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Delayed or absent puberty.

January 24, 2011

Normal puberty should have started in girls by the age of 14 and boys by the age of 15.

In any group of people there will always people who are classed as “late developers”.

However there is a medical condition called Kallmann syndrome which results in the person not going through puberty at all, or sometimes not fully completing it.

It is a rare condition, not widely known in the medical profession and a lot of patients with it are dismissed as “later developers” or “later bloomers” well into their late teens or even early 20’s.

Without treatment patients with develop no, or very few secondary sexual characteristics and will almost invariably be infertile. It affects both men and women, but it is 7 times more common in men. There is not normally any evidence of a problem until the age of puberty when the body does not develop as it should and the patients remain with no sexual development but still achieving normal adult height.

Kallmann syndrome is also associated with a lack of sense of smell (also called anosmia).

Kallmann syndrome is a form of a condition known as hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, or HH. This long-winded name describes the nature of the condition. The condition arises from a communication failure between two glands within the brain, the hypothalamus and pituitary. It is a failure of the pituitary gland to send the correct signal (hormone) at the time puberty is due that prevents puberty from starting.

Without treatment patients will have very low levels of sex hormones (testosterone or oestrogen) in their blood. While this is not a life threatening situation, it will lead to complications later in life and a poor quality of life, least of all being infertile.

This blog will hopefully provide more information and insight into this not very well-known condition.

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