Friday, 5 August 2011


It was just one little sentence. One, short phrase uttered by my daughter yesterday as she chatted, shyly, in a hospital consulting room.

We were seeing her endocrinologist* (*hormone-wizard, as I call her. This may, or may not be a precise medical definition). Her paediatric consultant was also there, plus a nurse. All of them have seen my daughter on numerous occasions, so she feels quite at ease talking to them.

We were discussing puberty and menstruation. As you do. Most girls with Prader-Willi Syndrome do have some signs of puberty, but do not have their periods, or if they do, they’re scanty, and irregular, and may not occur until they’re in their 20s.

Although this doesn’t sound like a terribly bad thing, it is. It means the body isn’t producing enough oestrogen, which is very good for bone density and protecting against things like osteoperosis. So at some point in the next few years, she may have to have her oestrogen levels artificially increased.

Of course this deficiency in sex hormones means something else. Something I’ve been open with my daughter about, mentioning it if it naturally comes up in conversation, so it’s not a big secret or surprise for her.

And this is what she referred to, in front of all these medical professionals, as we talked about her menstruating in the future. It made me desperately sad and desperately proud.

“Well, I can’t have a baby, but I might have a period. That’s quite grown-up, anyway.”

Video is Bandit Queen - Oestrogen.

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