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Turner syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects only females. The ovaries of girls with Turner syndrome stop working in early childhood. As a result, puberty is delayed and the breasts don't develop. Also, most women with Turner syndrome are not able to become pregnant naturally.
Other physical features of Turner syndrome are:
- A short, "webbed" neck with folds of skin from tops of the shoulders to the sides of the neck
- A low hairline at the back of the neck
- Low-set ears
- Hands and feet that are swollen or puffy at birth
- Soft nails that turn upward at the ends
- Colored spots on the skin
Turner syndrome also can cause these health problems:
- Defective heart valves
- Narrowing of the main blood vessel that leaves the heart
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Osteoporosis (thin or weak bones)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Thyroid disease (usually underactive thyroid)
- Problems learning math and with memory
- Problems with coordination
Turner syndrome has no cure. But treatments can help some of the symptoms. Giving growth hormone in early childhood can cause a girl with Turner syndrome to grow a few inches more than she would otherwise. Also, hormone therapy during the time of puberty can start breast development and a monthly period. Assisted reproductive technology can help a woman with Turner syndrome become pregnant.
Explore other publications and websites
Clinical Features of Turner Syndrome — This publication offers information on what Turner syndrome is and how it affects the cardiovascular system, kidneys, and thyroid. It also provides information on the risks of developing osteoporosis and diabetes as well as the effects it has on cognitive functions.
Turner Syndrome — this web page provides information for those diagnosed with Turner syndrome and their families, including the definition, causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.
Turner Syndrome (Copyright © American Pregnancy Association) — This publication explains what Turner syndrome is, what causes it, how it is diagnosed, what health complications may arise, and how the symptoms are controlled.
Turner Syndrome (Copyright © Hormone Foundation) — This fact sheet provides an overview of Turner syndrome (TS), including the physical features and risks of TS, how it’s diagnosed, and treatment options. It also provides a list of questions to ask an endocrinologist if you are diagnosed with TS.
Turner Syndrome (Copyright © Human Growth Foundation) — This publication discusses the genetic defect that causes Turner syndrome, as well as the characteristics of the disease, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
Turner Syndrome (Copyright © Nemours Foundation) — This article gives a general overview of Turner syndrome. It provides tips for living with the condition, as well as information on the effects of the syndrome and treatment options.
When My Child May Have Fertility Problems (Copyright © The Magic Foundation) — This fact sheet explains which genetic factors can lead to infertility and how you can talk to your son or daughter about the different options for starting a family.
Connect with other organizations
Human Growth Foundation
National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, HHS
National Office of Public Health Genomics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Public Information and Communications Branch, NICHD, NIH, HHS
The Magic Foundation
Turner's Syndrome Society
Content last updated September 22, 2009.
Resources last updated September 22, 2009.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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