Growth Problems in Children | Treatment Options | Nutrition

Growth problems in children

What are the growth problems in children?

Growth is delayed when the child does not grow at a normal rate for his age. Growth problems in children can occur due to an underlying health condition, such as growth hormone deficiency or hypothyroidism. In some cases, early treatment can help the child reach normal or normal heights.

If you suspect that your child is not developing at a normal rate, make an appointment with your doctor. This can be a sign of other health problems.

10 reasons why a child does not grow

There are many reasons for a child to gain weight for healthy growth, In addition to:

  • Not getting enough calories

In 90% of cases, children are growing because they are not getting enough calories. This happens when the child is not interested in eating for various reasons or the parents do not understand how many calories their child needs. Even with young children, he is active and healthy, but less interested in eating.

For babies during the first few months, it may be due to an inadequate supply of breast milk or improperly mixing formula.

  • Limited diet

Occasionally, a caregiver with their own mental health problems may not feed children properly, Or a doctor may inadvertently add too much dilution to the formula. Some families may also suffer from food shortages.

Even an older child or teenager may not eat enough calories because they are struggling with body image issues due to an eating disorder (formerly known as anorexia nervosa).

  • Oral or neurological problems

Growth problems in children occur when a child may not eat well if he has oral sensitivity or nerve problems. These problems affect your ability to swallow and can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy or a cleft palate.

  • Vomiting

Sometimes a child may not be able to reduce formula or diet because of excessive vomiting. It can be caused by severe acid reflux or some neurological problems and can lead to low muscle tone and many other disorders.

Most babies with acid reflux get better and their growth continues without problems. But a young baby with less frequent vomiting may have a narrowing of the stomach outlet called pyloric stenosis. This requires a special evaluation with an abdominal ultrasound.

  • Pancreas problems

A child who does not digest food properly may not gain weight because the pancreas has a small capacity. Children in this scenario may have symptoms of thick, foamy, loose, smelly, and greasy stools (similar to cystic fibrosis).

  • Gastrointestinal disorders

Defects that affect the lining of the intestine, including celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, can also cause weight loss in children. Symptoms begin when gluten-containing foods are introduced into the celiac disease diet.

  • Thyroid and metabolic problems

In some cases, a child can burn too many calories if they have an overactive thyroid gland.

  • Cardiac conditions

A child with a heart condition that can lead to heart failure will not be able to eat well if he works too hard to breathe.

  • Growth caused by the kidneys

In rare cases, kidney failure or other kidney defects can affect weight gain (as well as height).

  • Genetic defects

Additionally, some children may have a variety of genetic defects that affect weight gain, which may require expert evaluation.

Symptoms of growth problems in children

If your child is shorter than other children, he/she may have a growth problem. It is considered a medical problem if they are less than 95 per cent of their age and their growth rate is slow.

Although height is within the normal range, stunting can be diagnosed even in children whose growth rate is slow.

Depending on the root cause of their growth failure, they may have other symptoms:

  • If they have certain types of dwarfs, the size of their arms or legs may not be in normal proportion to their torso.
  • If the thyroxine hormone is low, they may have difficulty gaining energy, constipation, dry skin, dry hair, and heat.
  • If you have low levels of growth hormone (GH), it can affect the growth of your face to make them look extraordinarily young.
  • If its delayed rise is caused by stomach or intestinal illness, there may be blood in the stool, diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, or nausea.

What causes growth problems in children?

Growth problems in children can have various causes. The most common causes are:

Family history of short stature

It is common for a child to grow slower than his peers if the parents or other family members are shorter. An increase in delay due to family history is not an indication of an underlying problem. The child may be below average due to genetics.

Constitutional growth retardation

Children with this condition are below average but grow at a normal rate. They generally delay “bone age,” which means that your bones grow more slowly than your age. They also reach puberty than their peers. This leads to below-average heights in the early teenage years, but they meet their peers in their teens.

Growth hormone deficiency

Under normal circumstances, GH promotes the growth of body tissues. Children with partial or complete GH deficiency may not be able to maintain a healthy growth rate.


Children or children with hypothyroidism may have a dysfunctional thyroid gland. The thyroid is responsible for the release of hormones that promote normal growth, so stunting is a sign of a useless thyroid.

Turner syndrome

Turner syndrome (TS) is a genetic condition that affects women who lose part or all of the X chromosome. TS affects 1 in 2,500 women. Although children with TS produce normal amounts of GH, their bodies do not use it effectively.

Other reasons for stunting

Less common causes of delay increase:

  • Down syndrome, a genetic condition in which individuals have 47 chromosomes instead of the normal 46.
  • Skeletal dysplasia is a group of conditions that cause problems with bone growth.
  • Some types of anemia, such as sickle cell anemia
  • Kidney, heart, gastrointestinal, or lung disease.
  • The use of certain medications by the mother born during pregnancy.
  • Poor nutrition
  • Severe stress


 Your paediatrician will begin by taking a detailed medical history. They collect information about your child’s personal and family health history,

  • Birth mother’s pregnancy
  • Length and weight of the child at birth
  • The heights of other people in your family.
  • Information about other family members who have experienced stunting.

The doctor can record your child’s growth for six months or more.

Some tests and imaging studies can help the doctor develop a diagnosis. An X-ray of the hand and wrist provides important information about your child’s bone development and age. Blood tests can detect problems with hormonal imbalances or help diagnose certain diseases of the stomach, intestines, kidneys, or bones.

In some cases, the doctor may ask your child to stay in the hospital overnight for a blood test. Two-thirds of GH production occurs when your child is asleep.

Also, stunting and short stature can sometimes be part of your child’s diagnosed syndrome, such as Down syndrome or TS.

Do my children need growth hormone treatment?

Growth problems in children can be treated with growth hormone treatment.

The number of children eligible for growth hormone treatment is low, the undiagnosed condition goes undetected, and it is significantly less. It is given by injection during the night and treatment generally continues until the end of puberty.

There are some well-described (but unusual) short-term side effects, such as injection site reactions, exacerbation of scoliosis (curved spine), and headache that can be relieved when the drug is stopped. Long-term safety data on the use of growth hormone in childhood is imperative, but ongoing studies are trying to address this more conclusively.

Your child’s treatment plan will depend on the cause of the augmentation delay.

For late increases associated with a family history or constitutional delay, doctors generally do not recommend any treatment or intervention.

For other underlying causes, the following treatments or interventions can usually help increase it.

Growth hormone deficiency

If your child is diagnosed with GH deficiency, your doctor may recommend GH injections. Parents usually do the injections at home, usually once a day.

This treatment will continue for many years as your baby continues to grow. Your paediatrician will monitor the effectiveness of GH treatment and adjust the dose accordingly.


Your paediatrician may prescribe thyroid hormone replacement medications to replace your child’s dysfunctional thyroid gland which is one of the causes of growth problems in children. During treatment, the doctor will monitor your child’s thyroid hormone level regularly. Some children will overcome this disorder naturally in a few years, while others will need to continue treatment for the rest of their lives.

Turner syndrome

Although children with TS produce GH naturally, their bodies can use it more effectively when given by injection. At the age of four or five, your paediatrician may recommend starting daily GH injections to increase your chances of reaching normal adult height.

Similar to treating a GH defect, you can usually give your child injections at home. If the injections do not control your child’s symptoms, the doctor may adjust the dose.

There are more reasons than mentioned above. Depending on the cause, there may be other treatments available for your child’s growth failure. For more information, talk with your doctor about how you can help your child reach a normal adult height.

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