How is Turner syndrome (TS) treated?
A girl with Turner syndrome should be evaluated and monitored by a pediatric endocrinologist, who can provide suggestions on treating hormone deficiencies. Parents should keep careful growth charts and be aware of other medical problems that may affect girls with TS.
- Human growth hormone: Girls with TS may be treated with synthetic human growth hormone injections to increase their height. The final height of girls who are treated with growth hormone may be increased by several inches if treatment begins in early childhood.
- Hormone replacement therapy: In most cases, girls with TS require estrogen (a female hormone) to start developing breasts, normalize uterine size, and begin menstruating during puberty. The goal of estrogen replacement also is for better brain development, cardiovascular function and liver function.
- Androgens: Androgens are male hormones that are produced in boys and girls. The adrenal glands begin to produce androgens when girls are around 8 to 9 years old. The ovaries produce more androgens when girls go through puberty. These hormones cause the growth of hair under the arms and in the genital area and result in a growth spurt. A low dose of androgen along with growth hormone may increase growth in girls with TS without causing undesirable side effects.
Girls and their parents should discuss when to begin estrogen therapy, because high estrogen replacement usually stops bone growth in the late teenage years. After girls who are taking estrogen begin to menstruate, progesterone is added to maintain their regular menstrual cycles.
Women with Turner syndrome are usually infertile. However, sometimes they may be able to become pregnant via special fertilization techniques.