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What is Turner's Syndrome?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 11 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Turner Syndrome Syndrome Diagnosis

Turner's syndrome is a health condition that is affected by irregular chromosomal development.It occurs in approximately one of every 2000 live births and is only found in the female sex.

Why Does It Happen?

The syndrome occurs as the foetus is in its early developmental stages in the uterus and is caused by a partial or total lack of growth of the second X chromosome that is needed in the female sex. The actual causes of these abnormalities are not definitively known and many suspected theories such as environmental or toxins have been ruled out and experts continue to research potential causes.

The syndrome may be detected during pregnancy if scanning techniques are used, but is usually diagnosed in childhood when the physical characteristics of this condition become more apparent.

Characteristics of Turner's Syndrome

The characteristics of Turner's syndrome are varied. Most of those affected may develop 'normally' in early childhood but growth expectancies may be slower after the age of three.

During puberty the ovaries do not produce the expected levels of the sex hormones called oestrogen and progesterone which cause a lack of breast tissue growth and an absence of menstrual periods. This factor causes infertility even though the vagina, cervix and uterus are present and have developed normally.

Other physical characteristics can include the appearance of a 'webbed' neck, broad shoulders, a lower than an average female's hairline and widely placed nipples.

The syndrome can also cause some heart problems such as murmurs and abnormalities in cardiac and vascular anatomy which may be detected at birth if problems are occurring.

Treating Turner's Syndrome

There is no overall cure for this syndrome but there are many options available that can help lessen the symptoms and help to overcome some of the physical characteristics.For those who have been diagnosed with cardiac or vascular problems such as narrowing of the major vessels, will be referred to a specialist who will assess each individual and offer appropriate treatment which may include the use of medications or even surgery that can help to correct any physical and anatomical problems.

Growth hormones and occasionally the use of steroidal medications may be given during childhood to help encourage a taller stature.Hormone replacement may be offered during puberty to help advancer breast development and also to help kick-start a monthly uterine bleed which helps to excrete the womb lining which lessens gynaecological problems in later life.These hormones are also given to help prevent other physical problems that may be seen in later life that are caused by hormonal shortages.

Lifestyle must also be discussed with your GP as high blood pressure may be more likely and smoking and diet are extremely important in the control of this along with an active lifestyle that helps keep the body healthy.It is vital that health is monitored regularly and frequent check-ups are recommended.

Turner's syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that is seen in females and may cause a variety of symptoms and long term problems for the individual.It is important that the person is well informed about their condition and educated on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and avoid some of the complications that can occur in later life.

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