Growth Hormone Therapy

Growth Hormone Therapy

A Growth Hormone Therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment for children and adults who face a deficiency in the growth hormone produced in the body. This is given via injections to the body.

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Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy

Growth hormone is also known as Somatotropin. It can be injected by the patient themselves or by a family member. Normally produced in the pituitary gland, sometimes this hormone is not sufficient for the body. When administered via injections, this hormone stimulates the cell reproduction and growth in the body.

Growth hormone or somatotropin secreted by the pituitary gland. Growth hormone-releasing hormone stimulates anterior pituitary gland to release GH. The target of Growth hormone: liver, bone and muscle

It has to be taken daily or sometimes more than once in a day. Your doctor will monitor your blood cholesterol levels, sugar levels and certain other levels in order to make sure that they are at a healthy level. He has to make sure before starting with growth hormone as these have an impact on how the patient’s body responds to insulin.

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Growth Hormone Therapy Risks

Although the injections of growth hormone are considered safe, some people do face some side effects. The risks or side effects of growth hormone are:

  1. Numbness
  2. Swelling
  3. Joint and muscle aches
  4. Fluid Retention
  5. Carpel tunnel syndrome
  6. Blood sugar regulations

Most of these symptoms are temporary and resolve on their own. Growth hormone should not be taken by those people who have cancer or tumor. Those who have multiple injuries from trauma should also refrain from using growth hormones. People suffering from severe breathing problems should also avoid using growth hormones.

But if left untreated, a deficiency of growth hormone could lead to increase in risk of heart disease, increase in diabetes, osteoporosis, strokes and high blood pressure.

HGH vial with syringe

These injections might lead to cancer and hence research is still on whether they are safe or not. Athletes use them a lot because it enhances their performance and cannot be detected in urine tests.

It causes serious side-effects in some people such as water retention, liver damage, painful joints, etc. another major problem of using this injection is that the body’s pituitary gland stops producing their own hormones and then one has to take these injections lifelong.



Growth Hormone Therapy Cost

Before a few years, the cost of growth hormone therapy was too much at about $1000 per month. This price has now come down to $500 per month and that too depending upon the dosage. This hormone is required in fewer doses in men than in women. Many insurance schemes cover the cost of growth hormone completely.

Growth Hormone Therapy Adults

Growth hormone is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pituitary gland in the body. This gland is located in the brain. Pituitary gland is the master gland in the body and it also manages the production of all the hormones in the body.

Pituitary gland, hypophysis, detailed anatomy of human brain

This hormone is called growth hormone because it is responsible for the overall growth of a person from a child to an adult. It is also approved by the FDA for use in adults and children.

Cause

Growth hormone continues to be produced in the body throughout one’s adult life. It is in abundant quantity and plays a vital role in optimizing the overall health and growth of an individual. Adults who face a growth hormone deficiency benefit a lot with growth hormone replacement.

Whenever, there is a permanent damage to the pituitary gland or a tumor in the gland, an external source of growth hormone is quite beneficial. Radiotherapy or surgery may also lead to permanent damage in the pituitary gland. Some people are born with their glands producing insufficient amounts of growth hormone and hence are always deficient of growth hormone.

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Diagnosis

A variety of tests are done to diagnose the deficiency of growth hormone in adults. One such test is the Insulin Tolerance Test. In this test, insulin is used to lower the blood sugar level which then stimulates the gland to release growth hormone. Blood samples are then taken to capture the response of the growth hormone. If the levels do not rise, it is diagnosed as deficiency.

Consequences

Such adults have altered body composition and lack in physical performance. They have increased abdominal fat levels, decrease in muscle mass and reduced exercise capacity. Their general wellbeing is often affected leading to less energy and vitality. They are also known to have depressed moods and increased levels of anxiety.

Treatment

A growth hormone replacement therapy reduced their body fat and increases muscle mass thereby increasing strength and tolerance. Their physical fitness increases and a profound improvement in their cardiac function is observed.

Growth Hormone Therapy for Short Stature

When a child is treated with growth hormone, a deficient child starts growing faster within a couple of months. One also gets to notice other benefits such as increased strength, reduction in body fat and progress in motor development.

Young boy measuring his growth in height

Hardly any side effects are seen in children with growth hormone therapy. But cost of life is hampered as the child is required to take injections daily and sometimes as long as he is growing. Some severely deficient kids may need to take the injections throughout their lives.

The treatments could be very costly for the family and the child will have to be closely monitored by the physician every month to see this improvement and rule out side effects of growth hormone therapy.

Growth Hormone Therapy for Boys

Parents sometimes worry about the height of their boys. If the doctor assures them that all is well, then such parents should leave it on time. The doctors will prescribe a growth hormone therapy only if there are potential medical causes such as growth hormone deficiency, underactive thyroid gland or genetic disorders. If the boy is short but healthy, then the doctor will not prescribe a growth hormone. In the US, it is approved to treat idiopathic short stature which has no medical cause.
Pituitary hormone functions. The two lobes, anterior and posterior, function as independent glands.
A growth hormone might be able to deliver an extra 1 to 3 inches of height but if both the parents are short, it cannot modify the genetic potential. Till now it has not been found out whether treating young boys with growth hormone therapy might have some serious risks later in life. It might increase their risks with diabetes or cancers later in life. Growth hormone is not the only therapy that can be given to kid boys for their idiopathic short stature. Lower doses of androgens might help at times.

Hormone Therapy for Penile Growth in adults

The size of the genitals often concerns men. A desire for a longer penis size is common amongst males. Penis size cannot grow after puberty. It starts to grow at the age of 9 and the growth completes till 22 years. Sometimes, it does not grow completely and some residual growth is left. Due to testosterone deficiency, sometimes there is a micropenis which is quite short.

Growth hormone is necessary for penis growth. The penis is constantly under stress and forced to regenerate new tissue and this process occurs smoothly when the body produces ample growth hormone. Taking supplements does lead to accelerated growth in the tissues helping the penile growth.

Growth Hormone Therapy anti-ageing

The body experiences a natural decline in the growth hormone as one ages and one may not need growth hormone at that time. Loss of muscle mass can be directly related to decreased physical activity and health in elder people. Growth hormone directly targets muscle mass and hence it is considered a boon for ageing. If older people are into routine and vigorous physical exercises, then they too can manage to slow down the process of ageing.

Brunette woman portrait with old skin

It has also become the latest fad for anti-ageing to enable one to look young. After taking growth hormone injections, skin feels tighter and sex drive increases. It is said to reverse the process of ageing or slow it down effectively. It increases the thickness of the skin. It is also said to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and reduces sagging of facial muscles. An external source of growth hormone make sure that all the endocrine hormones are in perfect balance in the body.

A person can become devoid of growth hormone at any age. Some are born with its deficiency. It is better to treat the deficiency else dire circumstances crop up.

Symptoms of deficiency of growth hormone

Any three of the below mentioned problems in the body are a reason for possible deficiency of growth hormone and one should get it checked by a good doctor:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Depression or Mood Swings
  3. Thinning of Skin and premature wrinkling
  4. Currently receiving one or more other hormone preparations
  5. Increased Fat around the Waistline
  6. Loss of muscle mass or decreased strength
  7. Insomnia
  8. Decreased mental concentration
  9. High blood pressure
  10. Heart disease
  11. History of stroke
  12. Poor Memory
  13. Decreased Sexual Function or Drive
  14. Head injury
  15. Complications of Pregnancy
  16. Diabetes

Growth Hormone Deficiency is a medical issue

One should be aware that the deficiency of growth hormone is a medical problem and not a cosmetic issue. Just for aesthetic beauty of your body, one cannot take growth hormone injections without properly consulting the doctor. It could be due to a tumor in the gland which needs to be treated.

Physiologic Effects of Growth Hormone. Direct and indirect effects

Benefits of Growth Hormone therapy for women

  1. It helps to restore their libido and increase their sex drive.
  2. It is responsible for longer life in both the genders till the age of 30 afterwhich it starts declining.
  3. It is said to reverse the signs of ageing and also helps in preventing hair loss.
  4. Growth Hormone improves the density of the bones and stops excess weight gain.
  5. Growth hormone is as important for a female body as other hormones like melatonin, estrogen, oxytocin, progesterone and prefnenolone.
  6. It is said to prevent cardio disorders.
  7. It increases the life expectancy.
  8. It is also believed to manage many symptoms of menopause
  9. Growth hormone injections help in reducing bad cholesterol and the total cholesterol in the body.
  10. It speeds up the process of healing of bones in case of fractures. It is also helpful in regeneration of bones.
  11. It reduces the overall fat content in the body and improves lean body mass. It stimulates the synthesis of collagen in the body.

Growth Hormone Therapy side effects in children

Since 1959, GH has been used to increase the growth in children who are naturally deficient or have some condition that impairs their growth. The availability of this hormone increased by manifolds by 1985 when it was created synthetically. It was marketed to be used for children with short stature or stunted growth. The FDA also approved the use of this hormone for children who have a shorter height. Children who had a height below 5.3 inches for boys were supposed to be given this injection.

Short-term risks

These children are given continuous injections everyday till their adult height is reached. It is a very costly therapy and a child is said to gain around 2 inches with this therapy. There are some side effects of this therapy like extra leanness, joint pains and increased blood sugar levels.

Long-Term Risks

This hormone increases the concentration of some insulin-like growth factor in the blood which encourages multiplication of cells in the body leading to cancer of prostate or breast in later stages.

It was proved in some studies that patients treated with growth hormones had greater risks of cancer. Individuals who have acromegaly have a higher risk of cancer than others. They have increased joint pains and carpel tunnel syndrome. These effects of acromegaly are enough to prove the dangerous side effects of growth hormone therapy.

But since the hormone is given in very low doses and frequent doses, it does not cause much harm. Those children who have less growth hormone have low risk of cancer. Short men have less risk of prostate cancer and longer longevity than men who are taller.

Men who are healthy but short are in actually no medical problem. This treatment may or may not help them grow their height.

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