Not much is known regarding long-term effects of growth hormones. There’s little research on growth hormones, and although there are doctors who believe there will be few issues, some are a little fearful and think kids are being exposed to health risks.
Prior to 2003, some parent wouldn’t accept hormone therapy without adequate proof that a child has needed growth hormone to encourage growth. However, today, doctors are able to prescribe hormone treatment for children who are extremely short for their age.
Having said that, there are growth hormone side effects in children associated with this kind of treatment. Researchers also believe there are psychological issues associated with such treatment as well.
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Treatment for stunted height
A common treatment for hormone deficiency in children is growth hormone therapy, which involves the injection of growth hormone into your child’s body. a growth hormone can be injected by a patient, a friend of members of the family in case the patient is a child. Hormones, normally secreted by the pituitary gland, encourage growth leading to cell reproduction in your child body.
Once your doctor prescribed hormone therapy to your child, he will be required to take daily doses. But, based on the extent of his condition, the frequency of the dose can be high. Normally, your child will be required to visit the doctor between 4 and 8 weeks as treatment progresses to monitor your child’s condition.
The doctor also keeps a close eye on your child’s cholesterol levels, bone density and glucose levels to ensure everything is at an optimum level. A regular dose of growth hormone can interfere with the body’s response to insulin, which is responsible for regulating blood glucose. So, untreated deficiency may cause an increase in blood cholesterol as well as weak bones.
Side Effects and Risks
Some people can cope with growth hormone injections with few to no problems. However, possible growth hormone side effects in children may include joint discomfort, muscle ache, headache and swelling of the feet and hands. If your child complains of these problems and others, speak to his doctor so that the dose can be adjusted where necessary in order to remedy the symptoms.
Additionally, growth hormone injections shouldn’t be given to children with cancer, tumors, breathing problems, serious illnesses or complications related to open abdominal or heart surgery.
Human growth hormones have potential consequences in people with diabetes, so consult with your doctor before you administer an injection. Your doctor can recommend other kinds of treatment depending on the cause of your child’s deficiency.
Excess hormonal levels
If growth hormone levels are exceedingly high, your child may experience joint pain, fluid retention causing swelling and carpal tunnel syndrome. Prolonged growth hormone use can lead to a condition known as acromegaly. Kids with this condition may experience an overgrowth of excessive growth of the bones, around the face and feet.
Most parents are grateful when therapy results in a marked increase in height. However, studies haven’t proven clearly that this kind of treatment leads to a better quality of life for your child. Actually significant research done on adult patients has shown that short height is linked to a couple of negative results.
Based on social norms, taller people stand a greater chance of making more money. In addition, taller people stand a high chance of marrying tall people, which lowers suicide rates. However, it’s not clear whether growth hormone treatment makes any difference.
Currently, studies are focused on finding out whether stunted growth has any psychological effect on children.
A child who is severely short requires intensive treatment. However, if shortness does not interfere with the well-being of a child, there is no need to create an intervention program. If you are pushing to have your child treated and he isn’t too enthusiastic about it, his self-esteem may erode with time.
Usually, it is best to assume your child is well adjusted and doesn’t need treatment. In addition, the benefit of treatment isn’t always clear. Most of the improvement to idiopathic stunted stature takes place in the first few years of treatment. Thereafter, there’s not more growth.
Buy-ins from your kid are important because daily hormone injections tend to take a huge toll on the child’s emotion, especially during the early stages of treatment.
There are many well-adjusted stunted people, adults and children, who have accepted their height and they function really well. That said, there are people who have benefited from hormone therapy.
Parents want the best for their children, especially when it comes to issues that can affect kids emotionally such as stunted growth. Most parents turn to growth hormone therapy to encourage some growth in their children. Unfortunately, growth hormone side effects can make things a little difficult for kids undergoing therapy. We hope you will consider the side effects we have listed before you take your child for treatment.