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How does androgen insensitivity syndrome affect the body?

Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) starts in the genes that control the body's ability to respond to male sex hormones. When there's a mutation in these genes, cells can't respond to androgens normally, which can cause a variety of effects throughout the body. Even though they're genetically male (XY), people with complete AIS don't develop male body parts (penis, testicles, etc.) that normally develop in genetic males, but they also don't develop a uterus. This means that physically, people with complete AIS look like normal females, develop female characteristics at puberty, and usually have a female gender identity. In people with partial AIS, the body is less sensitive to androgens, but there's still a response to those hormones. That means that people with partial AIS may have the physical characteristics (including genitals) of both males and females.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.