15.Could I have 'caught' Kallmann syndrome from somebody ?
No, Kallmann syndrome is not contagious or caused by a bacteria or virus so it can not be caught like a case of flu. It is a congenital disorder, meaning that it is present from birth.
There are some cases of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, but not Kallmann syndrome, that can be acquired during life under certain circumstances but these cases are very rare and primarily only affect females. These normally after puberty has occurred where the activities of the hypothalamus and pituitary have been disrupted leading to low levels of oestrogen and the absence of periods (amenorrhoea).
Kallmann syndrome and the majority of other forms of congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism are genetic in origin. However there are many questions still to be answered about how the condition is caused and the genetic make up of the condition.
Unlike some other better understood genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis for instance the genetics behind the condition are far from being understood. With some conditions only one gene is involved so it is a fairly simple task for doctors and clinical scientists to test for the implicated gene and identify whether it is present or not.
However with Kallmann syndrome and other forms of CHH it is not so straight forward. To date there have been at least 25 different genes that have been implicated in causing Kallmann syndrome or CHH. Also these 25 genes only cover approximately 50% of cases, this still leaves 50% of cases with an unknown genetic origin.
It is sometimes difficult to tell if a case of Kallmann syndrome has arisen sporadically or has been inherited from one or both parents. Sometimes it can be a mixture of the two, with one KS related gene being inherited and another gene occurring sporadically.
The fact that Kallmann syndrome and CHH can be caused by two genes working in combination makes predicting the inheritance of the condition almost impossible unless there is a strong family history of the condition. Also this helps to explain why two siblings, even two twins, with the condition do not always show the same range and severity of symptoms.