OPINION: Transition of care for adolescents with disorders of sex development

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Abstract

Disorders of sex development (DSDs) continue to present many challenges. A clear consensus among clinicians has emerged in paediatric care; however, the same cannot be said of adult care services. Moreover, transition to adult care is a process that takes many years. Although evidence-based models of transitional care do exist in other medical specialities, few studies have been conducted in adolescents with DSDs, and a clear and pressing need exists for further research to guide the care of these patients. A general move towards independence and self-responsibility is common to all transition programmes, but specific issues for those with a DSD include disclosure, genital examinations and potential vaginal treatments. Psychological support underpins the whole transition process for patients with a DSD and encourages an individual approach to develop. In this Perspectives article, we describe the barriers to successful transition in this setting and outline suggestions to overcome them.

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