• Review of Outcome Information in 46,XX Patients with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Assigned/Reared Male: What Does It Say about Gender Assignment?

      Lee, Peter A.; Houk, Christopher Phil; Department of Pediatrics (2010-12-21)
      There is ample historical verification of 46,XX congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) patients being born with essentially male genitaliawhile outcome information is scant. Prior to glucocorticoid therapy, most patients died very young from adrenal insufficiency. Most available reports from laterchildhood, contain little information concerning sexual identity. Reports on older individuals lack adequate information about sexual identity and quality of life. The difficulty in assessing the relative impact of multiple dynamic environmental factors on the development of sexual identity, self- and body esteem and overall adjustment to life is clear. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether those infants whose masculine genitalia at birth resulted in an initial male assignment would have enjoyed a better adult outcome had they been allowed to remain male rather than the female reassignment that most received. Further, one could ask whether a male sex of rearing should be considered in 46,XX CAH infants with male external genitalia. After reviewing available literature, we conclude that because those extremely virlized 46,XX CAH patients who were reared male with healthy social support demonstrated satisfactory levels of social and sexual function as adults a male sex assignment should be considered in these types of infants when social and cultural environment are supportive.
    • The role of support groups, advocacy groups, and other interested parties in improving the care of patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia: pleas and warnings.

      Lee, Peter A.; Houk, Christopher Phil; Department of Pediatrics (2010-07-23)
      In the era of advocacy groups, it seems appropriate to contemplate how best to utilize them for patient benefit in the management of those with disorders of sex development (DSD), including those with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). Such interactions, to be constructive, require a spirit of cooperation to optimize outcomes. A traditional view of advocacy groups as a type of defender of patients' rights appears outdated and it is time that the benefits of their participation be fully realized. Open dialogue with all patients/families, including those who feel harmed by prior care are paramount. We discuss several recent examples of interactions that illustrate how dialogue in the name of "advocacy" can have a negative impact on developing a framework for ongoing constructive dialogue and actions. Such approaches completely change the dynamics of subsequent interactions. Physicians involved in the care of individuals with DSD, including those with CAH, and patients should be aware of confrontational techniques and legal implications that may be used by some advocacy groups. Hopefully recent efforts to promote a multidisciplinary care approach for patients with DSD/CAH will continue to foster mutual cooperation between team members, where the common goal is improving patient/family outcomes and quality of life.