Mermaid Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
About Mermaid Syndrome
Mermaid syndrome is a birth defect which causes the lower limbs of the uterus to be fused together. This defect has been named as mermaid syndrome, because of its resemblance to the mermaid. Mermaid is one of the mythical creatures which are one of the most famous subjects of different kinds of story tellers. Knowing the causes, symptoms and treatment of mermaid syndrome is important.
Most known cases of people suffering from mermaid syndrome have proven to be fatal. On diagnosis of disease, doctors usually opt for immediate multiple reconstruction surgeries to treat the patients. However, it is quite disheartening to learn that even after undergoing surgery, the chances of survival of patients are very less. This condition is also called as sirennomelia, wherein in maximum cases, fetus is born dead, however, some studies claim some live births too.
Causes of Mermaid Syndrome
With this condition being so rare across the world, the exact cause of mermaid syndrome still remains unknown. In spite of so much ambiguity, few conditions may be the influencing factors or causes of mermaid syndrome;
- Women suffering from serious illnesses during pregnancy have maximum chances of giving birth to a child affected with mermaid syndrome.
- Mutation of genes from mother or father can be the cause of genetic disorder in infants.
- Some studies suggest that environmental factors have also been considered as a cause of mermaid syndrome. Exposure to toxins, radiations can sometimes be the underlying cause of both legs of fetus getting fused together.
- Physical and mental stress can have devastating effect on the development of fetus in the womb, which can be one of the causes of such congenital problems in new born babies.
- Certain medicines, medical conditions or certain deficiencies too can be a contributing cause of mermaid syndrome.
Symptoms of Mermaid syndrome
Symptoms of mermaid syndrome not only affect the limb of new born babies but has many other abnormalities which makes it difficult to survive. While some of the babies are suffering with fused limbs some are also said to suffer from the following symptoms
- Absence of genitals
- Spine abnormality or there are also chances of absence of spine
- Kidneys are often absent in such individuals
- Abnormality in opening of lower gastrointestinal tract is another common sign of this syndrome.
It is important to note that symptoms of the mermaid syndrome might vary with the severity of syndrome a kid is suffering from. Symptoms of mermaid syndrome can sometimes be seen in some milder forms.
Person with mild form of mermaid syndrome commonly suffers from fused legs at the ankle. They might even suffer with an extent of skin attached between the legs. While in normal cases, bones of individuals are appropriately formed. But in cases when individuals are suffering with mermaid syndrome, they have malformed legs with only two bones inside it. In certain cases, feet are absent and the lower part of leg is also tapering.
These symptoms of mermaid syndrome can help to identify the difference in the body structure of infants suffering from mermaid syndrome.
Treatment of Mermaid Syndrome
Most infants suffering from mermaid syndrome are born still or dead but if in case, they are born alive it is quite difficult for them to survive. However treatment of mermaid syndrome can be tried with the help of certain options.
- Reconstruction surgery is one of the options for treatment of mermaid syndrome. However, even after treating the patient through surgery, the chances of their survival are quite less.
- For babies who have fused legs or inseparable blood vessels and other structures, it is quite difficult for performing surgeries on them. It even becomes impossible to treat them. In spite of all the odds, if the new born is treated with surgery the chances of survival are very less. However, if in case surgery is carried out successfully and the baby is fortunate he might survive a disabled life for some years.
Studies have discovered few survivors of mermaid syndrome, however, even with surgery and treatment, the kids have dealt with one or other complexities.
While the exact cause of mermaid syndrome is not known, taking measures to prevent the disorder is difficult. However, it is important to take all the necessary precautions before a woman conceives and during pregnancy to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Proper antenatal care, diet and prevention of exposure to toxins and radiation must be taken. Timely pre-natal checks are important, which can help in early detection and treatment of congenital malformations.
Moreover, once babies are born it is necessary to keenly observe for any symptoms of mermaid syndrome or any deformity that needs immediate attention. Timely treatment and surgery may help the baby survive.