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Fetal Diagn Ther. 2011;30(4):243-9. doi: 10.1159/000330366. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Endocrinology and gynecology of girls and women with low birth weight.

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Endocrinology Unit, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


In girls, low birth weight (LBW), when followed by postnatal catch-up growth, is accompanied by endocrine-metabolic abnormalities which include a more adipose body composition (with increased visceral fat), insulin resistance and a less favorable adipokine profile as early as in the pre-school age. These girls also exhibit follicle-stimulating hormone hypersecretion both in early infancy and early post-menarche, with reduced uterine and ovarian size in adolescence. These endocrine and gynecological changes result in a decreased ovulation rate and in an advanced tempo of adrenarche, pubertal development and menarche (by nearly a year, compared to non-LBW girls). The earlier maturation in LBW girls may result in a loss of about 1 SD in height, as compared with target height. During the post-menarcheal period, LBW girls are at increased risk of developing polycystic ovary syndrome. Early insulin sensitization may prevent or delay some of the endocrine-metabolic abnormalities associated to LBW.

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