9 answers

My 17 Month Old Boy Is Only 28 Inches Tall: NEED HELP with GROWTH ISSUE

My 17 month old boy has always been small is is way below percentile on weight, height and head size. He was diagnosed with a kidney issue where he is now on medication 3 times a day. The kidney issue was not allowing his body to absorb vitamin d and so calcium could not be absorbed either, but now he is on medication and they said he would start growing but it's been 7 months and really there is no big change. Being I have been told my son is beyond outstanding in athletic ability he can do what most 3 years old can do with a ball and bat, I would hate for him to get to school age and will not be able to join sport teams because of his size and I see that happening if he does not start growing and gaining weight. I was told that their growth plates only grow to a certain age and after that there is nothing that can be done. So I do not want to just wait and see what happens. Would love advice from anyone who has doctor recommendation to help with growth issues. Or anyone with any advice on this issue at all be it doctor or diet, etc.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

thanks everyone for your advice...I feel I need to add to my request as I did not want to come off as I was worried I would not have the next Tiger Woods....I was told that if you do not figure out a child's growth issue before age two that the plates are done growing by age 3 and there is nothing that can be done after that...so that was my reason for being so worried now...my brothers kid was also small, he is now so depressed as he is in 5th grade and is not making any teams because of his size although if he were a bit taller he would as he is very coordinated. Sports is such a good outlet for boys and I feel keeps them out of trouble later and gives them purpose and keeps the brain working and so many good things are attached to it. I see my nephew sulking and feeling so left out and sad and I do not want that for my kid, so that is why I mentioned it. I have talked to many pediatricians about it actually and they all say he is just going to be a small kid. I've taken him to kidney specialist and they did find an issue with his kidney and have given him medication. However bonus to living in california is there are many alternative doctors out there that might have something that might help him, and if they cant then fine I am ok with a short child but as any mother I feel I need to see what is out there in case there is something I can do and not regret putting it off and it being too late.
thank you for taking the time to send me your ideas and thoughts.

More Answers

Hi D.,
My daughter had medical problems at a young age and was on a lot of steroids. She is an adult now and only 5'2", hardly model material. It is okay. She is healthy and beautiful. She works for two major productions in Vegas and is doing just fine. Sports will not be the end of your son. Just make sure he is as healthy as possible.

Hello D.. I just wanted to add a note letting you know that my cousin dealt with this issue with her first born. Around the time the second one was beating him in height and weight, she took him to the doctor to see about it. Long story short, the doctor recommended growth hormones, given as a shot. I believe he has them daily. I know my cousin said they are very expensive (and that's saying a lot coming from her! lol) but worth it. I believe he started them around 4 or 5 years of age, and is now 7. Good luck to you guys :)

Funny my son is now 19 and still growing, he is 17 months old and your worrying about him playing sports, that would be last worry... research this, find more info.

do classical homeopathy. don't know about IL but there are pleny Classcal homeopaths in CA, just research well and don't use homeopath who is also the MD or TCM or chiropractor.
Good Luck

Other than growth hormones, there isn't a growth diet. 17 mos is super young to start worring about growth issues. My sons are 8 and 5. and the same size. One of them is huge for his age, the other is not. I really dont want to do growth hormone, and I have years to decide. Boys grow well into their teens, even into college. Girls stop much earlier. I woyldn't worry now about what the future may hold. Ask the ped if you are concerned.

Honestly, you are worrying about this way too soon I think. My twins were 15% kids in height and weight for almost 3 years. As long as they are proportional on the growth chart and grow (even a little bit) than that is considered normal.

At age 4 they were about 25% percentile, and up to 50% by age 6. They just turned 7 and are some of the taller kids in first grade. Kids do grow at their won pace.

That said, you can take him to an endocrinologist if you are really concerned. That will give you peace of mind and will indicate whether or not anything is medically wrong.

I think you should see a growth specialist because there are two things that occurred to me right now. One is pituitary insufficiency, which leads to a type of proportional dwarfism that used to defined as "midgets" (Think Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz). This type of dwarfism is almost not seem today in modern countries because of the administration of growth hormones. The other possible cause would be a genetic type of dwarfism, but usually this type is pretty obvious at birth by an enlarged head and stunted arm and leg length relative to the torso. There are other reasons for lack of growth caused by deficits in certain hormones from various organs such as thyroid, etc. Your son probably needs a complete work up to rule out any other endocrine problems. Please let us know what happens.

Hi D.,

Kids with kidney disease frequently have growth issues and are often well below the norm for growth. These issues need to be addressed at an early age and actively monitored by a pediatric endocrinologist who will work closely with your son's nephrologist. I'm surprised the nephrologist hasn't addressed this with you, in fact.

One person mentioned that her children were in the 15th percentile and that you shouldn't worry about your child's growth. You should know though that 15th percentile is still well within the bounds of normal growth. Abnormal growth is considered to occur in any child who is below the 2nd percentile for height and/or weight, or a child who is growing at a rate that is 3 standard deviations below the norm (that is, about less than 1/2" per year -- normal can span from 2" - 4"/year, depending on age and genetic predisposition).

I highly recommend you speak to your son's nephrologist about your concern. Many kids with kidney disease are good candidates for treatment with human growth hormone replacement, although some are not, especially if their eGFR is low or they are hypertensive. In the meantime, you should also checkout the Magic Foundation for Children's Growth website: http://www.magicfoundation.org

Growth hormone replacement therapy is otherwise pretty safe. The hormone is now created through recombinant technology so the risks associated with its use in the 1960's - 90's have been eliminated (it used to be harvested from the pituitary of cadavars and there was a risk of contracting certain neurological diseases that you probably really don't want to know about!) It is important to begin treatment as early as possible so that your child will grow at a normal rate and keep up with other kids his age. You do have some time to make this decision, though, unless your son also has an abnormality that would cause the epiphyses (growth plates) to close early. Normally, this doesn't occur until late puberty, around age 14 - 17.

My son's pituitary gland (the gland responsible for growth hormone production) shut down around his 9th birthday. By the time I got my husband to agree that there was a problem and take him for testing our son was 10.5 and was the size of a 3rd grader (in fifth grade. He was also obese, although he didn't eat much, had very little energy, and had grown less than 1" in 1.5 years. He spent the next six years on replacement therapy, which required him taking a shot every night (he chose to give himself the shots under my supervision). At 19, he is now a strapping 5'10". In the last year of treatment, he started becoming resistant to taking the shots because he was tired of the nightly needle stick. I then found that there is one company, Merck Serono, who makes a needle-free delivery system (check out http://www.justgrowth.com/me/en/sitemap/sections/devices/.... Using this system, my son was willing to take the hormone for an additional year, by which time his pituitary had resumed functioning at the lower level expected of a normal adult.

BTW, growth hormone is essential for a lot of necessary physiological functions, such as fat metabolism and carbohydrate usage. Kids who are deficient or whose bodies can't use it properly are at a much higher risk for diseases such as diabetes and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) leading to early atherosclerosis (narrowing of the veins and arteries because of fat deposits) and early heart disease. Making the decision to give it to your son can therefore be a very important one. Also, the stuff isn't cheap. By the end of therapy, the drug cost came close to $3,000/month. Fortunately, our insurance paid for it at 100%. All of the manufacturers offer financial assistance for patients with documented need but without insurance support, however.

I'm happy to discuss this with you more, if you like. You can reply to me through Mamasource and I'll send you my email address and phone number.

Best of luck!


Hi D.,

My family sees a holistic doctor in West Los Angeles. He is an MD who practices a variety of holistic modalities in addition to traditional medicine.

For example, I was recently diagnosed with a sinus infection. I took an antibiotic for the infection and he recommended a holistic treatment for chronic allergies instead of daily doses of Claritin.

He does not specifically deal with growth issues; he addresses any and all imbalances in the body. I would recommend him to anyone.

His name is Michael Galitzer, MD.

His phone number is (310) ###-###-####

Good luck and best wishes.


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