Puberty is the time when our bodies grow up. Getting taller is an important part of it.
Many people wonder what makes us tall or short. It’s a hard question to answer. It seems like there is a mysterious combination of genes (the recipe or code that you inherit from your parents) and hormones that help the body grow to an adult height. Experts believe about 90% of height comes from the genes you inherit from parents.
Some girls with DSD (especially with AIS and Swyer’s) may be taller than many of their friends at school. This can be because certain genes in your body can help your bones grow longer, like the ones on the Y chromosome. Those genes can even help your feet grow—it’s pretty common that some girls with these conditions have a larger-than-typical shoe size.
Even though most height is genetically linked, estrogen is commonly known to close growth plates – areas where your bones add length.
Having high estrogen with early puberty could mean that your growth plates close earlier, making you shorter. (This is common for young women with CAH, for example.)
Having low estrogen could have the opposite effect, making it easier for your body to keep growing taller for a longer time. (This happens sometimes with people who have conditions like Swyer’s or other conditions that make lower levels of estrogen, and it could be part of why some young people with these variations are taller than expected.)
Some guys or girls with DSD might be shorter than their friends. Sometimes, this can happen to anyone when puberty starts early, which can happen in CAH. Sometimes, your puberty could be delayed and your friends might start growing tall before you do.
However, if you go into puberty later, you might start out shorter but keep on growing as you get older. You might end up even taller than some of your friends.
Some young people may even take certain hormones to help their bodies grow taller if their body doesn’t have them.
Each body is different
This is something to talk about with your doctor. They will help you know what to expect height-wise.