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Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2010 Apr;24(2):149-55. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2009.11.013. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

Hormonal development therapy (HDT) in hypogonadism in long-term view.

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Paediatric Adolescent Gynaecology, Clinic of Gynaecology, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Charité, University Medicine Berlin, Humboldt University, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353, Berlin, Germany.


Since the 1960s, oestrogen deficiency in hypogonadism in girls has been successfully treated by a sort of analogous application of the menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) scheme, here however, to induce and support sexual development in puberty and adolescence. The essential distinction between goals, ways and means of the two distinct hormonal treatments caused by menopause and by hypogonadism in puberty also suggests that the latter treatment is more characteristic of defining hormonal development therapy (HDT). Moreover, specific HDT in hypogonadism is essential for longitudinal growth of girls, functions of female reproductive system, bone and lipid metabolism and the immune, central nervous and cardiovascular systems. By contrast, the aim of menopausal replacement therapy in elderly women is treating negative effects of physiological loss of oestrogens as hot flush, lacks of female well-being and osteoporosis, while in hypogonadal girls there is of course nothing that might be replaced eventually. Especially in cases of absolute oestrogen deficiency, as in Turner syndrome and in other cases of premature ovarian failure, HDT has to be started at the age of expected puberty. An international consensus suggests possibly lifelong HDT for the lasting support of female development and functions. However, neither reliable studies about possible risks and side effects of continuous hormonal therapy in adult women with hypogonadismus nor a more precise consensus have emerged yet. Emphasising the term HDT particularly aims at putting more effort in getting over these paucities simultaneously. Indications, hormonal therapy, dosage, application and timing in puberty are described in this article. Aspects of long-term hormonal treatment are critically discussed.

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