What is XXX Syndrome?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Triple X or XXX syndrome is a chromosomal disorder affecting only women, at the rate of about one in one thousand women. Extremely serious issues with both mental and physical development mark many disorders of the chromosomes. This is not the case with those who have XXX syndrome. While they may have a few problems, it’s possible for the syndrome to go unidentified during a woman’s lifetime.

Genetic testing can confirm the presence of an extra chromosome.
Genetic testing can confirm the presence of an extra chromosome.

The actual “defect” here is inheritance of a third X or female chromosome. Ordinarily, each woman has two Xs, but what is considered a genetic mishap may occur at conception, transferring a third X to the female with this syndrome. The condition isn’t thought to be “genetic” or inherited, but is rather a chromosomal mistake, in almost all instances. Sometimes XXX syndrome expresses with mosaicism, where only some of the cells in a girl’s body will have the triple X.

Girls with XXX syndrome could have irregular periods or other menstrual issues.
Girls with XXX syndrome could have irregular periods or other menstrual issues.

If this condition is diagnosed, it may be discovered due to some commonalities girls with XXX syndrome share. They tend to be taller, on average, than their peers. Early childhood may also be marked by learning disabilities and sometimes developmental delays in things such as walking. Some infants have weaker muscles. As girls with XXX syndrome grow up, some may be more likely to develop mental conditions, but this isn’t true in all cases. There’s also a slightly elevated risk for kidney disease.

Since many people now opt for genetic testing of the fetus prior to birth, it’s possible that XXX syndrome might be diagnosed before a child is born.
Since many people now opt for genetic testing of the fetus prior to birth, it’s possible that XXX syndrome might be diagnosed before a child is born.

It cannot be stressed enough the expression of XXX syndrome can greatly vary and children with it might have few problems. As puberty occurs it is possible that girls with this illness could have more irregular periods or trouble with the menstrual cycle. The syndrome usually doesn’t reduce fertility or ability to conceive. Many women with Triple X are able to get pregnant and have normal and healthy children.

Women with XXX syndrome have a higher risk of kidney disease.
Women with XXX syndrome have a higher risk of kidney disease.

Since many people now opt for genetic testing of the fetus prior to birth, it’s possible that XXX syndrome might be diagnosed before a child is born. This can actually be good news for the parents, because such a diagnosis gives them the opportunity to prepare for a child who might have higher needs. If the child born does, indeed, have troubles with poor muscle tone, early occupational therapy may be of use in helping to address this problem. Similarly assessment of learning abilities could take place sooner so that support is given either before or from the onset of the child’s schooling career. With these interventions, there is much indication that this diagnosis need not interfere with a purposeful and productive life.

Receiving a XXX syndrome diagnosis before the child is born can help parents prepare for a child who might have higher needs.
Receiving a XXX syndrome diagnosis before the child is born can help parents prepare for a child who might have higher needs.
Under normal circumstances, each woman is born with two X chromosomes.
Under normal circumstances, each woman is born with two X chromosomes.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

Feryll

@Animandel - You mentioned that the fact that young girls with XXX syndrome are often taller is probably not one of the major concerns with the condition. However, body image is very important to young girls, so being abnormally tall could have a lasting effect on them throughout their lives.

I'll agree that being tall is not as harmful as having a learning disability has the potential o be, but we should not dismiss the role of the way a person looks in the development of the person emotionally and psychologically. This can be even more of a concern for girls because much more importance is put on women being pretty than is placed on the way men look.

Animandel

@Sporkasia - From reading this article, it seems to me that XXX syndrome could easily go undiagnosed, or it could be diagnosed as some other condition. I bet most families who have children with the condition go through a lot of challenges that go unnoticed by the average observer looking in from the outside.

Also, I imagine that the extra height in girls is the lesser of the symptoms of XXX syndrome.

Sporkasia

Until my daughter met a new friend in school this year, I had not heard of XXX syndrome. The little girl is tall for her age, taller than all of the boys in her class. However, this isn't strange since girls often get their growth spurts early and reach their maximum heights before boys.

Anyway, after reading this article, I understand more about this condition. In the case of the little girl who is friends with my daughter, you can't see simply by looking that she has triple X. She is a normal little girl who simply is much taller than the other kids in the class as far as most people know.

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