What It’s Like Having Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

A couple of you may have read my previous post my (which was anonymous) on “My Honest Thoughts on Gender, Transgender and the Non-Binary Spectrum.”

Today, I am going to talk about my experience with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH).

You might know this from one of those articles claiming to explain the genetics of transgenderism and homosexuality. Basically, the main idea is that girls with CAH are exposed to more prenatal male hormones and are more likely to be gay. Which is not entirely wrong but I’ll get to that later.

What it’s like having Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

For those who don’t know, CAH is a recessive autosomal disorder which is caused by prenatal hormonal imbalances which persist throughout life but can be supplemented through medicine. The adrenal gland produces too many of certain hormones, such as androgens, and not enough of others, mostly cortisol and aldosterone. It also causes salt-wasting in some.

There are different types of CAH, and it also affects boys but for the purposes of this article I will be focusing on my personal experience.

Unlike many girls with CAH, I was lucky to be born with fairly normal genitalia. I was premature but thankfully, I had no complications.

Growing up, I was a quiet, yet adventurous tomboy. I liked climbing trees, hated dresses and I hated sexism. If anyone said I couldn’t do anything because I was a girl, I was gonna do it. I often used the bathroom like a boy and once I actually went into a public boy’s bathroom and it scarred me for life. Despite constantly wanting to be a boy and wouldn’t consider myself gender dysphoric. I grew up, I guess and learned to live as a girl who just so happened to like wearing shorts and not skirts.

I loved eating salt. I never thought much of it then, but now I realize I was showing symptoms from early. (A lot of people without CAH have salt-wasting).

I was officially diagnosed with CAH at age 7.

I have had acne since age 5 (which I prefer to call ‘teenage bumps’ cause I used to think it was kinda cool).

I have the bone structure of an 18- year old despite being 13 which means I will stop growing earlier.

I have a higher chance obesity and osteoporosis. Thankfully, my dad’s genes keep me skinny.

I’ve had armpit hair since maybe 7.

My voice constantly changes like a boy going through puberty.

Overall though, I can’t say I’ve really hated having CAH. It kinda feels cool to be different. Even if it means taking medicine for my whole life.

What It’s Like Having Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

The issue I have though, is when my condition becomes a social justice movement of sorts.

When I was younger, I felt comfortable telling my friends that I take meds, that I can’t too much exercise, and I might suddenly faint and I can tell them why.

Now, I feel ashamed of it. And it’s not even easy to hide. People everyday comment on how ‘hairy’ my legs are. The hair would just grow back if I shaved and I don’t feel like I should have to shave. They notice my voice changes, my tomboyish-ness and my lack of concern for the opposite sex, something typically associated with my age group.

Back to the homosexuality thing. Many people claim that CAH is proof that prenatal hormones can influence hormones. Whilst the majority of girls with CAH aren’t exclusively straight, the majority identify as straight but a significant portion (compared to the rest of society) identities as bi or gay.

I guess you could say it’s kinda proof but not exactly. I mean if you want to go use it as evidence go ahead but please realize that a lot of kids with CAH have mental issues such as anxiety and many girls who have had gender reconstruction surgery face body dysmorphia so don’t just use it as a political weapon.

The only reason any of my friends know CAH is as the gay disease.

It is definitely not a gay disease.

Many gay people do not have CAH and many with CAH aren’t gay.

I understand why this research is being done but publicizing CAH and other similar conditions as being akin to homosexuality is counterproductive. I have been deeply distraught and felt extremely uncomfortable about myself as a 13 year old with a milder version of CAH. Imagine a 6 year old girl who has had reconstructive surgery.

It also is only promoting the idea that being gay is pretty much a disease which is not the message I think they want to get across. If so, then we could just treat gayness with the same medicine they give for hormone disorders. (sarcasm)

I’m fine if my genetic disorder is helping your research but broad, inaccurate statements about people with CAH isn’t doing anyone any favors.

CAH is considered an intersex disorder, infact it’s the most popular one. So in addition to being used for proof of homosexuality, it’s also used as proof of transgenderism and the gender spectrum (which just so happened to be my last topic).

It’s like the LBGT+ community’s dream. Finally, scientific evidence to proof their identities aren’t a fad or a phase.

What It’s Like Having Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

For me, it’s a nightmare. I am not against LGBT persons but I feel like we are being used as pawns, purposefully or not.

Yes, my opinions might be extreme, but we often receive just as much bullying and low self esteem as let’s say the trans community.

No, we aren’t murdered or assaulted. Probably only because the ones who suffer most are young kids. Society has more sympathy for children.

But kids will and do commit suicide.

But with the new wave of gender identity and sexuality, CAH might just find its ways onto the front pages of every website and onto the big screen. It may seem far-fetched, but with still a significant population questioning the biology of sexuality, it might just become necessary.

I hope more research can be done into all of this, and I hope you enjoyed reading my opinion.

Leave your comments down below.


Most Helpful Guy

  • Pretty sure that "gay disease" part is complete bullocks anyway.
    The reason why people are gay, is because you inherit genetic markers from you opposite-sex-parent which are usually not inherited.
    That does not happen "just" because you are exposed to male hormones or stuff like that.

    That genetic-marker thing is a fairly recent discovery however, I guess the theory that CAH may cause it, is way older.

    I do totally agree that you are annoyed, that it is turned into a political movement. Many trans and gay people think the same. But because they are not represented by the movement (of course...) you rarely hear about it.

    What I don't understand at all tho, is this:
    "Overall though, I can’t say I’ve really hated having CAH. It kinda feels cool to be different."

    Not at all. No offense, but I think this is a very dangerous view to have. It's quite common among transsexuals and now people are taught that having a mental disorder (not saying that to offend someone, but it just is one) is a good thing, something to be encouraged.
    When it would be so much better, to just admit that it's something bad and work for a cure. Nobody wants to be ill. You just come to terms with it.

    Pretty sure you did not mean it that way, and you would still choose rather not to have it. Still, it triggered my SJW propaganda alarm bill.

    • Yes of course I would love to NOT have it. I hate taking meds and not being able to run a mile without passing out. It’s definitely not a good thing and I don’t mean it’s say we should celebrate disorders as normal, just that I used to beat my self up for having it. Maybe ‘cool’ wasn’t the right terminology. I guess what I meant to say is that having a problem of my own helps me to understand others with worse problems.

Most Helpful Girl

  • Yeah, so it seems strange to me that CAH is hijacked as a means of "proving" Transgenderism. You take a genetic disorder as proof if Transgenderism and then say rather than doing appropriate scientific research and legit trying to help people, people hijack it for a political purpose to further current, and utterly ridiculous, ideologies of gender and sex.

    This is precisely how the Trans community harms with their outspoken ideology. Just scientifically speaking, if a person were to be able to splice a gene sequence correcting this issue then you would end up possibly altering a gender identity to match genetically determined sex, which could possibly end up being the best possible mental and physical health condition for an affected person. However, what the Trans community and supporters most often want is to be able to identify to whatever gender they "feel" like ignoring the biology and, for lack of a better word, defects that may have caused the confused identity to begin with. I really think this harms scientific progress to understand the various issues that can cause gender dysphoria and thus prevents people from getting the best possible outcome.

    You may disagree with me, and that's ok, feel free to speak your mind. I am not trying to judge or be insulting to you in any way shape or form. Very thoughtful article.


Recommended myTakes

Join the discussion

What Guys Said 2

What Girls Said 0

The only opinion from girls was selected the Most Helpful Opinion, but you can still contribute by sharing an opinion!

Recommended Questions