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Classification and external resources
ICD-10 Q52.6
ICD-9-CM 752.49
DiseasesDB 30822

Clitoromegaly (or macroclitoris[1]) is an abnormal enlargement of the clitoris that is mostly congenital or acquired, though deliberately induced clitoris enlargement as a form of female genital body modification is achieved through various uses of anabolic steroids, including testosterone, and may also be referred to as clitoromegaly.[2][3][4][5] Clitoromegaly is not the same as normal enlargement of the clitoris seen during sexual arousal.


  • Anatomy 1
  • Presentation 2
  • Causes 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


In Atlas of Human Sex Anatomy (1949)[6] by Robert Latou Dickinson, the typical clitoris is defined as having a crosswise width of 3 to 4 mm. (0.12 - 0.16 inches) and a lengthwise width of 4 to 5 mm (0.16 - 0.20 inches). On the other hand, in Obstetrics and Gynecology medical literature, a frequent definition of clitoromegaly is when there is a clitoral index (product of lengthwise and crosswise widths) of greater than 35 mm2 (0.05 inches2), which is almost twice the size given above for an average sized clitoral hood.[7]


In the most pronounced cases, clitoromegaly is a symptom of intersexuality since the clitoris is analogous to the penis, and, when enlarged, more closely resembles it, indicating some degree of masculinisation. The different grade of genital ambiguity is commonly measured by the Prader classification[8] ranging, in ascending order of masculinisation, from 1: Female external genitalia with clitoromegaly through 5: Pseudo-Phallus looking like normal male external genitalia.[9]


Clitoromegaly is otherwise a rare condition and can be either present by birth or acquired later in life. If present at birth, congenital adrenal hyperplasia can be one of the causes, since in this condition the adrenal gland of the female fetus produces additional androgens and the newborn baby has ambiguous genitalia which are not clearly male or female. In pregnant women who received norethisterone during pregnancy, masculinization of the fetus occurs, resulting in hypertrophy of the clitoris;[10] however, this is rarely seen nowadays due to use of safer progestogens. It can also be caused by the autosomal recessive congenital disorder known as Fraser syndrome.[11]

In acquired clitoromegaly, the main cause is endocrine hormonal imbalance affecting the adult woman, including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)[12] and hyperthecosis. Acquired clitoromegaly may also be caused by pathologies affecting the ovaries and other endocrine glands. These pathologies may include virulent (such as arrhenoblastoma) and neurofibromatosic tumors.[13] Another cause is clitoral cysts.[14] Sometimes there may be no obvious clinical or hormonal reason.[2]

Female bodybuilders and athletes who use androgens, primarily to enhance muscular growth, strength and appearance (see Use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport), may also experience clearly evident enlargement of the clitoris and increases in libido.[15][16] Women who use testosterone for therapeutic reasons (treating low libido, averting osteoporosis, as part of an anti-depressant regimen, etc.) experience some enlargement of the clitoris, although the dosages warranted for these conditions are much lower. Pseudoclitoromegaly or pseudohypertrophy of the clitoris "has been reported in small girls due to masturbation: manipulations of the skin of prepuce leads to repeated mechanical trauma, which expands the prepuce and labia minora, thus imitating true clitoral enlargement".[2]

See also

  • Pseudo-penis, an enlarged clitoris that is normally present in some mammalian species


  1. ^ "Dorland Medical Dictionary". 
  2. ^ a b c Copcu E, Aktas A, Sivrioglu N, Copcu O, Oztan Y (2004). "Idiopathic isolated clitoromegaly: A report of two cases". Reproductive Health 1 (1): 4.  
  3. ^ Senaylı A (December 2011). "Controversies on clitoroplasty". Therapeutic Advances in Urology 3 (6): 273–7.  
  4. ^ Perovic SV, Djordjevic ML (December 2003). "Metoidioplasty: a variant of phalloplasty in female transsexuals". BJU International 92 (9): 981–5.  
  5. ^ Meyer WJ, Webb A, Stuart CA, Finkelstein JW, Lawrence B, Walker PA (April 1986). "Physical and hormonal evaluation of transsexual patients: a longitudinal study". Archives of Sexual Behavior 15 (2): 121–38.  
  6. ^ Dickinson, Robert Latou (1949). Atlas of Human Sex Anatomy. Williams & Wilkins Co.  
  7. ^ "Female Sexual Anatomy: Clitoral and Labia Size". 
  8. ^ PRADER A (July 1954). "Der genitalbefund beim Pseudohermaproditismus femininus des kongenitalen adrenogenitalen Syndroms. Morphologie, Hausfigkeit, Entwicklung und Vererbung der verschiedenen Genitalformen" [Genital findings in the female pseudo-hermaphroditism of the congenital adrenogenital syndrome; morphology, frequency, development and heredity of the different genital forms]. Helvetica Paediatrica Acta (in German) 9 (3): 231–48.  
  9. ^ "Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia(CAH), Prader Scale". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  10. ^ Beischer NA, Cookson T, Sheedy M, Wein P (August 1992). "Norethisterone and gestational diabetes". The Australian & New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 32 (3): 233–8.  
  11. ^ van Haelst MM, Scambler PJ, Hennekam RC (December 2007). "Fraser syndrome: a clinical study of 59 cases and evaluation of diagnostic criteria". American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part a 143A (24): 3194–203.  
  12. ^ Mukhtar I Khan, MD. "Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  13. ^ Horejsí J (June 1997). "Acquired clitoral enlargement. Diagnosis and treatment". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 816: 369–72.  
  14. ^ Linck D, Hayes MF (May 2002). "Clitoral cyst as a cause of ambiguous genitalia". Obstetrics and Gynecology 99 (5 Pt 2): 963–6.  
  15. ^ Freberg, Laura A. (2009). Discovering Biological Psychology.  
  16. ^ "A Dangerous and Illegal Way to Seek Athletic Dominance and Better Appearance. A Guide for Understanding the Dangers of Anabolic Steroids".  
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