MANAGEMENT OF ENDOCRINE DISEASE: Gonadal dysfunction in congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)

in European Journal of Endocrinology
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  • 1 H Claahsen-van der Grinten, Pediatrics, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • 2 N Stikkelbroeck, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • 3 H Falhammar, Depatment of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, Stockholm, 171 76, Sweden
  • 4 N Reisch, Endokrinologie, Medizinische Klinik Innenstadt, München, 80336, Germany

Correspondence: Hedi Claahsen-van der Grinten, Email:

Gonadal dysfunction is an adverse outcome in patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which may become apparent already during puberty. Clinical consequences of gonadal dysfunction include menstrual disturbances in females and hypogonadism and impaired fertility in males and females. In males, gonadal dysfunction can be caused by primary gonadal failure due to testicular adrenal rest tumours (TART), and by secondary gonadal failure due to poor hormonal control. In females, gonadal dysfunction can result from an overproduction of adrenal androgens including 11-oxygenated C-19 androgens and progestins, and rarely from ovarian adrenal rest tumours. In all patients with CAH, optimal hormonal control is the key for adequate gonadal function. Therefore, regular measurements of adrenal steroids and/or their metabolites should be performed. In addition, markers of the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis need to be assessed. In females, the regularity of the menstrual cycle should be evaluated. In males, regular evaluation for TART using ultrasonography is recommended from the start of puberty or even earlier when poor hormonal control is present. When TART is present, counselling on cryopreservation of semen should be offered.


     European Society of Endocrinology

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