There are various causes of short children, ranging from malnutrition, heredity, to too little growth hormone. One way that can be done to overcome this condition is to use growth hormone therapy.
growth hormone or human growth hormone (HGH) is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. This hormone functions to ensure that children can grow and develop normally.
If a child's body lacks growth hormone, then he may look shorter than his peers. So that children who are short due to growth hormone deficiency can grow tall normally, he can be given growth hormone therapy.
Recognizing Height Growth Disorders in Children
In addition to a lack of growth hormone, short stature in children can be caused by several things, including genetic factors. This condition normally occurs in children whose parents have short stature.
Certain diseases or conditions, such as malnutrition, anemia, asthma, bone growth disorders, and hypothyroidism in children, also play a role in causing children to be underweight.
Short stature caused by growth hormone deficiency usually can be recognized since the child is 2-3 years old. The signs are:
- The face looks younger than children his age.
- He is shorter in height than his age.
- The child's body looks fat.
- Delayed puberty, even the child may not experience puberty.
To ascertain whether there is a growth hormone disorder in children, a thorough examination is required, such as a physical examination, assessment of nutritional status to measure the child's weight and height, blood tests, and X-ray examinations.
This series of examinations is useful for determining the cause of the child's short stature, measuring the amount of growth hormone in the child's body, knowing the level of bone growth, and knowing how the child's body produces and uses growth hormone.
The Role of Growth Hormone Therapy in Short Children
The condition of a child who is short due to a lack of growth hormone can be treated by a pediatrician. If needed, the doctor will provide growth hormone therapy to increase the child's height.
Growth hormone therapy is a long-term therapy that can last several years. This therapy is generally given by injection.
The doctor will determine the dose and how long the growth hormone therapy is given, as well as monitor the child's response to therapy with regular monitoring. When your child is on growth hormone therapy, the doctor can change the dose of therapy according to the child's needs.
This growth hormone therapy can increase a child's height due to a lack of growth hormone to approximately 10 cm in the first year and 7.5 cm in the following year.
In addition to growth hormone deficiency, this therapy can also help children who are short due to other conditions, such as premature birth, chronic kidney disease, Turner syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome.
Please note, giving growth hormone to children has several side effects, such as:
- Muscle and joint pain.
- Pain and swelling at the injection site.
In addition to having side effects, giving growth hormone to children can also cause complications in the form of spinal deformities (scoliosis), problems with the pelvic bones, such as dislocations or fractures, and diabetes. However, this rarely happens.
Therefore, dosage adjustment and periodic health evaluations should be carried out to monitor the child's condition and assess whether the child experiences side effects while undergoing growth hormone therapy.
Growth hormone therapy can be one way to optimize a child's height. Even so, this therapy has risks. Parents can discuss this in depth with their pediatrician to further understand the benefits and risks of this therapy.