Your child has short stature if he or she is at less than the 5th percentile on the growth chart. This means that:
Your health care provider checks how your child is growing at your child’s regular check ups.
Your child’s health care provider:
There are many reasons that your child has short stature.
Most of the time there is no medical cause for short stature. Here is what may be going on.
Sometimes short stature may be a symptom of a medical conditions such as:
This list does not include every possible cause of short stature.
If your child appears to be much shorter than most children his or her age or if they seem to have stopped growing, call your health care provider.
The health care provider will perform a physical examination. They will measure your child's height, weight, and arm and leg lengths.
To figure out possible causes for your child’s short stature, the health care provider will ask about your child’s history. They will ask:
If your child’s short stature seems related to a medical condition, your child will need some lab tests and x-rays.
Your child may have other tests done as well. Some of these tests may be:
Your health care provider keeps records of your child’s height and weight. Keep your own records as well. Bring these records to your health care provider's attention if the growth seems slow or your child seems small.
Your child's short stature may affect their self-esteem.
TREATING WITH GROWTH HORMONE INJECTIONS
If your child has no or low levels of growth hormone, your health care provider will talk about treatment with growth hormone injections. See: Growth hormone deficiency
Growth hormone injections are also used to treat children with Turner syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, chronic kidney failure, or idiopathic short stature (ISS).
Most children who have normal growth hormone levels will not need growth hormone injections. Your health care provider may talk about growth hormone injections when:
If your child is a boy with short stature and delayed puberty, your health care provider may talk about using testosterone injections to jump start growth.
Idiopathic short stature; Non-growth hormone deficient short stature
Cohen P, Rogol AD, Deal CL, et al. Wit JM: 2007 ISS Consensus Workshop participants. Consensus statement on the diagnosis and treatment of children with idiopathic short stature: a summary of the Growth Hormone Research Society, the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Workshop. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93:4210-4217.
van Gool SA, Kamp GA, Odink RJ, et al. High-dose GH treatment limited to the prepubertal period in young children with idiopathic short stature does not increase adult height. Eur J Endocrinol. 2010 Apr;162(4):653-60. Epub 2010 Jan 28.
Collett-Solberg PF, Misra M. Drug and Therapeutics Committee of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society. The role of recombinant human insulin-like growth factor-1 in treating children with short stature. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93:10-18.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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