While this condition is usually a result of hormonal development due to the excess of male hormones before birth (congenital), it can also be acquired during infancy or adolescence due to a hormonal imbalance such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and hyperthecosis.
Women athletes and bodybuilders who use anabolic and androgenic steroids may also develop clitoromegaly due to the excess of these hormones.
Did you know that in the womb all fetuses start off with the same sexual organ, one that resembles the female genitalia (vulva) more than the male testes? The fetus also has a genital bud that will either become a penis or a clitoris.
Sexual differentiation doesn’t actually happen until the 7-week mark during fetal development.
When the hormonal cocktail is working properly, the fetus will develop into a male or female.
When a developing fetus doesn’t have the correct chromosomes, hormones or hormone receptors, it can result in genital ambiguity: either a larger than average clitoris, or a smaller penis or both male and female genitalia (ambiguous genitalia).
In some cases, the clitoris becomes as large as a small penis and the labia takes on a scrotum-like appearance, except they don’t contain any testicles.
Sometimes this effect is produced deliberately through clitoral enlargement practices – a form of female body modification – to increase sexual pleasure.
In fact, the clitoris, with over 8000 nerve endings, is the only sexual organ created solely for the purpose of pleasure. Therefore, enlargement can mean increased pleasure both physically for the woman, and because it is visually sexually alluring to some. The visible portions of the clitoris are the glans and the clitoral hood but the entire organ actually extends deep along the tissue on the labia. It’s actually shaped like a wishbone!
The intentional enlargement of the clit can be produced using clitoral enlargement pumps (very popular in porn) as well as through the use of hormonal creams and steroids.
The clitoris can also become temporarily enlarged due to sexual stimulation and orgasm, which is normal and due to the increase of blood flow to the genital region. Around 75% of women require direct or indirect contact of the clitoris to achieve orgasm.
In some cases, pseudoclitoromegaly or pseudohypertrophy (enlargement due to other factors than hormonal influences) of the clitoris can happen in small girls due to repeated masturbation of the clitoral prepuce (the clitoral hood) which may cause permanent scarring and enlargement.