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What are the symptoms of Prader Willi syndrome?

Updated: 4 hours ago

Welcome to our 'Answering your Questions' series of posts that are created to provide guidance, insights and links to further information on the topics that concern you the most. If you would like any further details, why not try our Ask an Expert service or contact us directly.


A common question from the medical community as well as parents who do not have prior knowledge of a rare disorder such as Prader-Willi, is what are the symptoms?


Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic condition whose cause is quite complex, but symptoms are usually noticeable shortly after birth. As other disorders can have overlapping manifestations the diagnosis should be confirmed by genetic testing, which IPWSO can offer support for here, if not available in your country.


PWS can cause a wide variety of conditions, characteristics, disabilities, and potential issues that can affect a person psychologically and physically, impacting their development. Not all people with PWS are exactly alike nor experience all of the same symptoms as one another.


Therefore, we have briefly outlined the topics that are commonplace, with additional information if you click on the links:


- Physical Characteristics including differences from other family members in facial appearance such as a narrow forehead and almond shaped eyes, weak muscles, floppiness and S-shaped curvature of the spine can occur.


- Growth Deficiency and short stature


- Incomplete Sexual Development


- Intellectual & Leaning Disability


- Speech & Language Difficulties


- Balance and Coordination


- Scratching and Skin picking


- An excessive appetite and overeating, often leading to obesity


- Behavioural Difficulties such as bad tempers, mood swings, addictive & repetitive personalities


Read more details for all these conditions here.


There is currently no cure for Prader-Willi syndrome, nor is there a drug that can be prescribed to alleviate all of the symptoms. Early diagnosis of PWS gives parents an opportunity to manage their child‘s diet, prevent or treat infantile failure to thrive, avoid obesity from the start, and improve behaviour.


If you require any additional information please contact us today – office@ipwso.org


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