Nokyoung Xayasane
June 06, 2013

Elderly Chinese Man Discovers He’s Actually a Woman After Shocking Doctor’s Visit

Going for a check-up at the doctor’s office is a pain, but it can be a lifesaver —  or, as in the case of one elderly Chinese man, it can be a life-changer.

According to the South China Morning Post, a 66-year-old man went to see his doctor after experiencing swelling in his abdomen. The diagnosis? He had a cyst on his ovary.

It turns out the man, who had been identifying as male his whole life, is biologically female. How is this possible?

The unnamed man reportedly has two rare conditions called Turner syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). Most biological women have two X chromosomes, but a woman with Turner syndrome is born with one X chromosome, which halts puberty and can result in smaller breasts and a less feminine appearance. Similarly, people with CAH aren’t able to produce specific hormones that are crucial for genital development.

“The patient, by definition, is a woman who cannot get pregnant,” says Ellis Hon Kam-lun, a pediatrics professor at Chinese University. “But she also has CAH, which gave her the appearance of a man. It’s an interesting and very rare case of having the two combinations. It probably won’t be seen again in the near future.”

The shocked man is able to grow a beard and has a small penis but no testes. He has decided to continue identifying as a man and will undergo male hormone treatments.

It’s reported that only six patients have ever been diagnosed with both Turner syndrome and CAH. The man is the oldest person to be diagnosed with both disorders. The findings were recently published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal with reports from his treating doctors at the Kwong Wah Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital.