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Psychopathological aspects of cryptorchidism in children and adolescents.

In the male sexual and aggressive drives are mostly centered on the penis, whose real or fantasied features strongly affect the way children and adolescents build up their own personal and gender identity. In some clinical conditions a shift of genital centrality from penis to testicles is evident. The most frequent is abnormality in the descent of testicles, especially cryptorchidism, characterized by an arrested descent of one or two testicles that remain in the abdomen. The aim of this paper is to define mechanisms by which cryptorchidism increases psychological vulnerability. Time of diagnosis and treatment, restoration of genital integrity, personality stability and familial interactions are considered as elements affecting psychopathological outcome. Behavioral and psychological features in children and adolescents with cryptorchidism are reviewed. A case report of an adolescent with unilateral cryptorchidism is reported and discussed, as an example of pubertal distortion in bodily and gender identity.

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