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How do I recognize a thyroid disease in my child or adolescent?

Harvey K. Chiu, MD
Pediatrics
You may recognize a thyroid disease in your child or adolescent by the following symptoms:
  • temperature intolerance
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dry skin
  • brittle hair
  • tremor
  • racing heart
Thyroid disease can often be subtle and resemble other conditions. Fortunately the diagnosis of a disorder of thyroid hormone levels can easily be screened for by your child’s healthcare provider, and if a disorder is found a referral can be easily made to an endocrinology subspecialist for further evaluation and treatment.
James A. Amrhein, MD
Pediatric Endocrinology
Thyroid disease in a child generally presents with either a goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). The enlarged thyroid gland is noted as a lump in midline lower neck. Hypothyroidism symptoms are very vague and include sluggishness, dry skin, constipation, poor growth and rarely a small amount of weight gain.
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Aviva J. Romm, MD
Family Medicine
Thyroid disease doesn't only affect adults; it can impact children and teens, as well. In this video, I will discuss the various symptoms of hypo and hyperthyroidism to be aware of in your child or adolescent.
Symptoms of thyroid disease in a child or adolescent can vary.  A doctor should evaluate your child if you think he or she may have a thyroid disorder.

If the amount of thyroid hormone in your child's body is too low, he or she may experience:
  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • cold intolerance
  • swollen or puffy eyelids
  • hair loss
  • dry skin
  • constipation
  • lack of appropriate growth
If the amount of thyroid hormone is too high, your child may experience:
  • weight loss
  • tremor
  • dry or irritated eyes that may appear to bulge out
  • difficulty concentrating
  • an enlarged thyroid gland in the neck
  • sleep problems
  • loose stools

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.