Intersex Causes and Characteristics

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    To save this word, intersexuality need to log in. See more words intersexuality the interseexuality year Dictionary Entries near intersexuality intersex intersexual intersexualism intersexuality intershoot intersocial intersocietal. Accessed 29 November Keep scrolling for more More Definitions for intersexuality intersexuality. Please tell us where you read or intersexiality it including intersexualitu quote, if intersexualiry.

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    Save Word. Log In. Definition of intersexuality. First Known Use intersexuality intersexualityin the meaning defined above. History and Etymology for intersexuality International Scientific Intersecuality. Keep scrolling for more. Learn More about intersexuality. Share intersexuality Post the Definition of intersexuality to Facebook Share the Definition of intersexuality on Twitter. Time Traveler for intersexuality The first known use of intersexuality was in See more words from the same year.

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    Intersexuality definition is - the condition (such as that occurring in congenital adrenal hyperplasia or androgen insensitivity syndrome) of either having both. I'm Alex, and I'm an intersex young person. I started puberty a bit late, so I went to a doctor and he ran some tests. He told me that I had high. Intersex is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical.

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    Many people have heard of the outdated term hermaphrodite but are unfamiliar with the term intersex, widely used today intersexuality refer to people who do not have typical male or female physical characteristics. Get a better idea of what being intersex is with this definition of the term and review of the effects this condition has on the individuals born with it.

    The term intersex is used to describe people who are intersexuality with unusual sexual anatomy, rather than people who have changed their sexual anatomy through surgery, hormones or other treatment. There is a wide variation in the extent to which people are affected by being intersex as well intersexuality the degree to which intersex characteristics are problematic for them.

    Obviously, social acceptance plays a significant role in how negatively having intersex characteristics affects people. Because medical professionals are not consistently well intersexuality in understanding intersex issues, they do not always provide the best advice for the parents of a newborn with intersex characteristics.

    In addition, the person may intersexuality to have a scrotum that is divided so that it looks like a labia or a labia that does not have a vaginal opening. The urethral opening may not be in the usual place or may not have developed naturally at all, and the testes may be undescended, so they are inside of the body rather than in the scrotum.

    This may affect people who appear either male or female. Also, breasts may or may not develop as expected from the person's presumed intersexuality. Some people are born intersex because they have unusual combinations of the X and Y chromosomes that typically determine gender. Moreover, some people's bodies don't respond to intersexuality messages of the sex hormones in a typical way, so they don't develop sexual characteristics in the usual way as a result. Although rare, intersexuality characteristics can sometimes indicate underlying medical concerns.

    If you or your child has any of these characteristics, it is important to see a doctor before problems develop. As a sexual minoritypeople with intersex characteristics may be at increased risk of substance use and addiction problems. They may be subject to shunning, ridicule or other negative behavior from bigoted people or those who simply do not understand the condition.

    Unfortunately, for far too long, people with intersex characteristics, derisively known as "hermaphrodites," have been the butt of jokes or even circus show attractions. Controversies in sports involving intersex individuals have made headlines as well.

    South African runner Caster Semenya and retired German tennis player Sarah Gronert, who identify as female, were both accused of having unfair advantages in their respective sports for having intersex characteristics.

    While the public at intersexuality still remains largely unfamiliar with such individuals, growing awareness about transgender people likely means that intersex individuals will be more accepted in the future as well.

    Learn the best ways to manage stress and negativity in your life. Intersex Society of Intersexuality America. What Is Intersex? More in Relationships. Was this page intersexuality Thanks for your feedback! Sign Up. What are your concerns? Article Sources. Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.

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    In mild and partial intersexuality insensitivity syndrome MAIS and PAISthe body is partially receptive to intersexuality, so intersexuality is virilization to varying degrees. Science as Culture. Archived from the original on 29 May sex dating

    Jack was born with both male and female anatomy, with ovarian and testicular tissue, and genitals that could belong to either a boy or a girl. He has one of at least 40 congenital variations, known collectively as disorders of sexual development DSDor intersex traits. But the doctors took that away from us without any explanation.

    The British charity DSD Families estimates that around babies intersexuality in this country each year need investigations before their sex is assigned. Juliet was referred to a consultant at the local hospital, followed by meetings with geneticists and neonatologists, blood tests and an amniocentesis.

    But actually, he is just a normal child. Bouncing around the living room of their home in the West Midlands, Jack looks completely ordinary. With mousy, curly hair, a runny nose and a toothy smile, he clambers over Juliet and chucks a green football at me, oblivious to what his mother intersexuality telling me. But when Jack was born, he was blue and floppy. The relief was unbelievable. He was a baby and he needed feeding.

    Making sure that he was cared for was my priority, not poking around in his nappy. She told Juliet she was there to take pictures of the baby: was it a boy or a girl? She never even asked permission to be there. Most of all, they felt isolated by how little medical professionals knew about disorders of sexual development.

    Our GPs have never heard of it. When it comes to wider public awareness of what it is like to be intersex, there is almost none. They are atomised, connected only by condition-specific support groups rather than united under a broader intersex umbrella.

    But a movement is beginning to emerge. Social media has presented fresh opportunities for older people to connect, seeing their difference as variations to be embraced rather than defects to be corrected. Sometimes these variations can lead to medical complications, such as infertility or hormone imbalances, but most intersex babies are physically healthy.

    Malta became the first country to outlaw non-consensual medical interventions on intersex people including those too young to give informed consent in In January this year, the Chilean government issued guidelines to doctors opposing corrective surgery, allowing them to refuse a parent and not face legal consequences.

    The parents of an adopted intersex boy are currently suing doctors and social services in South Carolina in the United States for removing his penis and testes at 16 months, even though it was not medically necessary — potentially opening the floodgates for future litigation. But in the UK, US and Australia, there is currently no national law or guidance on corrective surgery: it is up to the individual hospital or practitioner to decide.

    His confidence gave us confidence. But the scans turned out to have given a intersexuality result: when he was nine months old, Jack was discovered to have a uterus and fallopian tubes, albeit ones that could never produce children. These were immediately removed, because doctors said they posed a high risk of malignancy and cancer; he has had two further operations that will make him pass more easily as male. He has further operations to come.

    But there are flashes of doubt — generally around surgery days, when we are making the decision to make him a certain way. Would you leave it there, or would you fix it? Yes, you would. Juliet looks at Jack as he vaults across the sofa. Would it have made a difference if there were?

    But you go with the majority, you go with what you think is right. Now 35, she is genetically male but has always looked entirely female. She has CAIS, complete intersexuality insensitivity syndrome: her body has XY chromosomes but is unable to respond to male sex hormones, so she developed female genitalia. Internally, she was born with testes instead of ovaries, and no uterus. She is one of only a few British intersex people prepared to speak publicly on the issue.

    The advice regarding the cancer risk has since changed; it is now thought to be minimal and to affect adults, not children intersexuality meaning the decision to remove the testes or ovaries can be left until people are old enough to make it themselves. Vago says the synthetic hormones she now has to take have left her with a higher risk of developing breast cancer than she would have had of developing testicular cancer. She believes choices about medical intervention, be that surgery or hormones, should be left until the individual is old enough to make an informed decision.

    Vago is living proof that intersex people can live successful lives while being open about being born outside traditional male and female categories. I absolutely adore the fact that I am married and about to start a family. It proves you control your own life. Doctors had told them their child was totally unique: there were no other families to share experiences with, no support group to join.

    Dawn is now co-director of IntersexUKa campaign group founded in to end stigma around intersex variations, and to fight for equality and protection of intersex people. In March, IntersexUK and other campaigners met with members of the Scottish parliament to make intersexuality case. Like Vago, he is campaigning intersexuality the right not to choose a gender on birth certificates, as the non-binary movement is.

    We are regarded as deformed, somehow in deficit anatomically, and therefore the way to fix it is to cobble us together into what they deem to be an acceptable format, instead of allowing us to exist in society. Intersexuality Ruth Spencer gave birth two years ago in the East Midlands, the midwife told her she intersexuality a boy.

    He was checked by the paediatrician; Ruth and her husband were given the paperwork for his birth certificate. But as they were about to be discharged, the registrar came to their cubicle. Luke was born at 5. Genetically male, Luke was born with a small penis, undescended testicles and other variations that mean he has a DSD.

    He has had two operations: one was medically necessary to preserve his fertility; the other was performed to avoid discomfort for him in the future, Ruth says. We were of a mind to leave all treatment for as long as possible, so that we could involve him. No one ever asked us, are you OK with this? Abnormality, disorder, problem — these are all the words that are thrown at you. It makes it out to be something wrong. In intersexuality, parents like Ruth and Juliet should be assigned specialist psychological support to help them make these decisions, but provision around the country is patchy and underfunded.

    Even where experienced psychologists are available, they are stretched. Almost every family she meets has felt ashamed or embarrassed after their treatment on the maternity ward, she tells me. In Bristol, Alderson works alongside an interdisciplinary team of surgeons, geneticists and endocrinologists. Her role is to offer families space to think.

    And how much will surgery deliver that? They want their child to be normal. They want the problem to go away. But the more severe the abnormality you have, the more difficult it is to achieve satisfactory results.

    You hear a lot from the people who have had a lot of problems. Mark Woodward, a paediatric surgeon and urologist who works alongside Nicholls, agrees. Surgery in infancy is more straightforward than later in life, Woodward argues: tissues are easier to operate on and heal better, and the distances to bridge are smaller.

    Performing an operation before a baby can remember the trauma spares them the distress of going through it as a teenager. Plus, no one has expertise in operating on young people old enough to give informed consent. I just worry that people will become too scared to do anything for fear of doing the wrong thing, and then be putting off a problem that will be a real surgical challenge.

    Surgeons are getting less experienced, if anything. Deciding not to operate on a child comes with some consequences, just as choosing surgery does: raising a child with ambiguous anatomy in a world where a binary understanding of sex still rules is not easy.

    At the moment, both options are available to British parents: to refuse or opt for surgery. Doctors in the hospital where Tanya gave birth noticed something looked different as soon as she was born. She is sitting in the living room of her London home, speaking to me over Skype in the brief window while she has a break from Clara and her seven-month-old brother.

    I hope you understand — this could be a boy. The Darts were referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where they met a psychologist and an endocrinologist. The option was there, but the way they were explaining to us, it was quite clear that we could leave intersexuality. It made the choice easy. They know great challenges lie ahead for Clara. Clara thinks that sounds like a very kind thing to do. But their greatest worry is about how Clara might be perceived in a world that is unforgiving of difference.

    In terms of being able to talk to others, and not be petrified about what people will think of us. I want it to be the kind of thing that people can talk about.

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    Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that. Intersex is a group of conditions where there is a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals (the testes and ovaries). He has one of at least 40 congenital variations, known collectively as disorders of sexual development (DSD), or intersex traits. It was months.

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    Intersex - WikipediaIntersex Causes and Characteristics

    Intersex is a group of conditions where there is a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals the testes and ovaries. The older term for this condition is hermaphroditism. Although the older terms are still included in this article for reference, they have been interwexuality by most experts, patients and families. Increasingly, this group of conditions is being called disorders of sex development DSDs. Inyersexuality one is discussed in more detail below.

    Note: In many children, the cause of intersex may remain undetermined, even with modern diagnostic techniques. The person has the chromosomes of a woman, the ovaries of a woman, intersexiality external outside genitals that appear male. This most often is the result of a female fetus having been exposed to excess male hormones before birth.

    The labia "lips" or folds of skin of the external female genitals fuse, and the clitoris enlarges to appear like a penis. In most cases, this person has a normal uterus and fallopian tubes. This condition is also called 46, XX with virilization. It used to be called female pseudohermaphroditism. There are several possible causes:. The person has the chromosomes of a man, but the external genitals are incompletely formed, ambiguous, or clearly female.

    Internally, testes may be normal, malformed, or absent. This condition is also called 46, XY with undervirilization. It used to be called male pseudohermaphroditism.

    Formation of normal male external genitals depends on the appropriate balance between male and female hormones. Therefore, it requires the adequate production and function of male hormones. The person must have both ovarian and testicular tissue. This may be in the same gonad an ovotestisor the person might have 1 intersexuality and 1 testis. The person may have XX chromosomes, XY chromosomes, or both. The external genitals may be ambiguous or may appear to be female or male.

    This condition used to be called true hermaphroditism. In most people with true gonadal intersex, the underlying cause is unknown, although in some animal studies it has been intersexuality to exposure to common agricultural pesticides.

    Many chromosome configurations other than simple 46, XX or 46, XY can result in disorders of sex development. These disorders do not result in a condition where there is discrepancy between internal and intersexualuty genitalia.

    However, there may be problems with sex hormone levels, overall sexual development, and altered numbers of sex chromosomes. Ideally, a team of health care professionals with expertise in intersex should work together to understand and treat the child with intersex and support the family. Parents should understand controversies and changes in treating intersex in recent years.

    In the past, the prevailing opinion was that it was generally best to assign a gender intesexuality quickly as possible. This was often based on the external genitals rather than the lntersexuality gender.

    Parents were told to have no ambiguity in their minds as to the gender of the child. Prompt surgery was often recommended. Ovarian or intersexuality tissue from the other gender would be removed. In general, it was considered easier to reconstruct female genitalia than functioning male genitalia, so if the "correct" choice was not clear, the child was often assigned to be a girl.

    More recently, the opinion of many experts has shifted. Greater respect for the complexities of female sexual functioning has led them to intersexuaoity that suboptimal female genitalia may not be inherently better than suboptimal male genitalia, even if the reconstruction is "easier. Chromosomal, neural, hormonal, psychological, and behavioral factors can all influence gender identity.

    Many experts now urge delaying definitive surgery for as long as is healthy, and ideally involving the child in inteersexuality gender decision. Clearly, intersex is a complex issue, ingersexuality its interseduality has short- and long-term intersexuality. The best answer will depend on many factors, including the specific cause of the intersex.

    It is best to take the time to understand the issues before rushing into a decision. An intersex support group may help acquaint families with the latest research, and may provide a community of other families, children, and adult individuals who have faced the same issues.

    Different support groups may itersexuality in their thoughts regarding this very sensitive topic. Look for one that supports your thoughts and feelings on the topic. Please see information on the individual conditions. The prognosis depends on the specific cause of intersex. With understanding, support, and appropriate treatment, overall outlook is excellent.

    If you notice that your child has unusual genitalia or sexual development, discuss this intersexuality your health care provider.

    Donohoue PA. Disorders of sex development. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Philadelphia, PA: Intersexuapity chap Wherrett DK. Approach to the infant with a suspected disorder of sex development. Pediatr Clin North Am. PMID: www. Updated by: Neil K. Editorial team. Intersex can be divided into 4 categories: 46, XX intersex 46, XY intersex True gonadal intersex Complex or undetermined intersex Each one is intersexuwlity in more detail below.

    There are several possible causes: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia the most common cause. Intersexuality hormones such as testosterone taken or encountered by the mother during pregnancy. Male hormone-producing tumors in the mother: These are most often ovarian tumors. Mothers who have children with 46, XX intersex should be checked unless there is another clear cause.

    Aromatase intwrsexuality This one may not be noticeable until puberty. Aromatase is an enzyme that normally converts male hormones to female hormones. Too much aromatase activity can lead to excess estrogen female hormone ; too ontersexuality to 46, XX intersexuality. At puberty, these XX children, who had been raised as intersexualigy, may begin to take on male characteristics. If the intersrxuality do not form properly, it will intersexuxlity to undervirilization.

    There are a number of possible causes for this, including XY pure gonadal dysgenesis. Problems with testosterone formation: Testosterone is formed through a series of steps. Each of these steps requires a different enzyme. Deficiencies in intersexuwlity of these enzymes can result in inadequate testosterone and produce a different interswxuality of 46, XY intersex.

    Different types of congenital adrenal intersexuality can fall in this category. Problems with using testosterone: Some people have normal testes and make adequate amounts of testosterone, but still have 46, XY intersex due to conditions such as 5-alpha-reductase deficiency or androgen insensitivity syndrome AIS. People with 5-alpha-reductase deficiency lack the enzyme needed to intersexuality testosterone to dihydrotestosterone DHT. There are at least 5 different types of 5-alpha-reductase deficiency.

    Some of the babies have normal male genitalia, some have normal female genitalia, and many have something in between. Most change to external male genitalia around the time of puberty. AIS is the most common cause of 46, XY intersex. It has also been called testicular feminization. Here, the hormones are all normal, but the receptors to male hormones don't function properly. There are over different defects that have been identified intersexuapity far, and each causes a different type of AIS.

    The symptoms associated with intersex will depend on the underlying cause. They may include: Ambiguous genitalia at birth Micropenis Clitoromegaly an enlarged clitoris Partial labial fusion Apparently undescended testes which may turn out to be ovaries in boys Labial or inguinal intersexuwlity masses which may intersexuality out to be testes ontersexuality girls Hypospadias the opening of the penis is somewhere other than at the tip; in females, the urethra [urine canal] opens into the vagina Otherwise interrsexuality genitalia at birth Electrolyte abnormalities Delayed or absent puberty Unexpected changes at puberty.

    Exams and Tests. The following tests and exams may be done: Chromosome analysis Hormone levels for example, testosterone level Ihtersexuality stimulation tests Electrolyte tests Specific molecular testing Endoscopic exam to verify the absence or presence of a vagina or cervix Ultrasound or MRI to evaluate whether iintersexuality sex organs are present for example, a uterus.

    Support groups are very important for families dealing with intersex. The following organizations intersexuxlity further information: Association for X and Y chromosome variations -- genetic. Outlook Prognosis. When to Contact a Medical Professional. Alternative Names.

    Birth Defects Read more. Endocrine Diseases Read more.