Hypothyroidism in Children: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Hypothyroidism Children

Hypothyroidism in Children: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Hypothyroidism in children is a condition in which the thyroid, a small gland located at the base of the neck, doesn’t produce enough hormones. Unfortunately, the symptoms of hypothyroidism in children often go unnoticed until the condition is quite advanced, causing a range of developmental, physical, and mental health issues

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Children

Common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism in children include:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Poor appetite
  • Feeling cold even in warm environments
  • Delayed development such as speech, language, and motor skills
  • Delayed puberty
  • Goiter
  • Muscle cramps and aches

Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism in Children

To diagnose hypothyroidism in children, the doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and order blood tests to check hormone levels. If the doctor suspects hypothyroidism, he or she will order other tests including an ultrasound to visualize the thyroid and tests to measure antibodies, which help distinguish between forms of thyroid disease. A bone density scan may also be ordered to evaluate bone health.

Treatment of Hypothyroidism in Children

Treatment of hypothyroidism in children typically involves taking a medication every morning to replace thyroid hormones. The amount of medication and/or frequency of doses may need to be adjusted over time. After starting the medication, the doctor will check levels of thyroid hormone in the blood to ensure they are within the normal range.

For proper growth and development, the thyroid levels need to be precisely controlled. In some cases, children may need other forms of treatment such as dietary supplements, vitamins, or minerals.

Health Impact of Hypothyroidism in Children

In children, if left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to stunted growth and development, intellectual disabilities, and poor school performance. It is important for families to seek a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible if any signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism are present in order to reduce the long-term health risks associated with the condition.

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