Comparing Turner and Klinefelter Syndrome

Updated on July 2, 2020

Turner syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome are two of the most common chromosomal disorders seen in newborns. Turner syndrome occurs once in every 2,000-2,500 female births, while Klinefelter syndrome occurs once in every 500-1,000 male births.

Although there is no cure for either of these syndromes, with early diagnosis and treatment, it’s possible to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. It is possible to diagnose Klinefelter syndrome before you give birth. If you’re over the age of 35 or you have a family history of genetic conditions, your provider might recommend non-invasive prenatal testing. During this type of test, your OB/GYN or general practitioner will draw a sample of your blood and analyze the chromosomes. 

What Is Turner Syndrome?

Turner syndrome is a genetic condition that impacts females. It occurs when one of the X chromosomes is missing or partially missing.

The severity of Turner syndrome varies from person to person. Some women experience serious medical and developmental issues, including heart defects, short stature, and ovary problems. Other times, symptoms are less obvious and develop slowly over an extended period of time.

What Is Klinefelter Syndrome?

Klinefelter syndrome is a genetic condition that impacts males. It occurs when a boy is born with an extra X chromosome. 

Klinefelter syndrome isn’t always obvious during childhood. However, as a boy ages, the condition affects testicular growth. This causes smaller than average testicles, reduced muscle mass, and enlarged breast tissue.

 Many males with Klinefelter syndrome also experience low testosterone and sperm production. 

How Are Turner Syndrome And Klinefelter Syndrome Similar?

Turner syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome are similar in that they both affect the sexual chromosomes and the development of the gonads, or reproductive organs.

Turner syndrome affects the development of the ovaries, while Klinefelter syndrome affects the development of the testes.

Additionally, Turner syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome present similar symptoms. People with these conditions have undeveloped or underdeveloped sexual organs. 

How Are Turner And Klinefelter Syndrome Different?

Turner syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome are different in that they affect people of opposite sexes and present varying symptoms. 

Turner syndrome affects females. Common indications of Turner syndrome include:

  • Undeveloped breasts
  • Webbed neck
  • Short stature
  • The absence of menstruation
  • Heart problems

Klinefelter syndrome affects males. Common indications of Klinefelter syndrome include:

  • Small testes
  • Underdeveloped sex organs
  • Mental disabilities
  • Enlarged breasts
  • High-pitched voice
  • Long limbs

How Are Turner and Klinefelter Syndrome Diagnosed?

To diagnose Turner syndrome, your child’s pediatrician conducts a physical exam, reviews your child’s medical history, and orders a blood sample. Your child’s pediatrician analyzes the blood sample for a missing or abnormal X chromosome. 

It is also possible to diagnose Turner syndrome before you give birth. If your OB/GYN or general practitioner notices any unusual features on an ultrasound, they might recommend chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis. These tests take a sample of your placenta or amniotic fluid to evaluate the chromosomes in the samples.

To diagnose Klinefelter syndrome, your child’s pediatrician conducts a physical exam, inspecting their genitals and chest. 

What Are The Health Outcomes For Turner And Klinefelter Syndrome?

There is no cure for Turner or Klinefelter syndrome, but with early intervention, it’s possible to manage conditions and prevent them from getting worse. 

Girls with Turner syndrome usually benefit from treatment with hormones, including growth hormone and estrogen therapy. Boys with Klinefelter syndrome usually benefit from testosterone replacement therapy. Depending on the severity of your son’s symptoms, their pediatrician might also recommend surgery to remove extra breast tissue, as well as speech and physical therapy. 

If you’re concerned about your child’s risk of Turner or Klinefelter syndrome, make an appointment with your OB/GYN, general practitioner, or genetic counselor. Your healthcare provider can develop a diagnostic plan that aligns with your individual needs. 

+ posts

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.