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Turner Syndrome Among Pregnant Women

There's a chromosomal condition among females that is not well known but still a concern.  It's known as Turner Syndrome.  Turner Syndrome is a chromosomal condition in which one of the woman's two "X" chromosomes is either incomplete or even entirely missing.  This chromosomal condition affects only females, and yet is one of the most common defects of the chromosomes in the female population, striking about 1 of every 2,500 live births among females.

The immediate cause of Turner's Syndrome is a partial or complete absence of one of the female's two "X" chromosomes.  However, what's not known is precisely why this chromosome is absent or at least partially absent. In fact, as far as current medical knowledge goes, the condition seems to appear quite randomly.

A blood test called a karyotype is used to diagnose Turner Syndrome.  This karyotype blood test, when conducted, analyzes the individual's chromosomal composition, thus determining whether or not the "X" chromosome is present or absent or partially absent. 

While we don't usually speak of symptoms of Turner Syndrome, there are very definite characteristics of the person with this condition.  For instance, the most typical characteristics are a lack of ovarian development as well as a shorter stature.  A female who has Turner Syndrome might also exhibit some or all of these physical characteristics:  1) A "webbed neck," or in other words, a variation of the neck's skin folds; 2) arms which appear to be slightly turned out in the area of the elbows; 3) and near the back of the head, a low hair-line.

All of this perhaps sounds more dire than it really is.  In truth, most women with Turner Syndrome, when they receive ample medical care, live complete, productive and full lives.  However, we should note that people with the condition tend to be more susceptible to kidney problems, heart ailments, thyroid problems, or fertility issues.

There is, unfortunately, no known cure for Turner Syndrome.  However, there are some treatments which are often prescribed to reduce or eliminate the symptoms.  Since the two most typical  Turner Syndrome characteristics are lack of ovarian development and short stature, it's quite natural that both of these are treated with medication.

The use of growth hormones has been prescribed in recent years for treating Turner Syndrome by the Food and Drug Administration.  This growth hormone treatment is effective for enhancing growth velocity and possibly even the adult's final height.  The growth hormone can be administered by itself or along with a low androgen dose, depending on what the doctor determines is best for each specific patient.

A woman's ovaries produce estrogen; this estrogen is necessary for developing and maintaining good bone structure and tissue.  A regimen of estrogen replacement will help this development and also promote the developing of sexual characteristics. 

In addition, there are reproductive technologies developed in the past two decades which enable a woman with Turner Syndrome to sometimes become pregnant.  Indeed, it's conceivable for a woman with this condition to carry an embryo that has been provided by a donor egg.  For more information, call the Turner Syndrome Society of the United States at (800) 365-9944.

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