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When the adrenal gland in the male system begins to experience lots of inherited disorders, the individual is said to be suffering from congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). In most cases, the condition is associated with the deficiency of the hormone known as cortisol. In the individual affected, the condition usually begins in the gestation period and then culminates at birth.
Again, congenital adrenal hyperplasia can also involve the lack of aldosterone which usually leads to severe or mild loss of sodium in the body of the individual affected. In some females, the condition may involve the excess production of adrenal androgens which can make them have male-like genitals when they are born.
This disorder can occur to both male and female. But as we are discussing about congenital adrenal hyperplasia in males, let us here understand the causes that lead to this condition:
Lack of Enzymes needed by adrenal gland: When the adrenal gland lacks the required enzymes to produce aldosterone and cortisol, the condition is bound to occur. In the absence of these two hormones, the body begins to produce more of androgens which is a major type of male sex hormone. This then leads to excessive male characteristics in the body of the individual involved. If the person is a male, he will begin to look more like an adult man. If the person is a female, she will also begin to look like a full-fledged male.
Inherited Genetic Defect: This is another major cause of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Many children are born with this condition right from their mothers’ womb. The inherited genetic defect usually limits the production of the enzymes needed by adrenal gland to produce cortisol. This leads to acute lack of cortisol which is very vital for regulating blood pressure and maintenance of energy and sugar levels. When this cortisol is lacking, congenital adrenal hyperplasia is bound to occur.
In case of females, symptoms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia are usually very obvious right from their birth. They include deep voice, abnormal menstrual cycles, early show of pubic hairs, excessive hair growth on the face, male-like genitals and so on. However, in males, the symptoms are not always very obvious at birth although the child may experience dehydration, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmias and other conditions. The major symptoms begin to appear in the puberty age. The major symptoms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia in males include:
The male child will begin to look like an adult right from his early puberty age. This can be very embarrassing to the parents and even to the child himself as he is likely to be subjected to mockery by his peers.
Diagnosing congenital adrenal hyperplasia in Males
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia in males can be effectively handled when proper tests and diagnosis are carried out. Although the treatment can be very difficult, the situation can be abated if discovered early enough. Various tests and exams may be carried out to determine the levels of various hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone. Various x-rays and scans may also be carried out on the bones and other parts of the male body.
In most cases, genetic test is the best when looking for a way to deal with the condition. The test helps a lot in confirming and diagnosing the condition very well.
Treatment of congenital adrenal hyperplasia in Males
When proper diagnosis is done, the treatment of the condition can commence. The major aim of the treatment will be to return the affected hormones to the normal levels. A well trained medical doctor who specializes in hormones can handle the treatment process. To return the hormone to normal level, a form of cortisol supplement or drug can be taken every day. The patient may also be given extra doses of related medicine in order to arrest the situation and the side effects that may occur.
In order to make the treatment process very effective, parents of children who are suffering from congenital adrenal hyperplasia should report early signs of the disease to their doctor.
In all, prevention is better than cure. The congenital adrenal hyperplasia can be adequately prevented when couples are in good health condition before meeting together to have their baby. Parents should always get themselves treated in all manner of conditions before going ahead to bear children.