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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 599-603

Pubertal development among girls with classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia initiated on treatment at different ages


Department of Endocrinology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Ariachery C Ammini
Department of Endocrinology, AIIMS, New Delhi - 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.98018

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Introduction: Children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) provide us an opportunity to study the clinical effects of androgen excess in humans. We studied the sequence of pubertal development in girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia initiated on treatment at different ages, to assess the effects of androgen exposure on the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian (HPO) axis. Materials and Methods: Girls more than 18 years of age, with CAH, on follow-up at this hospital were the subjects for this study. Details of history, physical findings, laboratory evaluation, and medication were noted from their case records and verified from the patients and their / parents, in addition to assessment of their present health status. Result: We studied 24 patients of classical CAH (SW-2, SV-22, average age - 24.5 ± 6.6 years). All had varying degrees of genital ambiguity (Prader stage 3 (n = 13), Prader stage 2 (n = 10), Prader stage 1 (n = 1). Among them were13 girls, who were started on steroids after eight years of age. Girls who received treatment from infancy and early childhood had normal pubertal development (mean age at menarche 11.4 ± 1.7 years). Hirsutism was not a problem among them. Untreated children had progressive clitoral enlargement throughout childhood, developed pubic hair at around three to six years of age, and facial hair between nine and eleven years. Plasma testosterone ranged from 3 to 6 ng / ml prior to treatment. Six of the 13 untreated CAH girls had subtle breast development starting at ages 11 - 16 years and three had spontaneous infrequent vaginal bleeding starting at ages 11 - 17. Steroid supplementation initiated pubertal changes in older girls in two-to-six months' time. Conclusion: There was a delay in HPO axis maturation (as evidenced by delayed pubertal development) in the absence of treatment in girls with CAH. This could be corrected with steroid supplementation.


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