The health care provider will perform a physical examination. They will measure your child's height, weight, and arm and leg lengths.
To figure out possible causes for your child’s short stature, the health care provider will ask about your child’s history. They will ask:
- About your family history
- How tall are the parents and grandparents?
- How tall are the brothers or sisters?
- Are other relatives less-than-average height?
- Have any family members been diagnosed with a disorder that can cause short stature?
- At what age did the parents start puberty?
- About your child's history
- What was the child's birth like?
- How is the child's diet?
- Has the child begun to show signs of puberty?
- At what age did puberty signs begin?
- Has the child always been on the small side of the growth charts?
- Was the child growing normally and then the rate of growth began to slow?
- What other symptoms are present?
- Is the child's short stature affecting their self-esteem or causing any problems at school or with friends?
If your child’s short stature seems related to a medical condition, your child will need some lab tests and x-rays.
- A bone age x-ray. X-rays are usually taken of the left wrist or hand.
- Your health care provider looks at the x-ray to see if the size and shape of your child’s bones have grown normally.
- If the bones have not grown as expected for your child's age, your health care provider will talk more about why your child may not be growing normally.
- Girls with short stature may have a genetic test done to check for certain diseases such as Turner syndrome.
Your child may have other tests done as well. Some of these tests may be:
- Complete blood count
- Growth hormone stimulation
- Insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels
- Blood tests to look for liver, kidney, thyroid, and other medical problems
Your health care provider keeps records of your child’s height and weight. Keep your own records as well. Bring these records to your health care provider's attention if the growth seems slow or your child seems small.
Your child's short stature may affect their self-esteem.
- Check in with your child to check if classmates and friends tease them.
- Give your child emotional support.
- Help family, friends, and teachers emphasize your child's skills and strengths.
TREATING WITH GROWTH HORMONE INJECTIONS
If your child has no or low levels of growth hormone, your health care provider will talk about treatment with growth hormone injections. See: Growth hormone deficiency
Growth hormone injections are also used to treat children with Turner syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, chronic kidney failure, or idiopathic short stature (ISS).
Most children who have normal growth hormone levels will not need growth hormone injections. Your health care provider may talk about growth hormone injections when:
- The growth curve shows that the child will be a very short adult. Using growth hormone will usually increase the child's final height by 2 - 3 inches.
- The child was born small for gestational age
If your child is a boy with short stature and delayed puberty, your health care provider may talk about using testosterone injections to jump start growth.