May also be called: Growth Hormone Deficiency
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).
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 rates vary.
Children with pituitary dwarfism have normal intelligence and with early detection and treatment, many of them can also reach a normal height.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|Little People of America LPA is a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families.|
|Human Growth Foundation The Human Growth Foundation is a resource for kids and teens with growth problems.|
|Hormone Foundation The Hormone Foundation's mission is to serve as a resource for the public by promoting the prevention, treatment, and cure of hormone-related diseases.|
|What Are Glands? You've heard of glands, but what are they? Find out in this article for kids.|
|Your Endocrine System The endocrine system produces hormones, which are needed for proper body function and growth. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Endocrine System Although we rarely think about them, the glands of the endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies.|
|Growth Disorders Everyone grows and matures differently. Usually, this is totally normal. A growth disorder, however, means that a kid has abnormal growth - for example, growing a lot slower or a lot faster than other kids the same age.|
|What Is a Growth Disorder? The other kids in the class have been getting taller and developing into young adults, but your child's growth seems to be lagging behind. Could a growth disorder be the cause?|
|Growth Problems In most cases, teens who are small are just physically maturing a bit more slowly than their friends. Occasionally, though, there's a medical reason why some kids and teens stop growing. Find out about growth problems and how doctors can help.|
|Endocrine System The endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ, and function of our bodies. It is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, metabolism, and sexual function, among other things.|
|Dwarfism Dwarfism is a condition that is characterized by short stature. Many of the possible complications of dwarfism are treatable, so that people of short stature can lead healthy, active lives.|
|Dwarfism A dwarf is a short-statured person whose adult height is 4 feet 10 inches or under. Find out what happens when a person has dwarfism and why some people are born with it.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.