What are the symptoms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)?

Symptoms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) are different for boys and girls. The age when symptoms appear and their severity depend on the type of CAH. In classic CAH, girls are sometimes born with changes to their genitalia. This can make it hard to know right away if they are a boy or a girl.

In the most severe form of CAH, there is no aldosterone, so loss of salt from the body is the biggest problem. Boys born with salt-losing CAH seem healthy at first, but within a few days of birth, they get sick, start throwing up, lose weight, and need to be taken to the hospital.

In children with non-salt-losing CAH, the salt balance is normal. In stressful situations, however, they can become salt-losers and need treatment.

The mildest form is late-onset CAH, which can happen at any age. Some people with it have no symptoms, but others might have a growth spurt at a young age and extra hair on their body. Girls with this type of CAH might not get their periods.

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