Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Females with classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia — who are exposed in the womb to elevated levels of male sex hormones — are more likely than are girls without this condition to prefer typically male gender roles and activities throughout their lives. They may be more likely to identify as bisexual or homosexual.

Sexual problems are common among girls and women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, including:

  • Embarrassment about the appearance of genitals
  • Uncertainty that intercourse will be possible
  • Pain and bleeding during intercourse
  • Discomfort telling a new partner about the disease

Early and steady support from family and health care providers can help girls grow up to have normal self-esteem and a satisfying social life. Make sure counseling is included in your child's treatment plan, and that you and your child's health care providers pay attention to her mental and emotional health as well as her physical well-being.

You can also help your child by resisting the urge to overprotect her, which may only convince her that she is different or limited. If you're having trouble coping with your child's condition or feel overwhelmed by worry, ask your doctor to refer you to a mental health professional. An experienced therapist can help you deal with your feelings and develop healthy parenting strategies.

Jan. 20, 2017