Nine girls presenting under the age of 7 years with unsustained sexual precocity are described. Large ovarian cysts were detected by ultrasound in three and laparotomy in one. In two girls the symptoms resolved after surgical removal of the cyst; the other seven had spontaneous remission of symptoms, but in two of these transient breast development and bleeding recurred: further ovarian cyst formation was found in one of these patients. Endocrine studies performed before resolution of the cysts showed raised plasma oestradiol concentrations (64 to 440 pmol/l) in three girls and no appreciable rise in plasma luteinising hormone after gonadotrophin releasing hormone stimulation in two. We conclude that ovarian cyst formation with spontaneous resolution may cause transient sexual precocity in girls, and that ultrasound examination is an effective means of diagnosing and following these patients.
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