Disorders of Sex Development
Disorders of sex development (DSD) represent a multitude of diseases in which there is deviation from the normal sexual development into a boy or a girl. These deviations can represent minor anatomic and biologic abnormalities or can result in more extreme findings that challenge more conventional definitions of male and female and make a specific gender assignment difficult at the time of birth. Regardless of the presentation, disorders of sexual development require sensitive discussion and handling due to the potentially confusing, anxiety provoking nature of the disease.
Types of disorders included in DSD
DSD symptoms may include:
Normal sexual development occurs due to several important steps during development. First the chromosomal sex of the embryo occurs during fertilization. Next, the appropriate gonadal organ has to develop. This organ then influences the development of the other internal reproductive organs and external genitalia. Interference in any one of these steps can result in deviation of normal development and a disorder of sex development.
Patients can be diagnosed based on physical exam, laboratory work including hormonal and chromosomal studies or some imaging of the internal urinary and reproductive symptoms. Actual tissue may be needed with a biopsy of the gonadal organ.
THRIVE Program at Nationwide Children’s
At Nationwide Children’s, we have an unique team designed to address disorders of sex development. The THRIVE Program [hyperlink program page] is a multidisciplinary clinic composed of specialists in urology, endocrinology, genetics, psychology, psychiatry and social work to ensure all medical, surgical, psychological and social aspects are addressed. The team provides comprehensive and long-term care for care for differences/disorders of sex development, complex urological conditions and gender concerns in order to provide guidance and support to patients and their families through all phases of growth into adulthood.