Turner syndrome is a genetic condition that affects people assigned female at birth of all ages. Learn the signs of Turner syndrome and the challenges that come with the disorder. 

What is Turner syndrome?

Turner syndrome (TS) is a genetic condition in which people assigned female at birth are missing part of or all of the second sex chromosome. The missing chromosome (made of DNA) prevents the female body from growing and developing typically. TS affects primarily people assigned female at birth, and affects each person differently.

Signs of Turner syndrome

Turner syndrome (TS) affects people differently. Some have all of the symptoms, while some have only a few. Some signs of TS include:

  • Height that is usually under five feet tall
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Eyes that drift inward (toward the nose) or outward (toward the ear)
  • Ears that sit low on the head
  • Hairline that is low on the back of the neck
  • Webbed neck (loose skin around the neck)
  • Hands or feet that are puffy at birth
  • Stocky appearance (broad chest, narrow hips)
  • High-arched roof of the mouth
  • Teeth that are crowded together

Health challenges with Turner syndrome

People with TS do well despite the health challenges that come with TS. Some include:

  • Delayed puberty
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes (a disease that affects the body’s ability to make or control sugar)
  • Celiac disease (a disease in which people cannot eat wheat or rye products, like bread)
  • Frequent ear infections or hearing loss
  • Thyroid issues
  • Problems with the aorta (a large blood vessel that connects to the heart)

Learning challenges with Turner syndrome

Many people with TS are just as smart as others, but might learn differently. Some learning challenges that come with TS include:

  • Difficulty concentrating, especially on tasks that require paying attention for a long time
  • Nonverbal abilities, such as making eye contact
  • Recognizing people’s faces

Social skills of people with Turner syndrome

Many people with TS have different social skills, preferences and challenges. Some include:

  • Preferring one-on-one or small group settings
  • Preferring a small group of close friends instead of having many casual friends
  • Relating well to older or younger, but having difficulty relating to others the same age

Rev. 1/2023. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this webpage. This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.