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TRAPPED IN THE BODY OF A 10 YR OLD: TEENAGE GIRL BORN WITHOUT HORMONES

She is about to start driving and soon will be able to legally buy alcohol and get married, but Poppy Webb-Jones still looks and thinks like a ten-year-old girl. Unlike other 17-year-olds, Poppy is more interested in Hannah Montana and Justin Bieber than wearing make-up, experimenting with boys or staying out late. This is due to a rare condition which means she was born without any hormones, meaning she has never gone through puberty, never had a growth spurt and never thrown a teenage tantrum. To many parents of teenagers, Poppy must sound like the perfect child, but unbeknown to her or her mother Karen Webb-Meek, her condition posed a deadly risk to her health throughout her whole childhood. Poppy was born with a condition called panhypopituitarism meaning she lacks most of the hormones essential for life. Hypopituitarism is the decreased secretion of one or more of the eight hormones normally produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. If there is decreased secretion of most pituitary hormones, the term panhypopituitarism (pan meaning all) is used. Poppy has no growth hormone, meaning her bones stopped growing around the age of 11, and she has no thyroxine, which regulates the metabolism and energy levels. In addition she has no oestrogen, which controls the onset of puberty and the development of secondary sexual characteristics.

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