Rare Diseases 2022

Hermaphrodite: what é, types and how to identify

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Hermaphrodite: what é, types and how to identify
Hermaphrodite: what é, types and how to identify

Hermaphrodite is a person who is born with two genitals at the same time, both male and female. This situation is known as hermaphroditism or intersexuality, and its causes are still not well established. However, it is possible that hermaphroditism is the result of genetic changes during development in the womb.

Another form of hermaphroditism is when the child is born with a well-defined external genital region, but has other important gonadal alterations, as is the case of a boy who, when he reaches adolescence, menstruates and develops breasts, for example.

Treatment for hermaphroditism varies according to the age at which it was identified, and hormone replacement and surgery may be performed to define the gender, according to the person's gender identification.

Types of hermaphroditism

Hermaphroditism can be classified into two main types according to the sexual organs present in true hermaphrodite and pseudo-hermaphrodite, which can be both female and male:

  1. True hermaphrodite: is a rare condition in which a child is born with well-formed internal and external female and male sex organs, although only one develops normally, leaving the other stunted. There are rare cases of true hermaphroditism in which both genitals develop normally and at the same time;
  2. Pseudo-Hermaphrodite male: is one in which the person is born with female genitalia, but without the ovaries and uterus, but the testes are housed within the pelvic cavity;
  3. Female Pseudo-Hermaphrodite: happens when the person is born with the ovaries, but the male external genitalia is well defined, this usually occurs due to the abnormal development of the clitoris, which starts to have a penis-like shape.Understand more about pseudohermaphroditism.

It is important to consult the doctor if the person observes any different characteristics in the child's development.

Possible causes

The causes of human hermaphroditism have not yet been fully clarified, but one of the theories is that the egg may have been fertilized by 2 different sperm or that there have been important genetic changes during the baby's development.

Can a hermaphrodite have children?

Generally, the hermaphrodite cannot have children, as organs such as ovaries or testes may not be able to produce eggs or sperm. Furthermore, in the case of a hermaphrodite person who has a uterus, this organ may not be functioning properly, which would not allow a pregnancy.

How to identify hermaphroditism

Hermaphroditism can be identified at birth or during adolescence through laboratory and imaging tests.If menstruation occurs in men or the presence of a penis-like structure in women, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis.

How the treatment is done

The treatment of hermaphroditism depends on the age at which the diagnosis was made, and may be through hormone replacement or surgery to define the sex. When identified at birth, the sex is defined based on the characteristics of the birth, and surgery can be performed, but it will depend on each case and on the medical recommendations. Furthermore, if identified during adolescence, the decision of sex is made by the person himself, based on his gender identification.

Hormone replacement is indicated by the doctor to stimulate the development of characteristics related to the sex chosen by the person, and can be done with estrogen, for the development of female characteristics, or testosterone for the development of male characteristics.

Furthermore, it is important to have psychological counseling to assist in the process of accepting the body and dealing with the feelings and emotions that occur during and after treatment.

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