Behavioural Side Effects of Growth Hormones in Children

Human growth hormone (HGH) is secreted in the pituitary gland. Other than helping cells grow, it also encourages muscle, bone, organ and tissue growth. However, the amount of human growth hormone produced varies with age. Human growth hormone is highest in the blood during teenage years.

Production begins to decrease after the age of 30, which causes a reduction in energy and vitality. Thus, athletes use HGH to enhance their sporting performance, something that is illegal because the no sporting authorities won’t consent to use HGH to enhance performance. Doctors also recommend HGH to encourage growth in kids with stunted height to encourage, although there side effects. Here are some of the human side effects of growth hormones in children.

Psychosis

In high doses, particularly in non-deficient children, HGH is quite risky. Secreted by your pituitary gland, HGH is regulated by the hypothalamus, and it affects a child’s mental wellbeing. HGH imbalance, resulting from an oversupply in the body, can result in detrimental effects in your child’s body.

In excessive amounts, HGH can create a psychological experience including hallucinations, paranoia, and psychosis. Continued use HGH can result in irreversible damage. Usually, symptoms relating to psychosis include delusion, visual and auditory hallucination. In addition, psychosis can manifest as paranoia or fearfulness.

Physical effects

Human hormone side effects in children can result even if your child’s doctor prescribed HGH. Based on research by kidshealth.org, potential side effects in children are majorly physical. This may include nausea, stomach pain, and headache.

In adults, side effects manifest as changes in behavior, particularly in adults who take HGH without a doctor’s prescription. Like in kids, an adult may also experience side effects such as pain and swelling of joints.

Other effects

Acromegaly

Another common human hormones side effect in children is a condition known as acromegaly or gigantism. Sometimes the pituitary gland over secretes the growth hormone resulting in too much growth hormone in your child’s blood, which leads to extreme growth.

Under normal levels, HGH promotes optimal growth. However, in excessive amounts, which is quite rare, it leads to endocrinal disorders. The frequency of acromegaly in children is low, about 4 in a million.

HGH is quite important in your child’s development as it leads to the development of muscle, particularly during growth spurts. HGH is secreted even after your child has grown. Acromegaly leads to overgrowth, and typically, it results in large hands and feet.

Unfortunately, this condition affects much more than your child’s extremities. If the pituitary gland is secreting a lot of the growth hormone, your child’s internal organs and joints may be affected.

In children, this condition is known as gigantism, and it’s usually diagnosed during adulthood, particularly in middle age. This condition is caused by an adenoma, a non-cancerous mass on your child’s pituitary gland.

Behavioural Side Effects of Growth Hormones

Treatment

Treatment is dependent on symptoms. The goal of treating acromegaly is to reduce the production of excess growth hormones, relieve pressure caused by a tumour on the tissue around the pituitary gland, treat deficiencies and improve symptoms relating to excessive secretion of growth hormone.

In most cases, children with acromegaly have a growth on the pituitary gland that can be removed surgically. Radiotherapy and medication can also be used rather than surgery.

Surgery

A surgical procedure is quite effective in many cases, and there has been a lot of success because doctorsare able to get rid of acromegaly completely. However, in some instances, the mass can be quite large and removing it completely is may not be possible. Doctors often offer additional treatment, like an additional operation, radiotherapy or medication.

Removal of the mass may lower growth hormone yields relieving pressure on the tissue around the pituitary gland. Usually, you will notice a normalization of facial features and a reduction of swelling in a matter of days.

Medication

In cases with severe human growth hormone side effects in children, because hormonal levels are still too high post-surgery, your child’s doctor will prescribe appropriate medication. The medication will include monthly injection consisting of lanreotide, pasireotide, and octreotide. This medication is meant to slow release of HGH. The doctor will also prescribe pegvisomant to block effects and symptoms of growth hormones.

Radiotherapy

Where surgery isn’t possible, or your child’s the doctor wasn’t able to get rid of all the tumour, then radiotherapy may work. Eventually, secretion of growth hormones will normalize, although the effects will not be seen immediately and your child may have to take medication for a while. Treatment works really well, and most children live normal lives afterwards, but follow up is important to monitor progress.

Final Take

Excess growth hormones can affect the quality of life leading to human hormone side effects in children. Theseside effects, whether due to treatment or a compromised pituitary gland, often lead to behavioral side effects such as those we have listed. Fortunately, it is possible to mitigate these effects through another form of treatment, like surgery in order to give your child a normal life.

Author: Robin Gupta