Growing slowly or being on the short side is something that can happen in young people with conditions affecting the hypothalamus or pituitary gland therefore one focus is on checking that you are growing as normally as possible. If the doctors and nurses think you are not growing normally they will want to check the levels of your growth hormone, GH for short, 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 not making enough, more often than not you will be started on GH injections.
Why do you need to take growth hormone?
If the condition affecting your hypothalamus and pituitary gland means that you don’t make enough GH it is likely that you will grow slowly and end up shorter than your parents, brothers and sisters and friends when you are an adult. Although it may not seem a problem now, most people when they are older like to be a reasonable height. By taking GH, you are putting back in your body what your body does not produce, we call it a replacement rather than a treatment. If you have to take GH it only comes as a small injection that has to be taken every day. Try and find ways to make it easy for you to remember. Your doctor will check the dose is right for you by using your weight to calculate it, look at how well you are growing and also by what your IGF-1 levels are in your blood.
When can you stop taking growth hormone?
In young people with conditions affecting the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, this can be a difficult question to answer. Some of you will benefit from staying on GH injections even after you have finished growing to help keep your muscles and bones strong and your fat levels down. In some people staying on GH injections can even boost energy levels. You will need to ask your doctor.
- What is my IGF-1 level?
- What are the benefits of staying on GH after I have stopped growing?
- How likely am I to need GH when I have stopped growing?