Understanding the reasons for short stature can help you know if your child needs medical attention if he suffers from the same. Not all kids have a health issue if they have a short stature, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Short stature of preschoolers is an issue that may trouble you as well as your child. However, advancement in medical science has made it possible for parents to tackle problem early on. A trusted paediatrician and an experienced endocrinologist (if needed) will guide you through the process of establishing the fact first and then taking appropriate steps to handle the situation. What you’ll then need to do is counsel and align your child towards all that’s required to be done regarding diet and medication.
What is Short Stature and is it a Cause for Worry?
1. Establish the Facts First
If your child is below the third percentile for his height as compared to the recommended height for his age and gender on the WHO-recommended chart, he could have a small stature. Apart from height, weight and head circumference are also measured on the recommended parameters. One reason for short stature could be genetics, where either you or your partner are short. Another could be because your child is a fussy eater and doesn’t get the nutrients he needs to grow taller. As a parent, you have to monitor your child’s growth over a period of several months and keep a documented record to find patterns. Encourage your child to eat better, whether it’s by finding substitutes in food or by preparing dishes in different ways.
2. Consult a Doctor
Your child’s doctor can investigate to determine the cause of short height. The most usual causes of short stature in children are celiac disease, thyroid problem, any growth hormone deficiency and sickle cell anaemia. Some of the rarer ones are Turner’s syndrome or Cushing’s disease. Apart from these, the doctor may look at family history to see if there has been bone age short stature. He’ll monitor diet and get routine blood and urine examinations done to zero down on a cause and provide treatment. In the case of hormonal imbalance, he’ll ask you to consult an endocrinologist.
3. Stay Positive
Once you’re aware of all the facts on short stature, the best way to keep yourself from worrying needlessly is to stay positive and have faith. You must trust your doctor and believe in his line of treatment. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from getting a second or third opinion especially when he prescribes treatment like growth hormone injections or surgery. In fact, you should get another opinion just to make sure. In the meantime, continue feeding your child nutritious food and give him plenty of love and affection.
A paediatrician will be able to tell you the extent of short stature in your preschooler and present you with options on how to treat it. Weigh them with your partner and look at the pros and cons of each. Short stature by itself isn’t dangerous as long as there aren’t underlying problems. Keep in mind too that the condition has a good chance of being cured by providing correct and timely treatment.