Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD)

Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

November 29, 2018

March 06, 2020

Growth Hormone Deficiency
Growth Hormone Deficiency

What is growth hormone deficiency?

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a disorder in which the anterior pituitary (a small gland at the base of the brain that produces several hormones) does not secrete enough growth hormone (GH) for normal growth.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Signs and symptoms associated with GHD in children are as follows:

  • Noticeable decline in the growth rate
  • Delayed lengthening of long bones
  • Delayed closure of skull sutures and fontanelles
  • Small penis (micropenis) in males
  • Delayed rate of development of facial bones
  • Delayed tooth eruption
  • Poor growth of nails
  • Fine hair
  • Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) in the newborn
  • High-pitched voice

Signs and symptoms associated with GHD later in life are as follows:

  • Increase in fat mass (abdominal and visceral)
  • Decrease in muscle mass and energy levels
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Increase in lipid levels (LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels)

What are the main causes?

The main causes of GHD include:

  • Congenital GHD is caused due to genetic errors or structural defects in the brain.
  • Acquired GHD can result from different causes which include:
    • Tumours of the hypothalamus or pituitary (germinoma, pituitary adenoma, glioma, craniopharyngioma, Rathke’s cleft cyst)
    • Trauma to the brain (perinatal or postnatal)
    • Infection of the central nervous system
    • Infiltrative diseases (tuberculosis, histiocytosis of Langerhans cells, sarcoidosis)
    • Radiation therapy
    • Idiopathic (of unknown cause)

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Initially,a  physical examination is done and diagnosis is formed as per the individual's age. The physician will advise the following tests to confirm whether the growth retardation is due to GHD:

  • Tests for stimulating the secretion of GH by the pituitary by using agents like l-dopa, arginine, insulin and clonidine, followed by testing the levels of GH at regular intervals.
  • Other blood tests including free T4, TSH, cortisol and coeliac antibodies.
  • Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is used to screen for GHD and monitor GH therapy.

Treatment starts immediately after confirmation of the diagnosis and includes:

  • Administration of recombinant human GH in children with GHD.
  • The dosage is slowly increased to its maximum dose during puberty, and stopped when skeletal maturation is almost complete.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of somatropin for the treatment of GHD.


  1. National Organization for Rare Disorders. [Internet]. Danbury; Growth Hormone Deficiency
  2. Merih Berberoğlu. Evaluation of Permanent Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) in Young Adults with Childhood Onset GHD: A multicenter study. J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2008 Sep; 1(1): 30–37. PMID: 21318062
  3. Severi F. Growth hormone (GH) deficiency (GHD) of childhood onset: reassessment of GH status and evaluation of the predictive criteria for permanent GHD in young adults.. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Apr;84(4):1324-8. PMID: 10199773
  4. Hintz RL. Confirming the diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and transitioning the care of patients with childhood-onset GHD.. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2003 May;16 Suppl 3:631-5. PMID: 12795365
  5. National Institutes of Health; [Internet]. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Predictive Markers in Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) and Turner Syndrome (TS) Children Treated With SAIZEN

Doctors for Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD)

Dr. Narayanan N K Dr. Narayanan N K Endocrinology
16 Years of Experience
Dr. Tanmay Bharani Dr. Tanmay Bharani Endocrinology
15 Years of Experience
Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra Endocrinology
23 Years of Experience
Dr. Parjeet Kaur Dr. Parjeet Kaur Endocrinology
19 Years of Experience
Consult a Doctor

Medicines for Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD)

Medicines listed below are available for Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD). Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.