The primary treatments for nearly all girls and women include hormone therapies:
- Growth hormone. Growth hormone therapy is recommended for most girls with Turner syndrome. The goal is to increase height as much as possible at appropriate times during your daughter's childhood and teen years. Growth hormone treatment is usually given several times a week as injections of somatropin (Humatrope, Genotropin, Saizen, others). If height is very short, some doctors may recommend an androgen called oxandrolone (Oxandrin) in addition to the growth hormone.
- Estrogen therapy. Most girls with Turner syndrome need to start estrogen and related hormone therapy in order to begin puberty and achieve adult sexual development. Estrogen may also help your daughter grow when used along with growth hormone. Estrogen replacement therapy usually continues throughout life, until a woman reaches the average age of menopause.
Because of the range of symptoms and complications, other treatments are tailored to address your daughter's particular problems.
Transition to adult care
It's important to help your daughter prepare for the transition from care with your family doctor or pediatrician to her own adult medical care. Her doctor can continue to coordinate care among a number of specialists throughout her life.
- Regular checkups have shown substantial improvements in the quality and length of life for women with Turner syndrome.
- Problems that often arise during adulthood include hearing loss, eye problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis.
- Periodic follow-up with a heart specialist (cardiologist) is important, as are regular ultrasounds of the heart (echocardiography), a test that uses sound waves to produce an image of the heart.
- Healthy lifestyle habits, such as maintaining proper weight and exercising regularly, are important throughout life.
Pregnancy and fertility treatment
Few women with Turner syndrome can become pregnant without fertility treatment. Those who can are still likely to experience failure of the ovaries and subsequent infertility very early in adulthood. So it's important to discuss timing of pregnancy with your doctor.
Some women with Turner syndrome can become pregnant with the donation of an egg or embryo. This requires a specially designed hormone therapy to prepare the uterus for pregnancy.
In most cases, women with Turner syndrome have relatively high-risk pregnancies. It's important to discuss those risks with your doctor.
Aug. 23, 2014
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- Learning about Turner syndrome. National Human Genome Research Institute. http://www.genome.gov/19519119. Accessed July 22, 2014.
- Turner syndrome. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). https://www.rarediseases.org/rare-disease-information/rare-diseases/byID/112/viewFullReport. Accessed July 22, 2014.
- Turner syndrome. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. http://turners.nichd.nih.gov/index.html. Accessed July 22, 2014.
- Saenger P. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of Turner syndrome (gonadal dysgenesis). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 22, 2014.
- Milbrandt T, et al. Turner syndrome. Pediatrics in Review. 2013;34:420.
- Saenger P. Management of Turner syndrome (gonadal dysgenesis). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 22, 2014.
- Turner Syndrome Society of the United States. http://www.turnersyndrome.org/. Accessed July 26, 2014.
- Wick MJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 1, 2014.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 27, 2014.
- Freriks K, et al. Long-term effects of previous oxandrolone treatment in adult women with Turner syndrome. European Journal of Endocrinology. 2013;168:91.