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Growth Hormone Deficiency in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is growth hormone deficiency (GHD)?

GHD is a condition that prevents your child's pituitary from making enough growth hormone. The pituitary is a gland in the brain. Growth hormone makes children and adolescents grow taller. Throughout life, it helps increase muscle mass and strengthens bones. Growth hormone also helps the liver and pancreas work correctly and stimulates the immune system. Your child may be born with GHD, or it may develop later.

What are the signs and symptoms of GHD?

What causes or increases my child's risk for GHD?

How is GHD diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will check your child's height and weight. He or she will use a growth chart to compare your child's height with average heights of children his or her age. He or she may ask if your child has a family history of GHD or other hormone disorders. Tell the provider about your child's medical conditions and current medicines. If your child is an adolescent, the provider may ask if puberty has started. Your child may need several tests before GHD can be diagnosed:

How is GHD treated?

Treatment depends on your child's height and age, and the cause of his or her GHD. Treatment usually includes medicine to replace missing growth hormone. Your child's provider will tell you how long to continue giving the medicine. This is usually for several years, until growth is finished.

What can I do to help my child manage GHD?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.