extremely short 8 year old, is growth hormone an option?(12 Posts)
I'm new here so you may have to forgive me for some things especially this long question!!!!
My son is 8 years old and at his last measuring in May was only 113cm.
As a bit of background he was born as 24 weeks weighing in at 1lb 6oz, he faced many problems including nec of the bowel which meant he had to have half of it removed when he was 2 weeks old. At 5 months old he got RSV after a 7 hour op to put them back together. He came home when he was 8 months old. He also had the usual problems including brain bleeds etc. A lot of his time in hospital meant he couldn't feed properly and had quite long bouts where his food was restricted because of either treatment he was receiving or problems with it coming up and shutting off his lungs. So growth was very slow.
However, his main problem now is at 8 years old and being so small due to his medical background, his peers have started rejecting him. When he was younger it was not so much an issue as young children accept everyone and everything. He is getting upset everyday because he is getting picked on, and is becoming angry and frustrated about his size. He is losing his happy go lucky character. He looks about 5 years old.
When I have previously mentioned this to his pead. he has told me not to worry as there are plenty of small children. He also stays on his growth line which is at the bottom of the centile so he doesn't have a hormone deficiency. However, I have not come across any as severely small as my son. Also, as it is now affecting him in this negative way I don't want this to be it for him for the rest of his school life and possibly adult life. I'd really like him to have growth hormone to at least get him to a reasonable height that makes his more acceptable.
Has anyone else had this problem, and if so how have you dealt with it? Should I press his doctor into doing something?
Any advice would be gratefully received.
I would speak to them again and ascertain at what age growth hormones become useless...there is a cut off point I think....and you need to know when that is so that you can make an educated choice about how long to leave him to "catch up" for
With regards to what sounds like low self esteem, I think you need to look at helping him to feel more confident in his own skin....does he attend Beavers? Or any other clubs?
Here is an interesting and helpful article...about growth hormones and children It is very informative.
It speaks of a pediatric endocrinologist who helped a boy who was a preemie and had not caught up at age 14...he was 4.10. and was given growth hormones. This was in the USA but if you read the piece and then go back to the doctor, you will at least be armed.
My DD2 was offered growth hormone about that age but we didn't want it.
However all my DC's are small, as me and DH are small. DS2 who is now 11 was about 118 at age 8, and DD1 is only about 4'11 and she is 19 in a couple of weeks.
If it is really concerning you then maybe ask again about the growth hormone. My DC's seem less bothered as they have got older. They are all noticeable smaller than children of the same ages.
I feel in DD's case growth hormone would go against how she was meant to be naturally, but in your case I think it would help your ds catch up to where he would have been without the prematurity and other issues.
(DS = Dear son and DD = dear daughter just in case you haven't read the acronyms yet!)
You need to ask for a referral to a paediatric endocrinologist. As you say your DS's growth hormone levels are currently normal (and you suspect that he is actually growing normally after a compromised start) then you do need expert advice on whether or not they would actually make any difference at the moment.
Also, it might be worth asking about the possibility of using growth hormones later to boost the normal puberty growth spurt.
The article I linked to spoke of how growth hormones aren't much help if the child has normal levels already. But as Edith says, later on this might not be the case...in the article the child didn't get the hormones till' he was 14...and he grew a lot then.
I think you're right to start researching now..
OP, my DS is also 113cm at 7.5 years old, so very similar to your son. He was full term though, weighing 6.2lbs at birth. He is also maintaining his centile (0.2nd, so barely on the chart) but obviously growing very very slowly and is noticeably loads shorter than any of the children in his class (and the class below, and even quite a few of the children in DS2's class - he's 5). The paed has not mentioned growth hormones, though did check on his 'bone age' (through an x-ray) and that is apparently 1-2 years below his actual age, so she feels he may just be a late starter and continue growing after his peers have stopped. I just hope she is right, but do feel like maybe I should be doing more at this stage.... Sorry not to have more advice but I just wanted to let you know there are other children in the same boat.
Oh and he is very aware of being 'different' and comments a lot on how much smaller he is than his friends, but so far does not seem to have had much negativity at school. However, he moves up to KS2 in September so perhaps this will change as he spends more time with children in the older classes. I find it hard as I can see the shock on people's faces when they first meet him, assuming he is 4 or 5, and then I tell them he is actually 7. I think the most important thing is to drum into him that 'different' is good and that he is fine just as he is - hopefully if he really believes that it may make him more resilient if name calling etc starts.
many thanks for all your comments, it is helpful to hear from people who have similar experiences. He has an appiontment coming up relatively soon so I think I will bring it up again, and at least make him do a bone age test which he has been promising to do for about 2 years. His brother who is 12 and was 8 weeks early is 5ft 5, 18 year old brother 6ft.
I just feel so sad for my little boy. I do try and bolster his confidence, but there is only so far you can go with it when other children keep throwing in their opinions. He loves other people whatever their age so it is hard for him to cope with rejection. I have always wrapped him up in cotton wool, and I don't want the world popping his bubble. He fought so hard to be hard here, his nickname in the medical world from Scotland back down to the northwest is miracle baby. And thats just what he is!!!
Parenting needs to come with a warning lol
I know it's hard....but you HAVE to stop being sad for him...you should be cheering him on and ignoring your own fears about his future (whilst seeking all the best medical advice of course)
You have no need to be sad by the sound of it...he's beaten massive odds, is known as a miracle and is wonderful..of COURSE he's got a great future!
Have a look at the Child Growth Foundation website. There is alot of information on there regarding growth conditions.
My son doesn't have a growth hormone deficiency as such but has a problem with the gene that determines height, we have been told he is eligible to start treatment when he reaches the age of 4. My understanding is that any child under 2nd centile should be assessed and should get treatment, although I think some people have had to fight to get the treatment.
My son had severe IUGR and when he didn't catch up they referred us to a geneticist to see if he had Russell-Silver Syndrome, that was ruled out but we got sent for chromosome microarray DNA testing to check for other things, this diagnosed the microdeletion on one of his chromosomes.
DS is now 3 yrs of age and 83cm and 20lb, he is yet to get on the growth charts.
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