Unusual Diseases: Hermaphroditism
What it is?
This sexual pathology implies the presence of both male and female sexual characteristics in humans. The name she received on behalf of the son of Aphrodite and Hermes. He was so beautiful that one of the nymphs asked the gods to connect her with a young man forever, and Hermaphrodite turned into a bisexual creature. Today, the term “intersexuality” is increasingly used to denote this developmental defect.
Each person has a specific set of chromosomes, which is called the karyotype. It consists of 46 chromosomes, of which 22 pairs are the same in both men and women. The sex of a person is determined by the 23rd pair of chromosomes – they are the same for women (XX), for men they are different (XY): the designation of the female karyotype is 46XX, male – 46XY.
Sex characteristics are inherent in each sex: primary – organs of reproduction and secondary – body structure, mammary glands, type of hair distribution, appearing under the action of hormones.
Types of hermaphroditism
Distinguish between true and false hermaphroditism.
In the first case, one individual simultaneously has sex glands of both sexes, which produce hormones. They can merge into one common gland. But such a pathology almost does not occur: only 150 such cases are known in the world.
False hermaphroditism (pseudohermaphroditism) is much more common, which is manifested in the fact that, with the karyotype and glands of one sex, the individual has the genitals of the other.
In this case, the karyotype is 46XX, there are ovaries, but the genitals are similar to the male ones: a large clitoris, sometimes resembling a penis, a narrow entrance to the vagina, labia, with features of the scrotum. In this pathology, the mammary glands are underdeveloped, the secondary signs of sex are male.
When the karyotype 46XY there are testicles, but they are often not descended into the scrotum, but are located in the abdominal cavity. The scrotum itself is similar to the labia. The penis is not developed, it can be twisted. The urethra is shifted to the crotch. The mammary glands are well formed, the secondary signs are female.
Causes of hermaphroditism
Violations occur during fetal development and are caused by both heredity and the action of external damaging factors.
For hereditary reasons include various defects of the chromosomes, not only sex. External factors include exposure of the fetus to radiation, toxic and toxic substances, the mother’s taking certain hormonal drugs, the tumors that produce her, and hormones that produce it. Especially dangerous in this regard is the 7-8th week.
What to do?
First of all, it is necessary to identify a person’s gender. When choosing a floor, it is desirable to base on the type of the sex glands, but the opinion of the patient himself should be taken into account.
When the issue with the choice of sex is resolved, they proceed to the formation of the corresponding genitals through reconstructive and plastic surgery. In some cases, it is necessary to remove the sex glands.
The next stage of treatment involves hormonal therapy.
Very often, patients need the help of a psychologist and psychotherapist. Hermaphroditism is not only a medical problem, but also a social one: hermaphrodites face psychological difficulties, they are fruitless, it is difficult for them to adapt to society, they are distinguished by their non-traditional sexual orientation and behavior – homosexuality, transvestism.