People who have gender dysphoria feel strongly that they are not the gender they physically appear to be.
For example, a person who has a penis and all other physical traits of a male might feel instead that he is actually a female. That person would have an intense desire to have a female body and to be accepted by others as a female. Or, someone with the physical characteristics of a female would feel her true identity is male.
Feeling that your body does not reflect your true gender can cause...
Doctors need to perform many tests to rule out other possible causes before they diagnose a somatoform disorder.
A diagnosis of a somatoform disorder can create a lot of stress and frustration for patients. They may feel unsatisfied that there's no known explanation for their symptoms. Stress often leads patients to become more worried about their health. This creates a vicious cycle that can persist for years.
Types and Symptoms of Somatoform Disorders
Symptoms and their severity vary depending on the type of somatoform disorder. There are several types of somatoform disorders:
Somatization disorder. This is also known as Briquet's syndrome. Patients with this type have a long history of medical problems that starts before the age of 30.
The symptoms involve several different organs and body systems. The patient may report a combination of:
Undifferentiated somatoform disorder. This is a less specific version of somatization disorder. A diagnosis requires that a person have one or more physical complaints of unexplained symptoms for at least six months.
Hypochondriasis. People with this type are preoccupied with concern they have a serious disease. They may believe that minor complaints are signs of very serious medical problems. For example, they may believe that a common headache is a sign of a brain tumor.
Body dysmorphic disorder. People with this disorder are obsessed with -- or may exaggerate -- a physical flaw. Patients may also imagine a flaw they don't have.
The worry over this trait or flaw is typically constant. It may involve any part of the body. Patients can be obsessed with things such as wrinkles, hair, or the size or shape of the eyes, nose, or breasts.