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Children living with classic CAH lose too much water and salt in their urine. They are at risk for serious complications, including imbalances of electrolytes like potassium. Left untreated, these imbalances lead to other problems, like heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), cardiac arrest, and death. Untreated nonclassic CAH can lead to early puberty and short stature in a male, and permanent male type body changes in a female child, or irregular periods and infertility in a young woman.

Surgery to correct ambiguous genitalia carries its own risks for complications, including infection, bleeding and scarring.


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