Search

close   X

1/23/23 blog post

could it be their thyroid? thyroid problems in kids

Thyroid issues are very common in kids, but you may not know a lot about them! We’re breaking down what a thyroid does, some symptoms that something could be wrong, and common thyroid conditions.

where is your thyroid?

The thyroid sits in the middle of your neck.

what does your thyroid do?

The thyroid is an endocrine gland that is controlled by an area of the brain called the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland releases hormones, which tell the thyroid to produce hormones. Thyroid hormones have many jobs. They:

  • Influence metabolism and growth
  • Help regulate heart rate, blood pressure, energy level, how efficiently we use calories
  • Determine how warm or cold we feel
  • Are critical for brain development in young children

what are some signs of a thyroid issue?

There are two major categories of thyroid issues, depending on if your body produces too much or too little thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism is when you produce too little thyroid hormone, which makes the body use energy more slowly. Hyperthyroidism is when you produce too much thyroid hormone, which makes the body use energy more quickly. We’ll break down the symptoms below:

Hypothyroidism:

  • Poor growth
  • Weight gain
  • Low energy levels
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Constipation
  • Cold intolerance
  • Fatigue
  • Goiter (thyroid enlargement)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Delayed puberty
  • Heavy menstrual cycles

Hyperthyroidism:

  • Weight loss
  • High energy levels
  • Tremor
  • Decreased focus
  • Anxiety
  • Fast heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Heat intolerance
  • Prominence of eyes
  • Lighter periods

what do I do if I think my child is showing symptoms?

Start with your pediatrician. They can help identify if there's a problem, and would then refer to a specialist called an endocrinologist.

how are thyroid issues treated?

  • Hypothyroidism: In most cases, hypothyroidism can be treated with thyroid hormone replacement pills. The pills can be given to patients of all ages, from newborn to adult.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Most children and adolescents with hyperthyroidism will be started on anti-thyroid medication when they’re diagnosed. For patients with severe symptoms, a medicine called a beta-blocker will be added to help decrease symptoms while the anti-thyroid medications take effect.

 

star star star star star

Krishnamallika Mutyala, MD

endocrinology / diabetes
view full bio