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J Pediatr. 1990 May;116(5):810-4.

Masturbation mimicking abdominal pain or seizures in young girls.

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Department of Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.


Five girls, 7 to 27 months of age, had masturbatory posturing that did not involve rubbing of the genitalia or copulatory movements. This activity was mistakenly attributed to abdominal pain or seizures, and prompted unnecessary diagnostic tests. The posturing began at 3 to 14 months and consisted of "leaning episodes" in which the suprapubic region was applied to a firm edge or the parent's knee in one patient, stiffening of the lower extremities in a standing or sitting position in the second patient, and stiffening of the lower extremities while lying on their sides or supine in three infant patients. The posturing was often accompanied by irregular breathing, facial flushing, and diaphoresis, and lasted less than a minute to hours at a time. Management consisted of convincing the parents of the harmless nature of the activity, which then lessened the reinforcing effect of their responses. The posturing subsided, in time, without medical or surgical treatment.

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