Benefits of growth hormone when you have stopped growing

Growth hormone (GH for short) is produced throughout your life but is higher when you are a teenager and a young adult and then starts to fall as you get older.

All young people with conditions affecting the hypothalamus and pituitary gland who have had injections of GH to help them grow need to be checked out as to whether they would benefit from continuing with GH until they are in their 20s.

Studies have shown us that young people who do not continue with GH can have smaller muscles and bones and larger amounts of fat. Studies have also shown that young people who continue with growth hormone increase the size of their muscles and bones and reduce their amount of fat. Now girls may think they don’t want bigger muscles – don’t worry your muscles won’t get really big – think about the benefits of less fat! In some young people energy levels are also lower off GH and improve by restarting GH.

How will they check out whether I need to take growth hormone when I have stopped growing?

This depends, if you take lots of hormones because your pituitary gland is not working the doctors and nurses will know without stopping your GH injections or doing further tests that your pituitary gland is still not making enough GH. If you are only on GH or GH and one or two other hormone replacements the doctors and nurses will want to stop your GH and do some tests. They will want to check the levels of your GH using a special test and your insulin like growth factor -1 levels, IGF-1 for short. If your GH and IGF-1 levels are low showing that your pituitary gland is still not making enough, more often than not you will be offered to start back on GH injections.  

When can I stop taking growth hormone?

Studies tell us that the increase in the size of your muscles and bones happens up until your mid twenties so around 25 would be a reasonable time to stop GH injections. After you have stopped you may notice your energy levels are flagging, if so you could consider starting GH injections again as in adults as they can boost energy levels.

Questions you could ask your doctor or nurse

  • How likely am I to need GH when I have stopped growing?
  • What are the benefits of staying on GH after I have stopped growing?
  • What would happen if I wanted a break from GH injections?