​Idiopathic Short Stature

Idiopathic short stature is a disorder affecting a child's height. It is equally common in girls and boys, and does not have any definite cause. Children suffering from idiopathic short stature (ISS) are short in height with no known cause.

Children who are generally shorter than the normal population are considered to be suffering from this disorder. Because there is no known cause for this disorder, it is considered a clinical description rather than a disease. The growth rate of a child with ISS may be normal, with no deficiency of growth hormone. However, they have shorter statures than their peers of comparable age and height – shorter than 1.2% of the population.​​

The most obvious symptom in a child suffering from idiopathic short stature is short height. The child’s height will grow at a normal rate, but they will be in the shortest 1.2% of the population of children of their age and gender. Your child’s paediatrician will be able to check this on a growth chart. ​​​

If you feel that your child is shorter than his/ her peers, you must get your child assessed by a qualified medical professional. The earlier you take your child for an evaluation, the better the chances of helping your child’s height grow. 

Consult with one of the internationally qualified paediatric endocrinologists  working with the Children’s Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital to have your child assessed for idiopathic short stature. You can safely and privately discuss your symptoms with our staff, gain advice and receive personalized treatment and care.​​

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​​

Because short stature can be a symptom of other disorders, such as a deficiency of growth hormone or any bone disorder, your child’s doctor will first assess whether there could be any underlying cause of your child’s short height. A detailed medical history and physical examination to check your child’s height will be conducted. The doctor will ask questions to identify whether short height is a feature that runs in your family.

You may be asked to bring your child for follow-up visits to monitor his/ her height growth over a few months to see how it’s progressing. Additional tests may also be conducted to check the level of growth hormones, calcium and other minerals responsible for bone development or tests for bone strength.

You must come for follow-up appointments and conduct the tests recommended by your child’s paediatrician for idiopathic short stature to be properly monitored. This will help your paediatrician devise a specialized treatment plan to help your child’s height grow to a normal level.​​​

Treatment typically involves administering the growth hormone over a prolonged time period to help your child’s height grow. This is also known as growth therapy, and it should ideally be started a few years before puberty. 

The highly qualified staff at the Children’s Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital  will answer all your queries and concerns and work with you towards the treatment of your child’s idiopathic short stature. Talk with your doctor at The Aga Khan University Hospital about any treatment before you try it to find out how useful it might be.​​​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​​​

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.