, abnormalities in sexual development due to hormones are usually related to abnormalities in hormone production or sensitivity of the sexual organs while in the womb to these hormones. Not only that, the causes of ambiguous genitalia can also be different in baby boys and girls.

The causes of ambiguous genitalia in men are:

  • Impaired testicular development.

  • 5A-Reductase enzyme deficiency. 5A-reductase enzymes play a role in the formation of androgen hormones that promote the development of the male genital organs.

  • Androgen insensitivity syndrome. This condition is caused by the response of the male fetal genital organs which are not sensitive to androgen hormones.

  • Abnormalities in the testes and testosterone. The testes and other male genital organs can be affected by a variety of factors, both in the form of organ structure disorders, hormone production disorders, and hormone receptor disorders.

Meanwhile, the causes of ambiguous genitalia in women are:

  • Consumption of drugs containing androgen hormones by pregnant women. In addition, the hormonal imbalance of pregnant women can also cause female fetuses to be exposed to hormones that trigger ambiguous genitalia .

  • Tumor.

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia. This condition causes the mother to produce excess androgen hormones, causing abnormalities in sexual development in female fetuses.

How to Know if a Baby Has Ambiguous Genitalia?

Ambiguous genitalia in babies can be detected when the baby is still in the womb, or only later discovered when the baby is born. The severity of ambiguous genitalia in infants depends on the cause and timing of the sexual disorder.

The Importance of Taking Care of Pregnancy to Avoid Ambiguous Genitalia

Generally, ambiguous genitalia in babies who are genetically female can be identified by the following signs:

  • The labia are closed and swollen, so they feel like a scrotum with the testicles.

  • Enlargement of the clitoris, so that it looks like a small penis.

  • The urinary tract can be located above the clitoris, under the clitoris, or in the clitoris area itself.

Meanwhile, ambiguous genitalia in babies who are genetically male can be recognized by the following signs:

  • Hypospadias .

  • An abnormally small penis and urinary tract opening are located close to the scrotum.

  • Loss of one or both testicles from the scrotum or a part that is suspected of being the scrotum.

  • Scrotum that looks like a labia with cryptorchidism, with or without a small penis.

Reference:
Urology Care (Accessed in 2019). What is Ambiguous (Uncertain) Genitalia?
Mayo Clinic (Accessed in 2019). Ambiguous Genitalia
NHS (Accessed in 2019). Disorders of sex development