Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.
The thyroid gland is in the lower front of your child’s neck. This gland takes iodine from the food your child eats to make thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are chemicals that control the way your child’s body turns the food she eats into energy and how fast (or slow) your child’s body uses that energy. They also control body functions such as temperature, heart rate, and appetite. They also affect emotions, growth rate, and puberty.
Mild hypothyroidism may cause no symptoms. Without treatment, however, the disease can cause heart problems or problems with memory and thinking.
Hypothyroidism is more common in girls than in boys.
Low thyroid levels may be caused by:
Symptoms may slowly get worse for months or even years. Symptoms may include:
After several months or years of untreated hypothyroidism, you may be slow to talk and move, be less alert, and feel drowsy much of the time. It may also cause heart damage.
Symptoms may slowly get worse over months or even years. Symptoms may include:
After several months or years of untreated hypothyroidism, your child may be slow to talk and move, be less alert, and feel drowsy much of the time. Heart damage can also occur.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Your child will have blood tests.
Your healthcare provider will prescribe thyroid hormone medicine. After starting treatment, your child will have blood tests to be sure she is getting the right amount of thyroid hormone. It may take several weeks to find the right dosage for your child. Once the correct dosage is found, your child’s thyroid hormone level will need to be checked every few months.
Most likely, your child will need to take thyroid hormone medicine every day for the rest of her life.
Children often start to grow taller very quickly once they start treatment. Your child’s growth should be carefully monitored by your healthcare provider. Your child may be referred to a healthcare specialist who treats diseases of glands like the thyroid (endocrinologist) to help check growth rate and hormone treatment.
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. Your child should not stop taking her medicine or change the way she takes it without your healthcare provider’s approval.
Your child will need to have blood tests to check her thyroid hormone level every few months for the rest of her life. The tests can help make sure your child is getting the right amount of medicine.