Pituitary dwarfism, or growth
hormone deficiency, is a condition in which the pituitary gland does not make enough
growth hormone. This results in a child's slow growth pattern and an unusually small
stature (below average height).
More to Know
Pituitary gland dysfunction can be congenital, meaning the child was born with
the abnormality, or can be acquired during or after birth.
It tends to run in families.
Some causes of acquired pituitary dwarfism include brain
tumors or diseases that affect the pituitary or hypothalamus, head trauma, radiation therapy for certain
cancers, and an autoimmune condition called lymphocytic hypophysitis.
The main symptom of pituitary dwarfism is below-average growth, although body proportions
will be normal. Other characteristics might include an immature appearance, a chubby
body build, a prominent forehead, and an underdeveloped bridge of the nose.
If a tumor is present, symptoms may include headaches, vomiting, double vision,
sleep disturbances, and excessive thirst.
Pituitary dwarfism is treated with regular injections of synthetic human growth
hormone before a child's growth
plates have joined together. It can be difficult to manage, however, and success
Keep in Mind
Children with pituitary dwarfism have normal intelligence and with early detection
and treatment, many of them can also reach a normal height.
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