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Located in the neck, the thyroid gland is responsible for producing a range of hormones that regulate the body's metabolism (chemical reactions in the body that help it function and grow). Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of these hormones, specifically triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
There are two types of hypothyroidism that affect children:
If left untreated, congenital hypothyroidism can cause an intellectual disability or delayed growth. Because the condition often shows no symptoms during the first week of life, all U.S. hospitals screen newborns for the condition before they go home.
Symptoms of congenital hypothyroidism may include:
Symptoms of both congenital and acquired hypothyroidism may include:
Your child's doctor at Riley at IU Health can use the following exams or tests to diagnose hypothyroidism:
If your child is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, his or her treatment plan will include:
With proper treatment, children with hypothyroidism can live a normal, healthy life.
Visit the links below to learn more about hypothyroidism and discover support groups and resources.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
The Pediatric Endocrine Society provides printable fact sheets that explain the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of acquired hypothyroidism and congenital hypothyroidism.
Learn more about hypothyroidism on this website by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.