CAIS is a genetic disorder. It is usually passed down through the mother. It only effects genetically XY patients. Since it is a recessive trait, it is impossible to be XX and have CAIS. There are other versions of this Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (mild and partial), but are more rare, and is not the case for me.
The mutation that causes CAIS is usually located somewhere on the X chromosome. Androgen is a type of the male testosterone. It is what is responsible for male development of the gonads, hair growth, body odor, and oil production. This mutation on the X chromosome prevents the body from recognizing the androgen (testosterone) in the body. Since the body does not know what to do with this hormone, it is unable to use it to develop like a normal male. So basically, even though the body has hormones running through it, it might as well not be there, because the body doesn’t know how to use it. Since the body can’t recognize the hormone, the germ cells didn’t know how they were supposed to develop. They began developing into gonads, but stopped because it didn’t know any better. When the body doesn’t have any hormones in the body, the body decides to develop female. So even though I had gonads, my body started to develop female characteristics. My outward appearance has always looked female, and I have never had any type of surgery to alter the way I look.
So even though my genetics say I have a male sex chromosome, I am 100% female. I have a vagina (not a penis, balls, or anything like that). I can have normal sex, and I was one of the few that didn’t have to use dilators. I don’t grow much hair besides on my head, arms and legs. I will never have armpit hair, and will always have sparse pubic hair. The hair on my head will never get greasy. My body lacks the ability to produce the oil that builds up in hair, which makes it look greasy if it’s not washed often. I have also been told by others that is the reason why my skin is so naturally soft. But this is also why I have really clear skin. Sure I will get a pimple every once in a while, but because my body doesn’t produce the same amount of oil like everyone else, my skin will always be really clear. I also don’t have a lot of body odor. I could go without using deodorant, and you would never know; even after a tough workout. But I still do use it when I’m active, because I’m still scared that I will stink. And no one likes being the stinky kid! The most obvious plus to having CAIS is that I will never have a period, ever. I will never have to buy tampons or pads. I will never have to buy a pregnancy test. I will never have to go through the cramps. But that also means I can’t use that as an excuse :( HAHA. CAIS patients are usually taller than normal. I am 6 feet tall. I was the 2nd tallest girl in my graduating class. Before the surgery, and before estrogen is started, CAIS patients are usually extremely skinny. My senior year of high school, I was 6 feet tall, and only 130 pounds. According to BMI, I was underweight. I still wonder what my body fat % was. I'm sure it was pretty low.
Well, I just told you about all the positives. Now its time for me to mention the drawbacks of CAIS. The main one, and the most obvious, is the infertility. I will never be able to have children of my own. To some, this is not a big deal. But I would give anything to be able to have a child that is biologically mine. I would give up all the athletics I’ve participated in, even if that meant having a baby at 14. But it will never happen. Women with CAIS are said to have bigger bodies once the HRT has begun. This biggest aspect is these women are said to have large breasts. I mean HUGE boobs. I however, have been on HRT for 8 years now, and am still an A cup. The estrogen also makes you gain weight. I definitely gained after college. But I am proud to say that I have been losing some weight in the past 7 months.