Should Adults Receive Growth Hormone Treatment?


The controversy surrounding growth hormone use in adults deepens. Recent editorials in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine have taken a negative view of growth hormone supplementation for adults. Dr. Mary Lee Vance comments, “general use (sic- of growth hormone therapy in adults) now or in the immediate future is not justified.”

My medical practice has recently received a letter from a major health insurer, United Health Care, stating that growth hormone use in adults will no longer be a covered medical therapy. When asked for justification of this curtailment of financial support for growth hormone therapy health insurers are certain to point to comments from experts such as Dr. Vance.

One of the reasons for the backlash against growth hormone therapy is the explosive proliferation of individuals and companies promoting their own propriety brands of growth hormone substitutes and so-called growth hormone releasers. We receive 10 or more emails daily marketing growth hormone related products. Unfortunately, most of the claims for these products are simply false or at best, unsubstantiated. Only injected prescription growth hormone made by major pharmaceutical companies can be expected to fulfill the goal of growth hormone supplementation. Making matters worse for supporters of growth hormone therapy in adults is that legitimate growth hormone products themselves can be abused for perceived benefits to athletic ability and cosmetic appearance.

Why all the fuss about growth hormone? Is it truly capable of making us stronger, leaner, more energetic, and happier? Dr. Vance and her colleagues point out the lack of large studies which provide the answers to these questions. There are, on the other hand, smaller studies showing improvements in bone density, lean body mass and measures of well being associated with growth hormone therapy. Because of the limited amount of large studies evaluating growth hormone use in adults can we still justify our use of the hormone? As a practicing endocrinologist I have to answer these questions so I can provide my patients with the best existing therapies for their problems.

What exactly is growth hormone? It is a protein based hormone made by the pituitary gland which circulates in our blood in abundant amounts during the first twenty years of our lives but levels then slowly decline as we get older. Growth hormone controls the liver’s production of IGF (insulin like growth factor), formerly known as somatomedin, which stimulates the growth of cartilage which in turn results in increasing size of our bones. Growth hormone also appears to play a role in maintaining muscle mass and probably has multiple functions within the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).

If growth hormone is so important to general health why do levels drop off as we age? The decline in growth hormone levels with aging is mirrored by a decline in a host of other critical substances which maintain our health, such as DHEA (from the adrenal gland). One possible reason for the drop in these beneficial substances is for the plain and simple purpose of promoting our aging and eventual death. The survival of our species requires the removal of the old genetic material (use) so it can be replaced by the new (and possibly improved) genetic material (our offspring). Aging and death are required by the laws of evolution and therefore our bodies are programmed to self-destruct. The decline in growth hormone may be one way to serve this purpose.

Growth hormone is expensive. A year’s supply may cost up to 10 thousand dollars making economics another key element in the growth hormone controversy. How can we justify spending this amount of money on everyone who wants to prolong their strength and vitality? Forget about justify…our economy simply can’t afford this expenditure. Who will then decide who gets growth hormone and who won’t? I don’t have the answer either.

In the face of controversy what would be a reasonable approach for the practicing physician to follow? The first principal is to administer growth hormone only to those fail to make a minimum acceptable quantity of the hormone. If a patient is suspected of having growth hormone deficiency based on their history and physical exam a check will be made of the level of morning growth hormone and IGF. If the growth hormone is in the low normal range (below 2) the next step is a stimulation test to see whether the pituitary gland can be forced to release its store of the hormone. There are several tests which stimulate the pituitary release of growth hormone but the simplest is to administer L-Dopa (a prescription drug formerly used to treat Parkinson’s disease) by mouth and measure growth hormone levels in the blood over the next 2 hours. If the level remains below 5, growth hormone deficiency can be diagnosed.

Growth hormone deficient adults are given significantly smaller doses of growth hormone as compared to children being treated to achieve normal height. Even at these lower doses impressive improvements in mood and energy can be achieved. It is hard to measure these effects but statements such as, “Growth hormone changed the quality of my life. The strength and energy I used to have is back in full”, have been use by patients to describe their results.”

What about side-effects from growth hormone treatment in adults? Minor joint pains, carpal tunnel like symptoms, headache, and traces of swelling at the ankle have been described. Unfortunately, experts such as those quoted in the New England Journal use ominous tones when referring to growth hormone side-effects or to the possibility of its causing cancer or cardiovascular disease. These warnings remain largely unsubstantiated by even small studies.

In my practice I generally follow a year or two of treatment with growth hormone followed by 6 months off, simply to defer to the possibility of accumulating negative effects of prolonged GH therapy. The medical community is still waiting the ultimate word on growth hormone therapy in adults but based on reputable studies and my own observations I will continue to offer this treatment to my patients who exhibit the signs, symptoms and blood test evidence of growth hormone lack. As with any medical treatment it is important for each individual to consult with their own physician before embarking on any course of therapy.

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  • Ta Ga

    I have a silly question. I have been researching about growth hormone treatment in adults (I am 31 years old) but all I have found is that is good to give strength and such- mostly cosmetic issues. Is this treatment also effective for growth?
    I have Turner’s syndrome and I am only 4’3″. I am from Ecuador and was there when diagnosed. The doctors recommended this therapy but my mom decided against it. She was afraid of hormone treatments so she did not give me the chance. I know it may be too late- but was wondering if I should pursue any treatment now that I am an adult. Would you take the time and email me a quick answer? Thanks!

  • Dr. G. Pepper

    Ta Ga

    Once the bone has finished growing the use of growth hormone will no longer create increased height.

    At the end of all long bones like the ones in your legs, is a “growth plate” where all new growth occurs. During active growth this growth plate is “open”. Once we reach maturity, usually a few years after puberty starts, these growth plates fuse and are then “closed”.

    A radiologist can take an x-ray of the wrist and tell whether the growth plate is open or closed. Since all growth plates close more or less at the same time, if the wrist is closed so are the growth plates in the legs which are responsible for height. At the age of 31 unfortunately there is little hope that these growth areas would still respond to growth hormone.

    Gary Pepper, M.D.

    • Jessica

      My husband is 5’6 and 22 years old. We’ve been together for 8 yrs, since we were 14. He hasn’t grown or changed much since were about 16 except he lost his baby fat. He eats regularly but doesn’t gain weight and just doesn’t seem to age. He has a baby face..is it possible he has hormone defiencies? I read at my college about Emotional Dwarfism and I thought that might be something he could of been subjected to in his childhood since he was pretty emotionally deprived. But anyways..please let me know if this is something we should think about trying! It really bothers him and he has never been able to really grow facial hair too, but rather stub that takes awhile.

    • robert

      How much levodopa is given for HGH stimulation in the test? Is this ever used to stimulate hGH in patients of short stature pre-puberty?

  • Dabas

    I am 18 year old male, and i really want to grow taller though for cosmetic purpose only.
    i have alrady grown upto 5’9 but seriously want to achive a height of 6 feet . Sometimes i really fell short and that harms my self esteem also. Please tell can i grow with the help of growth harmone therapy ? And if i take the therapy what would b the side effects ?
    Please advise me all the pros and cons of the treatment.

    Thank You.

  • kev

    i am 19 yr old and i’m 5.3 can i grow taller my father is tall my mother is short… i allways do streching and take vitamins like cherifer….doc wat is your good advice.. tnx

  • Uri

    Is there a chemical difference between synthetically produce HGH and the growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland? If so, could this difference be behind the negative side effects of growth hormone treatment?

    Also, how prevalent is the occurance of acromegaly in people taking growth hormone injections?

  • Samirah

    hi i am 16 and i am 4ft 9″. I started my periods when i was 9 and a half years old and would like to grow taller. Is there any chance of me growing at all with the help of growth hormone?
    thanx

  • Brian RD

    Hi Samirah,

    I’d recommend posting your question in the forums so it can be seen by the experts here at Metabolism.com

    Thanks,
    Brian

  • Robert

    Hi, I’m 5’8 17 1/2 years old and was wondering is it possible for me to reach 6 foot with HGH injections? My mother is 5’1 and my father is 5’6.

  • Sachith

    Im 22 years old , just 152 cm tall…,I seriuosly am mentally affected that i do not posses at least miniimum average growth, I fail to socialise with people due to this fact and also my relationship in highly affect and my life in dissapointing and imbalance.

    I wish to achieve some hieght,,please reply
    I so waiting for it
    thank you.

  • Dee

    Hi I am 20 years old and barely 4ft 10in. I did not start my periods until age 18. I was wondering if there is hope for growth. I am really hoping i can still grow some how. Is it possible to grow any taller

    Thanks

  • kuzuryu

    hi im going to turn up 21 this year and im barely 5*7 and i cant just live with myself and im thinking of taking growth hormones for height purpuse, i know a few people at my age who have taken some and grew up max about 9, 10 CM should i take it to??

  • kelly

    I just found out I have aghd.I am 5’3 and aged 22,and a female will ght make me any taller?

  • anoinette ivery

    hi im 28 years old im very attractive but im only 5’1 and im still taller than my mom and aunt so im not sure if i can get taller jus by takeing growth hormones but i would like to be about 5’4 atleast what would be the best product for me as a black woman

  • arjhay

    Hi, I’m 5′6 18 1/2 years old and was wondering is it possible for me to reach 6 foot with HGH injections? My mother is 5′1 and my father is 5′7.

  • Lorraine

    I’m 21 years old and am only 4 “10. Is there any way that HGH injections could help me grow a couple of inches? Please respond back to my question because I need to know if its too late since I already hit puberty.

  • Dr. G. Pepper

    Lorraine

    From the time of birth we grow rapidly in good part due to the action of growth hormone which is released from the pituitary gland.

    At puberty the release of testosterone in boys and estrogen in girls begins the process of final bone maturation. Children often experience a period of rapid growth known as a growth spurt at this time. Girls usually complete their growth spurt within a year or two of their first menstrual period. Boys tend to finish their growth phase when they are older compared to girls.

    Growth ends because the areas of the bones known as the growth plates become sealed or fused. After that growth hormone has little effect to cause increased height. Bones in the face, feet and hands may still be susceptible to growth effects of growth hormone, with not particularly desirable results.

    An adult who has not grown in a few years cannot generally get taller in response to growth hormone due to the fusion of their long bones. Taking HGH at this time is unlikely to give the height you desire.

    Growth hormone later in life is likely to have other non-growth related benefits like preserving muscle and soft tissue and perhaps other general maintenance functions in the immune and central nervous systems.

    I hope that helps answer your questions.

    This information does not substitute for the advice of your own physician and is for general learning purposes only.

  • ahmet koca

    Dear Mr. Pepper, First of all thank you very much for this great journal which have already lightened me on the growth issue.

    I am 26 years old boy. I am now 173 cm ( 5′7 f). But in deed I was able to reach max up to 160 cm until age 18. But after 20 years old I have started to grow rapidly. In the same time I was using Pharmaton vitamin. And I have continued to grow until 23 years old and reach to 173. Is there any relations between growth and Pharmaton vitamin ?

    So I wonder that if the bones growth plates become sealed then, how was I able to grow until age of 23?? .

    And if so, I think I can still grow by using GH. Please let me know if it will work or not.

    And other question is:
    Does GH used for Anti-Aging by keeping the body’s metobolism active? I mean keeping the formation of new cells. Because As I read from a journal, the GH propogates the formation of the new cells, so that slows the aging.

    Thank you very much in advance for your kind help and answers.

  • Robert

    Dear Dr. Pepper, My daughter is 13 years old and started puberty at 11. But since then, she has not grown and stayed at 150cm. We saw an endocrinologist and was informed that the left wrist bones are 98% fused and has at the most 1cm to grow. MRI showed minor adenoma of 4mm. Father’s height is 177cm and mother is 158cm. So, she has the potential to reach 160cm. Will GH or Bromocriptine help her to grow to reach her potential? Also, the endocrinologist suggest that GH will not help and will only grow cartilages like nose at this point. All her blood tests are normal except for decreased FSH. What is your opinion please?

  • Dr. G. Pepper

    Bone growth during childhood is controlled by IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor-1) in the blood. Growth hormone from the pituitary gland is the hormone which causes the body to make IGF-1, so if growth hormone is lacking, normal bone growth cannot occur. Once puberty occurs the ability of the long bones (arms, legs, etc) to grow in response to these hormones begins to decline. Around one or two years after puberty in girls, due to maturing of the “growth plate” of the bones, growth hormone even in adequate amounts no longer can cause bones to lengthen.

    From what you describe your daughter is 2 years into puberty and past the age where growth hormone can increase height, as explained by your endocrinologist.

    What remains unanswered is whether your daughter is actually growth hormone deficient. I imagine she had growth hormone and IGF levels measured, correct? Also, what is the significance of the microadenoma. Many of these have no effect on the pituitary, hormones etc. but sometimes they can produce hormones which can disrupt normal body function. What were you told about your daughter’s case?

    As you know these comments are for general educational purposes and are not meant as medical advice.

    Gary Pepper, M.D., Editor-in-Chief, Metabolism.com

  • Robert

    Dear Dr. Pepper, Thank you so much for your comments. Yes, we did measure her IGF Levels – IGF -1 = 650, IFG-2=800 – which I presume is normal for a girl at 13 years old. But her FSH is below normal range at 0.37. A MRI was conducted to further aid the diagnostics and confirmed the 4mm adenoma. So, it is apparent that she is not growth hormone deficient but the endocrinologist suggest that she may be growth hormone resistant. This is the reason that she has not grown since the beginning of puberty? The questions asked by the endocrinologist include whether there are any nipple discharge or vision problems and all these are negative. Her LH and Cortisol are all normal. Her endocrinologist has ordered test on IGF-1, IGFBP-3, and Prolactin. As there are also ACTH type of adenoma, I am wondering whether it is wise to do that too. Out of curiosity, can stress cause the development of adenoma, especially kids are so stressed out these days? As you indicated, since she is 2 years into puberty, she will probably not respond well to IGFD but should we be hopeful for a limited dose to get the last opportunity for 1-2 inches of growth?

    Again, thank you very much for your kind comments, attention and this wonderful journal.

    • Anya

      Robert,

      I am a mother of an almost 12 year old. My daughter seems to have similar symptoms, no MRI done yet … but low growth hormone levels and 98% closed plates. She is 4′ 10.5″ and the doctor says we might only get an 1″ or so with growth hormone therapy (if at all) … with all the potential side effects I am naturally confused, concerned. We just had an appointment yesterday and have a big decision ahead of us. Would you be willing to share your experience/information thus far ?

      anya

      • Gary Pepper M.D.

        Anya

        Tough situation here. Generally a girl can continue growing for another year or two after her menstruation has started. If you have the money and your daughter is in this window of time, it might be worth a try using GH. I’d say an inch is not such a bad goal. I’d take it if I had the chance. Growth hormone has been used for a long time in children and I am not aware of any hidden malicious side effects. After all, your goal is to give them back the hormone their own bodies are not capable of making.

        By the way, my name is Gary not Robert ;=)

        Dr. P

  • Dr. G. Pepper

    ACTH secreting microadenomas create cortisol excess (Cushing’s disease). This will be relatively easy to detect by obtaining a 24 hour urinary cortisol level. Other ways are measuring salivary cortisol at midnight which should be close to zero normally. High midnight levels favor the diagnosis of Cushings. I favor the urine test myself. Clinical signs of Cushings are central obesity, purple stretch marks on the skin, easy bruising, excessive facial and body hair growth, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. These indications are hard to miss, so if none of these match your daughter’s condition chances are she doesn’t have Cushings.

    Whether it is worthwhile to try GH treatment for an inch or two is pretty much a personal decision between your family and your doctor.

    If your daughter is having a regular menstrual cycle the low FSH is probably of no clinical significance, in my opinion.

    Let us know how things turn out. Best of luck.

    Dr. P.

    • mareh

      im 17 will it work on me

  • Sunny

    Hi i am 19 years old and am bout 5 foot 9 if i were to under go treatment would i grow any taller?

  • drew

    hi im 19 yrs old i wanted to know if i can reach 5 7 by hgh .. im 5 5 ryt now
    thank you

  • Karthika

    I am Karthika, a P.G student. My mom is working as a teacher.Her colleague’s daughter is suffering from growth hormone deficiency.She is studying in second standard and needs growth hormone injections upto 10th standard.Daily injections are needed.The cost of the injection was told to be 500/- per day.They cannot afford such a large amount.Is there no other way? Should the child remain as dwarf?

  • Sally Anne

    What is the test for growth hormone? Is it only IGF? Is there a connection between Cushings and growth hormone deficiency? I know we make HGH during sleep. Has there been any data published about those with sleep apnea and low growth hormone? If growth hormone shots are not able to be given, are some of the precursors/secretagogues effective. Thanks.

    Sally Anne

  • Dr. G. Pepper

    Sally

    The best test for growth hormone in my opinion is the IGF-1 level. It is a standard, easy to obtain blood test. Patients with Cushing’s often have low growth hormone levels but treating the Cushing’s is the first priority as that might reverse any other metabolic problems that co-exist. Great question about sleep apnea. I will look into that. Unfortunately none of the oral drugs claiming to raise growth hormone really work. There is an investigational oral drug which raises growth hormone in a meaningful way (see my article on this topic on metabolism.com) which holds a lot of promise. I hope it becomes available before I get much older!

  • Hi there Sally Anne!
    Let me chime in with a little nutrition tidbit. There was a study done in 1995 that showed that ingestion of 2 grams of glutamine increased circulating growth hormone and alkalizing bicarbonate in healthy volunteers (2 grams which is equivalent to a little less than 1/2 teaspoon of glutamine powder). Body builders just ate this up and have been supplementing with glutamine ever since. Glutamine, my favorite amino acid, is essential to the health and function of GI cells, wound healing cells and immune cells. It is also very important in acid based balance and is produced in abundance in healthy individuals. It is considered conditionally essential in certain individuals and conditions. HOWEVER glutamine should not be taken by anyone with compromised liver or kidney function.

    Here is a link to the abstract
    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/61/5/1058

    In regards to this reply please read the our terms of service at:http://www.metabolism.com/legal_disclaimer/

  • Hina

    My daughter is 12 years old.she started puperty at 11years but her X-RAY for bone age is 13 years.she is just 4feet and 8inches. what you suggest for her

    • Dr. G. Pepper

      Hina

      Girls generally stop growing about a year or two after their first menstrual cycle. This is because the areas at the ends of the bones (growth plates) stop producing new bone. Doctors say at this point the growth plates have “fused”. Even if someone is growth hormone deficient at this time giving growth hormone is unlikely to result in increased height. From what you say your daughter may have reached this point. You may ask your doctor to run a test for growth hormone production (IGF-1 level) just to know if there is any element of this going on, but treatment with growth hormones is unlikely to get additional height.

  • Sushil

    Dear Dr.Pepper
    I found this article very useful and an informative. I am a 19 year old boy.I am just 5’2. I had already tried the HGH but my doctor on seeing the X-RAY of my wrists told that its not possible to grow more than 2-3 inches as my bones are almost fused. I am really desperate for some advice as it has affected me a lot mentally. Is there any way doctor for me to go beyond the present height or the expected height my doctor has set.
    My mom faced some problems during her pregnacny which the doctor said might also contribute for my lack of height also I suffer from hypothyroid(which is under control now). Please kindly help me out doctor. Looking forward to your expert opinion

  • helvi

    hai i am 21 and i am 5.5m tall n i want to grow an inch or 2 higher,can i take growth hormones?what are the side effects?

  • Gil

    DHEA is the most abundant testosterone in the body, but when you load it artificially your body can also convert it to ESTROGEN. Too much estrogen in anyone is a bad thing 🙁 I don’t recommend any person putting this in there body. doctors might like it because it’s cheap and it can offer positive results, because it is a mild mild pro-hormone. Please do research before taking any products with DHEA.

  • idunno

    I am 4’9 and have been diagnosed as GH defficient at the age of 26 years. If i start using HGH to stadardise the level of GH in my body, am I able to grow atleast 2-3inches? I have had an x-ray of my hand and it appears my bones have fused.

    • James

      Does it work ag age 30.,any hw i hv 2 grow tall pls help…

  • idunno

    I also note that the x-ray indicated that my bone age was only 16.5 years!

  • idunno

    Further to my earlier post, I am 4’9 and have been diagnosed with GH defficiency at the age of 26. I have done one of those x-ray’s that indicated that my bones have fused but the report indicated that my bone age is only 16.5 years (which seems reasonable because i am GH defficient).

    If I were to take HGH can i grow atleast 2-3 inches. I don’t care about massive growht I just want to grow like 6-7cm. If HGH doesn’t work are there any other alternatives?

  • steven

    i’m 25 years old..can i still grow taller if i take gh injection?then..should i consult the GP for adjusting the dose..or can i take it by my self…i mean if there are instructions in GH products?thank you very much…

  • abdal

    iam 170 cm i want to grow 10cm please help me thanks.

  • Joy

    Dr. Pepper-

    I am so glad I found your article. I am a 31-year-old female who has been treated for pituitary Cushing’s Disease twice. In the second surgery, 2005, 3/4 of my pituitary gland was removed. The last few years I have been very fatigued, not sleeping well, anxious, diagnosed with fibromyalgia, put on cholesterol and triglyceride lowering meds, etc., etc. After looking over my blood work results I found that in March 2010 my IGF-1 level was 78 and in February 2011 my IGF-1 level was 83. I was curious as to why my endocrinologist did not find this odd, but since he works in the same office as Dr. Vance, I now have my answer. I am going to see my primary doctor next week. I believe that I need HGH treatment. How likely is it that the insurance company will be willing to cover it considering my history?

  • Dr. G. Pepper

    Hi Joy

    Glad I could be of help. I agree with you that growth hormone therapy needs to be seriously considered in your case. I am aware of others treated for pituitary diseases resulting in growth hormone deficiency, like you have been, who have benefited from growth hormone replacement. There is an undercurrent in the endocrine literature about growth hormone causing cancer but there is no substantiation for those fears that I consider valid. If growth hormone caused cancer why doesn’t every child (all of whom have high growth hormone levels) have cancer? A young person without growth hormone is likely, in my opinion, to have a substandard existence.

    It is a great idea for you to get a second opinion but I don’t think a primary care doc will be much help. You can always try and go from there. Insurance companies are very likely to cover growth hormone treatment if the growth hormone deficiency is due to pituitary disease or treatment such as you have had.

    Keep us posted and good luck.

    This information does not constitute medical advise or treatment. Only your own physician can provide treatment within the context of a comprehensive health care environment.

  • J David

    I know this may sound like a joke of a question, but I am asking in a genuine matter and in all seriousness. I have heard that HGH usage can help increase the size of a man’s penis (adult, past his 30s). This was mentioned in Jose Caseco’s book by his wife, or ex-wife. I am guessing this is not true, but I have always been curious to see if this had some validity.

    Thank you,

    John

    • Dr. G. Pepper

      Hi John

      I haven’t heard about increasing penis size with growth hormone. It’s possible it just wasn’t an issue that was looked into. There are people with pituitary tumors which produce large amounts of growth hormone and they develop a disease called acromegaly. Acromegaly is associated with very tall stature, thickening of the facial features, large feet and hands and something called organomegaly or enlargement of organs such as the spleen , kidney, heart and liver. Could the penis be enlarged? I would say unlikely because growth hormone works more on bone and cartilage which isn’t found in the penis. On the other hand the heart and other organs that enlarge in acromegaly don’t have cartilage, so the case is still open.

  • mylyn

    Dear Dr. Pepper, my brother is now 22 years old and 5’2” in height he really wants to grow taller for at least 2 inches. He’s been taking Cherifer for 3 months now but there are no change or height growth taking place. Is it still possible for him to grow taller now that he is 22? Can you recommend a growth enhancer supplement he might take?
    Thank you so much in advance.

  • Vel

    Dear Dr. Pepper,
    I am a 61 year old female with Hypopituitaryism with growth hormone deficiency. My skull and jaw have had growth changes, as well as an increased ring size. I am experiencing hip pain and am wondering if it is due to age or bone growth from the growth hormone replacement therapy that I have been on for five years. If slow bone growth in my hip is a result of treatment and is disrupting my daily life, do you recommend ceasing my extremely low dose injections prescribed by my endocrine doctor? If I continue treatment how can I treat my hip?

  • Beth

    Dear Dr. Pepper,

    My son, aged 15.6, was recently diagnosed as growth hormone deficient and has begun GH treatment (1mg/daily). Unfortunately, he is late to treatment, as I couldn’t get the paediatrician to take my concerns seriously and this delayed referral to the adolescent endocrinologist. My son’s current bone age is 13.9 and his pubertal development is as follows: genitalia stage 4, pubic hair stage 4, axilary hair stage 1, and testicular volumes of 15 ml bilaterally. His initial blood work showed IGF-! output at 147 ng/ml and subsequent insulin stress test showed his max output of growth hormone at 30 min of 3.8 ug/L. He is currently 152 cm in height, although at age 3 he was on the 75% of height and expected to reach about 5′ 11″ in adulthood. My question is this: Do you feel that we should explore the use of Letrozole to increase the window of opportunity for growth? I do not know whether the injections of GH are likely to speed up his pubertal development and cause his bone plates to fuse more quickly. Given his current bone age of 13.9, is it reasonable to expect that he will have at least 2 years worth of treatment time? What, in your experience will be his likely response to the GH therapy in terms of additional height? Do you feel that using an aromatase inhibitor will be beneficial in his case? What are the potential side of Letrozole, or similar drug? Many thanks for your comments!

    • Dr. G. Pepper

      Hi Beth

      I’m sure there are lots of others who share your questions about how to promote growth in preteen and early teen boys. Your son has a young bone age and can be expected to continue growing. The info you supply suggests he has growth hormone deficiency. I am not a pediatrician so I am not necessarily your best source here but I can give you some general thoughts. Growth hormone itself should not hasten the process of growth plate closure. Giving growth hormone to enhance adult height seems like a good idea for someone with the details you describe for your son since his own growth hormone appears lacking. The idea of using an aromatase inhibitor like Letrozole is more controversial. I used to think that it was testosterone that caused bone to mature along with closure of the growth plates. What bothered me was why were girls generally shorter than boys (at adulthood) and why did girls stop growing at all? Then I read research that showed it is estrogen, not testosterone, which caused bone maturation and growth plate closure. Testosterone is converted to estrogen by enzymes called aromatases so in boys the conversion of testosterone to estrogen is what causes the bone to stop growing. Using a drug like Letrozole to block the conversion of testosterone to Letrozole has been shown in animals to increase bone growth. Giving such a drug to a young boy to promote growth strikes me as pretty radical but scientifically correct. If you have a knowledgeable pediatric endocrinologist you could ask, I would be very interested to hear if such treatment is being recommended. My comments are for educational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

  • Todd

    Hello Dr. Pepper, thank you for providing this info and avenue for communicating. I am investigating whether HGH therapy may be right for me. I’m a 50 year old male, 5’6″‘ 206 lbs and over the past year have worked very hard on diet and exercise with good results, but still having apparent difficulty building muscle mass and burning off fat at my waist, chest (breasts), hips. I have made progress in terms of losing inches but my fitness & nutrition pro is suggesting I look into this therapy. Recent bloodwork puts my estrogen levels as elevated and testosterone levels on the lower end of the scale (I can provide numbers if that will help). I would appreciate your thoughts and whether I should raise this with my internal medicine/primary physician. Thank you sincerely!

    • Dr. G. Pepper

      Hi Todd

      Human growth hormone has many functions beyond causing bone growth in children. It appears to be important for the maintenance of muscle and possibly other tissues in adults. Adults given growth hormone often show improvement in muscle function and achieve lower body fat. There isn’t very much information on how individuals who develop growth hormone deficiency after childhood respond to growth hormone treatment but my guess is they should do even better than normal adults given this hormone.

      There are several problems here. Since growth hormone can be “abused” by athletes it is a banned substance in professional sports. Some doctors consider growth hormone treatment to be harmful in normal adults. Insurance companies don’t want to pay for growth hormone treatment in adults and will fight tooth and nail to deny these prescriptions. (I have a stack of papers on my desk right now generated in a battle with an insurance company to continue growth hormone treatment for one of my patients who has been on it and done very well with it for the past 10 years). Finally, the tests for growth hormone deficiency are very difficult to conduct and unless you do them, don’t even bother approaching the insurance company for coverage. If you want to pay out of pocket for growth hormone be prepared to spend 15 thousand dollars per year on it.

      I see you may have low normal testosterone and high estrogen. I don’t see how growth hormone will help with these problems.

      Sorry I don’t have better news for you.

      These comments are for educational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or treatment.

      Gary Pepper, M.D.
      Editor in Chief, Metabolism.com

  • Craig

    Hello Dr. Pepper. I am 24, 5’7″ and 150 lbs. I have a body structure of average size, but my hands and wrists are extremely small. They look as if they belong to a child. Also, I over-sweat. I’ve heard that it may be caused by HGH deficiency. Is there any chance that HGH treatment can help me? Thank you so much in advance.

  • Bhushan

    Dear Dr. Pepper,

    I am an adult of 31 years age. My height is 163 cm & my weight is 45 Kgs.
    My body structure is very thin & I look unhealthy / weak.
    My appetite is also very low.

    Will HGH treattment will help me to gain weight , muscle & matured shape.

    Can You give the outline of treatment that I should take ?

    Who ( doctor, specialist) can treat me ?

    Can You refer any specialist in Mumbai,India ?

    Would you take the time and email me a quick answer?

    Thanks & Regards
    Bhushan

  • Will

    Hi Dr. Pepper I am a 23 year old male who has always had very short stature and I stopped growing completely at 5’2 at about age 12. I would like to make an appointment with an endocrinologist to get a growth hormone test to tell if I am deficiant or if I have a type of hormone disease. If so, what are some possible routes I can take that would benefit me at this time? Is it possible that my bone growth is still open even if I haven’t grown in years and am passed puberty? If not, would added growth hormone or any other treatment help with my small stature and tiny bones?

  • Kit

    Hi Dr. Pepper,
    Will premature born children have their growth affected? If yes, will HGH therapy be of help to assist their growth like any other 9-month born children?

    • Dr. G. Pepper

      Hi Kit

      I’m not a pediatric endocrinologist but I believe a premature infant can generally expect to develop normally unless there is also heart, lung, kidney or neurological damage. If so, much will depend on how well these other injuries resolve themselves. After the age of two years an otherwise healthy premature baby should be just about caught up to the other children. In general Growth Hormone treatment is not used unless the pituitary itself has been damaged, which would be very rare.

      Hope that helps.

      Gary Pepper, M.D

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  • Dr. Pepper I’m not trying to get taller or nothing like that. My body has always been very toned. I’m 53 aproximently two years ago I noticed my body not toned. I’am on armour thyroid, cytomel and hrt per my request. The testostrone has helped about 20% with my muscle. I work very hard I do cardio and push a fair amount of weights. I can actually feel my body firmer on somedays other days my legs and triceps are giggly. Somedays my pant legs are filled out other days my pants have more room thats when mys legs are less firm. I dont sit around and use age as an excuse. Thats a cop out. I’ve always taken care of my body that God gave me, this is how I know there is something not right with my bodies system. Would hgh spray be benificial for me with the situation presented to you? Also would hgh interupt a person taking armour thyroid, cytomel and hrt. Please I need help. Could I get your professional advice. Thank you for your taking time out to read about my situation. Diana

  • Daniel

    Hi Dr. Pepper,

    it’s a naive question but straightforward. I’m 24 years old but I look like, my face and my body, 15 years old. When I talk about HGH nobody takes me seriously. I’m very concerned because this is affecting so much my self-esteem that I think of quitting my job. Could HGH treatment help me out look older ?

    Thanks,
    Daniel

  • maryam

    Dear Dr.pepper, thank you for providing this info. My older son has reciving GH and had a good response to hormon thrapy(10cm increase in recent 8 months).My little son aged 8 years and is diagnosed as GH deficient recently too, but he has scholiosis (less than 15 degree) and is monitored by specialist. His doctor only advised periodic radiography untill now without any type of medication(if he could see more than 15 degree deviation,he would advice sometype of madication).My question are”wether GH thrapy could have bad side effects on scholiosis? and could GH thrapy help my son or is contraindicated? Many thanks for your comments.

  • Jamie

    Hi,
    I am a 22 year-old female at a height of 5 ft 5 inches. I recently grew a quarter of an inch. Does this mean that I may grow even more if I take growth hormone? The reason I am asking is because, though I am taller than average, my bones are very slim and tiny like that of a child. I have a small head and was wondering if growth hormone could increase the size of it. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to fix this.

    Thanks!

  • Jamie

    Hi,
    This is Jamie again. I would also like to add that I just recently found out that I had a digestive problem. There was a huge overgrowth of bad bacteria and a depletion of good bacteria. I was experiencing hypo and hyper thyroidism and chronic fatigue. I had milder symptoms in the past which is why I suspect that I always had a digestive problem and it just got severe recently. I probably did not have good bone density due to lack of proper absorption of vitamins and minerals. I hope this new information helps in answering my previous post located above.

    Thanks

  • Bhushan

    Dear Dr. Pepper,
    I am an adult of 31 years age. My height is 163 cm & my weight is 45 Kgs.
    My body structure is very thin & I look unhealthy / weak.
    My appetite is also very low.
    Will HGH treattment will help me to gain weight , muscle & matured shape.
    Can You give the outline of treatment that I should take ?
    Who ( doctor, specialist) can treat me ?
    Can You refer any specialist in Mumbai,India ?
    Would you take the time and email me a quick answer?
    Thanks & Regards
    Bhushan

  • Jeanne

    Dear Dr. Pepper
    My daughter is 12 1/2 and she just gor her period today. She has been on Genetropin
    ( growth hormone ) for 2 years now. Can she still taking it after her first period? Will that still help?
    Thank you so much!

  • Beth

    Dear Dr. Pepper,

    Thank you very much for your response to my post of May 17th. Apologies for my late reply, but I didn’t realise that you responded. (Perhaps there should be some mechanism on this blog to notify the sender when you reply?!).

    I thought I would let you know what I learned regarding the use of aromatase inhibitors, specifically Letrozole. I found a study completed a few years back by Dr. Leo Dunkel, who is currently at St. George’s hospital in London. (The study was conducted by one of his graduate students while Dunkel was teaching in Finland.) Although the study group was small and included only pre-pubescent boys from Iran, it showed that additional growth – perhaps as much as 2-3 inches of adult height – could be achieved using letrozole; however, the study concluded that the use of Letrozole must still be considered experimental, and more research was needed, particularly into how Letrozole could affect lipids in the body and cortical bone growth. In the U.S.A, I am aware that some endocrinologists have used letrozole concurrent with growth hormone therapy, but in England (where I currently live) my son’s endocrinologist does not recommend using the drug. I also consulted an endocrinologist in France at the Necker Institute and another endo in Canada to ask about protocol in these countries. The doctors in Canada and France recommended against using the drug stating that the treatment was too experimental. I have therefore opted not to use the drug in my son’s case.

    To give you an update on my son’s progress, his endo has now increased his growth hormone dosage to 1.2mg/daily after measuring his IGF-1 levels once he began his treatment. He grew about 5cm in the initial 4 months of GH treatment and is now growing at a rate of ±14 cm/year. His doctor cautioned us at our last visit that, given my son’s advanced puberty, this rate of growth may not continue. Presently the doctor estimates his final adult height between 5’5″ and 5’7″. We expect our son to continue on growth hormone for at least another 18-24 months and will hope for a continued response. It is a shame that his deficiency was discovered so late, as he will (likely) not reach his original expected height of 5’11”. Nevertheless, I must be pleased that the treatment he is now receiving will put his final height into the ‘normal’ range. This is significant as, without treatment he would have (likely) ended up about 5’2″.

    I hope others will find this discussion of interest. If anyone reading this note has experience using Letrozole or has a son/daughter who began treatment late, I hope you will respond and let us know the outcome of their case.

    Lastly, what do you recommend for children, like my son, who are diagnosed as growth hormone deficient as they transition into adulthood? I have not been able to find much information on how important growth hormone is for adults and what minimum levels should be maintained in adulthood. What is the current protocol for continued GH therapy after vertical height is no longer possible? Should my son continue with some level of injection?

    Kind regards, Beth

  • Dr. G. Pepper

    Hi Beth

    Glad to hear your son is getting the treatment he needs. Your question about what to do after his growth plates fuse is a very good one. I have read a number of different opinions on this subject. Although I am not your son’s doctor or a pediatrician my opinion is that growth hormone plays other important roles in the body aside from achieving bone growth. Research is showing that growth hormone has important beneficial effects on protein and fat metabolism and immune effects are also likely. Skeptics point out to a possible increase in cancer growth due to growth hormone but why then doesn’t everyone with natural growth hormone production get cancer?
    i can’t supply a definitive answer but if this were my patient I might consider providing low dose growth hormone supplementation after the bone stops growing. We all need to keep our eyes on the on going research in this field and hope for further insights into how to proceed.
    Good luck.
    Dr. Gary Pepper

  • Jeanne

    Hi again doctor Pepper…Did u get a chance to read my question above? thank you so much!!!

  • Dr. G. Pepper

    Jeanne

    sorry I missed your question. Within about a year of the first menstrual cycle the growth plates of a girls long bones close (fuse). After that, the effects of growth hormone to cause increase in height dwindles rapidly. From what you say it sounds like your daughter can keep benefiting from growth hormone for some more time. A simple way to know when the growth plates fuse is to do a plain x- ray of the wrist. From that a radiologist can tell if the bone is fully matured meaning no further growth is possible.

    Hope this information is helpful

    G.Pepper , metabolism.com
    My comments are for educational purposes only and consult your doctor for specific instructions

  • Crystal

    Dear Dr. Pepper,

    I am 28 years old lady with height of 5 feet 5 inches. I have no issues about my height. But, am naturally underdeveloped skeletal structure, my wrists are painfully thin and i weigh only 40 kilos with very little muscle mass. I look smaller and thinner than others of my age. Can High Growth Hormone therapy help me?

  • Justin

    Dr. Pepper, I’m a 22 year old guy who stopped growing at 15. I did not see a doctor until I was 18, who said something stunned my growth, but didn’t seem to care really. My height is 5’7, while my brother and dad are about 5’10 to 6 feet. I look like I’m 15. People think I’m 15 when they meet me and treat me like it. I get turned down for jobs because interviewers think I’m way too young. My face, hands, and feet are not physically matured structurally like they should be. I started gaining fat very easily when my growth was stunned at 15, and I also feel that my joints, especially my knees, were weakened from not growing properly.

    I’m perfectly fine with my height, but my lack of bone structure in my face making me appear like I’m 15 when I’m a 22 year old man is seriously degrading my quality of life. Will growth hormone help me? Particularly my hands, feet, and face? Those would still grow even if my plates are closed, correct?

    • Dr. G. Pepper

      Hi Justin

      Sorry it took some time to get to your question. It sounds like your problem may be low male hormone (testosterone) rather than growth hormone. It is unusual at your age not to have “matured” so this really should be evaluated by a doctor if possible. If you don’t have enough testosterone you will not have the rapid growth generally seen at the time of maturation typically occurring between ages 12 and 18. If you are 22 you are delayed in this regard, as you already understand. There are many reasons testosterone can be low including injury to the testicles or pituitary gland. There are also some disorders which people can be born with which don’t make themselves obvious until something like you have, has occurred. Medically the term for what has happened is probably “delayed onset of puberty”.
      Some clues to understanding this type of problem can be obtained by having an x-ray of the wrist to determine bone age. An exam by a doctor to check for hair under the arms, face and pubic area as well as exam of the testicles should be done.
      I hope these suggestions are helpful. Let us know what happens!

      My ebook, “Metabolism.com” discusses treatment with growth hormone and testosterone. Check this website in a few weeks for this

      Dr. G. Pepper
      These comments are for educational purposes only, not medical advice or treatment

  • Hindurao

    Hi, I am 36 years of age.My erect peis size is 4.5 inches and girth is 3.75 inches. I want to know that can growth hormone increase my penis size to 7 inches

  • Tim

    Dr. Pepper……..I’m a 55 year old male and my testosterone level is 216. If I pursue testosterone treatment with my doctor…….what would the amount be (more or less) of testosterone given to me for a month? What type of testosterone typically is given for a situation like mine. Thanks for any help,,,,,Tim

  • Bhushan

    I am an adult of 31 years age. My height is 163 cm & my weight is 45 Kgs.
    My body structure is very thin & I look unhealthy / weak.
    My body seems to be underdeveloped compared to normal teenagers.
    No enough growth of facial & chest hairs.

    Will HGH treattment will help me to gain weight , muscle & matured shape.
    Can You give the outline of treatment that I should take ?
    Who ( doctor, specialist) can treat me ?
    Can You refer any specialist in Mumbai,India ?
    Would you take the time and email me a quick answer?

  • sir, im 22 yrs old gal n ma height is 4 feet 9 inches.. i hav growth hormone deficiency, but ma bones have fused..is ther any chance tat i can add few more inches after tis thru injections or exercises..i reached ma puberty at the age of 14..pls reply

  • Samaara

    Hi! My daughter is 14 n a half years old. She got her periods 2 hrs back. Her knee joint and wrist joint growth plates are not closed while as her elbow joint growth plates are closed. Her weight is 57kilograms n her height is 5 feet. My doctor has recommended Humatrope injection daily for 6 days a week, dosage 3mg. Per day. My question is should I give her the growth hormone injection. Please tell me. Thank you.

    • Dr. G. Pepper

      Dear Samaara

      You know I can’t give medical advice over the internet but I can give you some thoughts. It sounds like there is still some time for your daughter to continue growing. Giving growth hormone to children before growth plate closure even if there is not clear cut growth hormone deficiency is still possible but it is not as likely.
      Only you, your family and your doctor can make the final decision regarding whether it is worth trying.

      Good luck.

      Dr. Pepper

  • Dear Dr Pepper,
    I am so glad I found your website! My Grandaughter is 12 years and 11 months old and she is only 4 ft 71/2. Her hand was X-ray last week and the results came back with a bone age of 17 years! (based on the Gruelich and Pyle standard). My daughter is taking her to a pediatric Endocrinologist tomorrow …but my question is this? Can growth hormone still make her grow at this point? And what could some of the possible causes of this be?
    By the way. She just started her period in Oct 11′ and her current blood work reports like Thyroid, and TSH are all within normal ranges.

    Thank you!

    • Dr. G. Pepper

      Hi Betty

      The results you mention are puzzling. The advanced bone age of your granddaughter doesn’t go along with her just having her menses. Usually these go together so that if the bone is advanced the menstrual cycle has also usually occurred at an early age. If the growth plates are fused giving growth hormone is not very likely to be of much help but of course, your endocrinologist will advise you about that. What could this be? My first thought is something called congenital adrenal hyperplasia which is an enzyme defect which causes the male hormone levels to be elevated (including in girls) and the bone to mature at an early age. However there are other physical features which you didn’t mention that should be prominent, so it may be a disorder of the bone itself.

      Please let me know how this works out and what the Peds endocrinologist has to say.

      Good luck.

      Dr. G. Pepper

  • Bob

    Hello Dr. Pepper
    I’m a 19 yr old male about 178 cm and wonder if taking hgh could help me increase my height a few inches?

  • krishna

    Dear Dr. Pepper,
    I am 21yr old guy. Currently i am of 5.7 height. I would like to increase my height to 6. For that I’ve refered a lot of websites marketing HGH products. Will HGH help in increasing my height at this age?? what is the maximum age limit for seeing gud results using HGH?? I am really confused in buying any of those products. Kindly help me to get my dream done, suggest me the correct treatment or product ..

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      Hi Krishna

      Growth hormone can only increase your height if your bones are still in the growth stage. For just about all men, by the age of 21 yrs the bone is matured (the growth plates have closed) and growth hormone will not cause additional height. Some bone may still be able to grow such is in your feet, hands and face but I don’t think that is what you are looking to achieve.

      I would suggest you save your money for something more likely to help your self image.

      Wish I had better news.

      Dr. P.

  • Em

    Hi there doc!
    I’m a 20 year old female curious as to whether I have a chance at growing a few more inches or not. I understand that it all depends on if my growth plates have sealed or not, so to know for sure I would need to get them checked. But what is your opinion?
    I’m currently at height 5 foot 5. My mother is about 5 foot 5 as well and my father is about 6 foot 1. Apparently, when I was first born, my doc estimated that I would grow to be 5 foot 9. Oh how I would love to have those 4 inches…
    Anyways, I had my first menses around 11 years but they weren’t regular until a year later. Since I was about 14 I haven’t grown much. However, I did sprain my ankle around age 14 and after the X-rays were done the doc said I still had room in my growth plates.
    Any chance that, since I haven’t grown much since then, I STILL have a gap, and that I could possibly have one more growth spurt? I’d love to get to my projected 5 foot 9 height.

    Thanks ahead of time!

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      Hi Em

      In a recent reply to a similar question I mentioned that for most girls, growth plates will fuse one to two years after menstruation starts. After that using growth hormone to achieve greater height is not feasible. It’s interesting that 3 years after your first menses your plates were still open but maybe it was because you were having infrequent and irregular menstrual cycles for a few years. At age 20 yrs it would be almost unheard of to have open growth plates. If you have any doubts maybe your doctor will order a wrist x-ray to assess the growth plates and can tell you what your growth potential is. It is always nice to think of ourselves as a bit taller than we are, but I’m thinking your present height seems very adequate unless you are a model, basketball or volleyball player.

      Best regards,

      Dr. P.

  • Mohsin

    Hi Doc,

    I have a different question. My mother is 66 and she has an excess of growth harmones in her body. 5 years ago she had a surgery of pituatiry gland to reduce the production of the harmone. It did reduce but her fingers (hand and toes) and lips have swollen gradually after the surgery. The doctors shay that her body organs are increasing in size including heart.
    What kind of diasease is this and is there any cure?

    Regards, Mohsin

  • max

    hello doc. Im 24 years old. 174cms height. N my weight is jus 50kg. Dats not it, wenever i meet new ppl they think im 15 or less as i hav not yet gained muscle mass esp my chest. I get lil beard also. Can u plz comment

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      HI Max

      It is possible your body is not making enough testosterone. Without testosterone you will not develop muscle mass, height or typical male hair growth. There are many reasons for the lack of testosterone but the first step is to have your doctor check your blood for testosterone level. If it is low then we can discuss what needs to be done next. Keep us posted and thanks for posting to metabolism.com

      • max

        thank u doctor for a quick reply.. Ill get my hormonal levels checked

      • max

        hello doctor, i did my testosterone test. It is 761.34ng/dl normal given on d resort is between 241 – 827. Guess its normal. Now wat 2 be done doctor?

        • Gary Pepper M.D.

          Hey Max

          There is something funny about the number you wrote for your testosterone level. Your result has an extra number in it. Which number is the extra one?

          gp

          • max

            round up figure is 761 ng/dl.

            • max

              i don understand doc wat funny u found in d number. Its accordin 2 d resort. Normal levels r between 241 to 827 ng/dl. My level is 761 ng/dl

  • sofia

    i d like to ask a few things…my daughter(3 year old) has been tested for growth ormone deficiency through a stimulation test with clonidine and the test showed partial deficinecy of gh.(max value of the ormone was 20miu/ml when normal values are>30miu/ml in chilren) our doctor told us we should absolutely do a second test and if it tha outcome is again positive for deficiency we should give the child growht ormone…i really want to know what are the side effects of long term use(at least 8-10 years) of growth ormone in chilren with partial defeciency.tha igf-1 was found to be 58ng/ml(normal values are 40-179ng/ml for children until 3 years old) i d also like to know does the defeciency of growth ormone affect any organs of the human body and in what way?thank you in advance for your answer.

  • orly

    Hello Dr. Pepper
    my son is 15 and 2 months old.
    Between birth and age 7 he left the 90 percentile growth curve and at age 10 he was at the 50 percentile growth curve.

    I am following his height since then. At no point did the dr. send us to check growth hormone levels or any thing else. within the last 0.5 year he moved from wrist bone plate evaluation of 14 years to 16 years old bones. I went upon my own wish to an endocrinologist who said that at this point and not even before had she anything to do about this. His height is not an illness..
    I am 159cm tall and my husband is 188cm.
    his current height is 175cms , his BMI is 23.5 he is extremely athletic.
    though he is asthmatic , and has also a relatively high blood sugar level of 99 and light signs of an autoimmune disease.
    he has pubic, body and slight facial hair but not yet shaving. [fully grown?]
    What do you think can be done with his growth at this stage.
    thank you for your reply.
    Orly

  • Jugdev

    Hello Dr Pepper.
    I am 26 and 165 cm tall. I have a baby face. When I meet people they think that I am 14 year school boy. I have little hair on my face and almost no hair on my body. I want to be little taller and look like a mature guy. Should I go for growth hormone treatment? Please help

  • Robert

    I was wondering of there was any correlation between the use of GH and neoplasia…

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      Hi Robert

      Sorry it took so long to respond to your question. The relationship between growth hormone and cancer (neoplasia) remains controversial. My thought is that if growth hormone was toxic that all children and teenagers (who have high growth hormone levels) would be at risk for neoplasia. When we get old and more susceptible to cancer perhaps there is a small and undetermined increased risk. Colonic polyps in the elderly may be increased in those with growth hormone producing pituitary tumors but these are people who already were growing tumors (of the pituitary, in this case) in the first place. Otherwise, I believe that most of the talk about cancer being caused by growth hormone is unfounded.

      Dr. P.

  • george

    hi doctor , PLS respond me 🙁
    i have a question which is so important to me and i hope u could answer me,
    im 26 years old male with 5.4″ height and its been 7 years i stop growing .
    i want to know if i can still grow ONLY 1″ by doing any kind of exercise or any medicine ?
    some people say that i can become taller through spinal column and i my body posture is perfect and my back is normal not too carve,..
    plssss doctor help me,im soooo frustrated :((((
    i also use to masturbate 3 times a week wen was 15 yrs old and some ppl say that couse it,im shortest in my family !

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      Hi George

      I am sorry it took so long to respond to you. About your height, I don’t think there is anything you could do to grow even another inch. Once the bones have matured (usually by the age of 18 yrs in men) no hormone or medical treatment will make you taller.

      Don’t worry about the masturbation. There is no medical reason this could have hurt you in any way. Your height is the result of the genes you inherited from your mother and father, unless you had a serious illness as a child.

      Hope this information is reassuring that it wasn’t anything you did that resulted in being short. Many fine people are short. Don’t let that stop you!

      Dr. P.

  • Lisa

    Hi, I am 55 years old 5’2, and was diagnosed as growth hormone deficient in 2002. My doctor retired and I am find it impossible to find a physician who wants to deal with my condition. I have been out of my injections for several months now and the symptoms are beginning to return. I also have other medical issues. I live in Texas and need to find someone soon . Any suggestions for doctors? I will have a hard time replacing my old doctor, he was so good.

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      Hi Lisa

      Sorry to hear about your problem. Endocrinologists are afraid to treat adults with growth hormone since this hormone has been used illegally by athletes to enhance performance. My thought is to contact the nearest university affiliated hospital and ask if there are any board certified endocrinologists on staff. Call the offices of these doctors and explain your issue and see if any of them can help you.

      Best of luck.

      Dr. P

  • srara

    My question on Growth Hormone is different then the rest on this board. I was involved in a car accident almost 2 years ago. I received a MTBI (mild tramatic brain injury), I have had horrible problems with memory, focus, fatigue, depression ect. I have had tons of tests, received lots of cognitive therapy and still see doctors on a regular basis. I was referred to a endochronologist and he did testing and found my growth hormone deficient. I have been told it is due to the head injury. He is now wanting me to go on GH injections. What are your thoughts on it for head injury. I also understand I will need to be on it for life. Are there long term side effects.

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      Hi Srara

      Sorry to hear about your injury. I can give you some general comments but can’t provide any specific medical advice here.
      It is unusual for an adult to suffer loss of pituitary function from this type of head injury. It is much more common in children. It is possible you have adult growth hormone deficiency on the same basis as many other adults which is thought to be just the outcome of the aging process. Growth hormone has many beneficial effects in the body even for adults. Losing GH can create some of the types of problems you describe. Although there are theoretical risks of long term growth hormone treatment in adults, it has never been scientifically shown that adults taking supervised GH treatment suffer from the proposed side effects such as heart disease or colon cancer. The major hurdle for most people who need GH as an adult is the high cost of treatment and the unwillingness of insurance companies to pay for it. Why not find out if you can even get GH treatment before you worry about possible side effects? It may just be a nice dream you might not be able to make reality.
      Hope this info helps.

      Dr. P.

  • arian

    hello sir.

    Im 17 years old, and im 1.64 cm tall.
    my mother is 1.61, and my father is 1.70
    how ever all of my uncles are taller than my dad !

    I am the shortest guy in all my friends.
    football means a lot to me, and i had played for big teams when i was younger such as Swansea and Bristol. how ever,in past 2 years i have not grown as much, and my weakness (my height) has been the major problem, so therefore they turned me down due to my bad strength compared to others

    I am also one of the most talented in school in every way, but my height is really taking my confidence away from me.

    My G.P, doesn’t help me, and he in fact did not take my problem seriously !
    I will do what ever it takes, to get at least to 1.72-3.

    what can i do ?
    do any of the pills help ? or any sort of injection ?

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      Dear Arian

      I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you are experiencing due to your height. Children who are very short who receive growth hormone treatment frequently show a good deal of benefit in terms of growth and achieve increased adult height. About a year or two after the onset of puberty the growth plates on the leg and arm bones “fuse” meaning there is not much chance of further growth. If has been several years since you entered puberty (growth of hair on face, under the arms, around the penis) growth hormone treatment is unlikely to help. Many of the supplements found in health food and nutrition stores claiming they stimulate growth hormone are worthless. Only injected growth hormone has been shown to work. Unfortunately even if you would benefit from growth hormone these injections are very expensive. In the US a year treatment with growth hormone could cost $12,000 to $15,000.

      Hope this information helps.

      Dr. P.

  • arian

    Thank you very much sir.

    I cant go a day without thinking about it. Will you please be able to find a safe company here in England (Bristol/London) please ?

    and would this include any side effects ?

  • Nicholas

    I am enquiring on behalf of a friend who is deficient in growth hormone. He has just turned 24 and although was on growth hormone therapy as a child he rarely the injection nightly.

    As you can understand, as an adult he can now understand the implications of not getting the correct dosage as a child and although it cannot increase his height or weight as an adult, would growth hormone therapy help his mood? He struggles to control his anger, and his mood constantly varies from happy and content to depressed and unmotivated.

    From the limited research I can find I cannot find evidence to support the idea that growth hormone regulates your emotions or mood.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Gary Pepper M.D.

      Hi Nicholas

      There is very good scientific evidence that growth hormone deficiency in adults can result in a lack of energy and apathetic mood. Adequate replacement with growth hormone has been shown to improve motivation and energy in these cases. In the situation you describe there is good reason to think growth hormone replacement could help. Getting someone to take their medicine is an age old problem however. Perhaps a discussion with the pediatrician that originally treated your friend could provide some guidance.

      Good luck.

      Dr. P.