Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A is for Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome

I have decided to blog my way through the alphabet.  Hopefully I can cover important intersex issues and topics that have not been mentioned in this blog before. 

Our first A word is Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome.  AIS is one of the most common intersex conditions.
Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome occurs when a person is born without receptors for testosterone.  Because they are immune to testosterone, they appear physically female, regardless of whether they are genetically male or female.  All vertebrates physically develop as females in the absence of testosterone.  CAIS is often discovered at puberty when a girl does not menstruate or grow pubic hair.  A genetically XY person with CAIS will be sterile.

Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome occurs when a genetically male person is born partially insensitive to testosterone.  This usually results in ambiguous genitalia.  Given testosterone injections at puberty can result in more masculine secondary sexual characteristics.  There is a higher chance of testicular cancer in PAIS people.  They are usually sterile, but there have been some exceptions.

Mild Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome occurs when a genetically male person is born mildly insensitive to testosterone.  This insensitivity is not enough to affect their physical development as males, and often goes undetected.  Arguably they are not intersex.  MAIS men often have diminished secondary sexual characteristics.  They occasionally have hypospadias (urethra does not come out at tip of penis) and gynecomastia (breasts on men).   There are higher incidences of breast, prostate, and testicular cancer in MAIS patients.  They usually have diminished fertility.  

Hope you found this informative, stay with me as I blog my way through the alphabet

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