For Pediatric Endocrine Disorders
Every child should grow and change in the healthiest ways possible. Many changes in a child's body are determined by hormones that are produced by the endocrine glands. If these hormones aren’t in balance, a child's health can be greatly affected. At AdventHealth for Children, formerly Florida Hospital for Children, our endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism program includes some of the leading pediatric endocrinology experts in the country. They can skillfully diagnose the problem and formulate an effective treatment plan that will address endocrine system conditions like hypothyroidism, pituitary disorders and growth issues head on.
The pediatric endocrinologists at AdventHealth for Children, formerly Florida Hospital for Children, understand that a child’s physiology is very different from that of an adult. As such, their endocrine system problems can be fundamentally different as well.
- Adrenal Disorders
Our pediatric endocrinologists can diagnose and treat children with a wide variety of adrenal disorders, including but not limited to adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease), congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Cushing’s syndrome, pituitary adenoma and adrenal cancers. Located above each of the kidneys, the adrenal glands are walnut-sized organs that play an important role in regulating a person’s blood sugar and blood pressure, responses to stress, and ability to burn fat and protein.
When a benign or malignant growth on an adrenal gland results in the overproduction of certain hormones, surgical removal of the gland and tumor is the normal course of treatment.
- Growth Disorders
From all levels of practice, our team is committed to family-oriented care and patient-focused comfort for addressing growth issues and disorders.
- Growth Hormone Deficiency: Growth hormone deficiency is typically characterized by a child that is shorter in height than other children of the same age. This condition may be present at birth or develop as a result of a medical condition. Children with a growth hormone deficiency may exhibit a slow or flat growth rate, usually less than 2 inches per year. Symptoms of slow growth may not show up until a child is 2 or 3 years old.
- Growth Hormone Excess (Acromegaly): Growth hormone excess (Acromegaly) is a hormone disorder that develops when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone. Symptoms of this excess growth hormone include an increase in bone size (including those of the hands, feet, and face). In small children who are still growing, excess growth hormone can cause gigantism. Children with this condition may also have an increase in height.
- Pituitary Disorders
Our specialists have advanced training and extensive experience diagnosing and treating patients with disorders of the pituitary gland. From all levels of practice, the team is committed to family-oriented care and patient-focused comfort for addressing pituitary disorders, including:
- Diabetes insipidus: Diabetes insipidus in children is a fairly uncommon condition. It is characterized by intense thirst and the excretion of large amounts of urine. Although they share common signs, diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus are not related. Signs and symptoms of diabetes insipidus typically include extreme thirst and the excretion of excessive amounts of diluted urine.
- Hypopituitarism: Hypopituitarism in children is a rare disorder that occurs when the pituitary gland either doesn’t produce one or more of its hormones or doesn’t produce enough of them. If these essential hormones aren’t being produced, the deficiency can have a significant impact on a child’s routine functions, such as growth, blood pressure and reproduction later on. Symptoms include fatigue, short stature and facial puffiness.
- Pituitary tumors/adenomas: Pituitary tumors in children develop in the pituitary glands, resulting in abnormal growths and an excessive production of hormones that regulate essential body functions. Other pituitary tumors can restrict function, resulting in lower production of hormones. In most cases, pituitary tumors are treated with surgery, radiation therapy and medication.
- Septo-optic dysplasia: Septo-optic dysplasia in children is a rare condition characterized by abnormal development of the optic disk in the eye, pituitary deficiencies, and often an absence of the septum pellucidum. Cases of septo-optic dysplasia result from congenital malformations inside the brain.
- Puberty Disorders
From all levels of practice, our team is committed to family-oriented care and patient-focused comfort for addressing puberty disorders.
- Amenorrhea: Amenorrhea in children, otherwise known as lack of menstruation, is a common condition in which there is an absence of normal menstrual periods. Young women who have missed at least three menstrual periods in a row and girls who haven’t started menstruation by age 16 most likely have amenorrhea.
- Delayed puberty: Delayed puberty is a common childhood condition in which a boy or girl does not show signs of normal puberty by a certain age (age 13 for girls and age 14 for boys). Delayed puberty can be related to heredity, chromosomal abnormalities, chronic illnesses, genetic disorders, or pituitary tumors that affect malnutrition.
- Early puberty: Early puberty, or "precocious puberty" is a fairly common childhood condition that occurs when a child’s body begins developing much sooner than normal. Treatment for early puberty typically is addressed with medication to counteract the effects of growth hormones. Pediatric endocrinologists will also screen for other causes, such as a rare genetic disorders, pituitary tumors or ovarian cysts.
- Menstrual disorders: Menstrual disorders in children are a group of conditions that typically occur in adolescent girls. These disorders range from very common to more complex genetic dysfunctions.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that can affect teenage girls. In girls with PCOS, the ovaries produce higher than normal amounts of androgens, interfering with egg development and release. Small fluid-filled cysts develop and build up in the ovaries. Girls with PCOS are more likely to later develop infertility, excessive hair growth, acne, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal bleeding from the uterus, and cancer.
- Disorders of Sexual Development
When a child is born with physical differences, it can be very stressful. Disorders of sexual development can be overwhelming due to the rareness of these conditions and the possible initial uncertainty about gender.
Our team of pediatric endocrinology experts specializes in diagnosing and managing disorders of sexual development conditions in infants, children, and adolescents, providing seamless transition of care into adulthood.
We focus on the care of children with the following diagnoses:
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Androgen insensitivity syndrome and partial androgen insensitivity syndrome
- Disorders of androgen synthesis – 5-alpha-reductase deficiency and 17-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency
- Disorders of anti-Müllerian hormone or receptor: presence of internal female reproductive tissues such as uterus and fallopian tubes in males
- Disorders of abnormal gonadal development.
- XY Mixed gonadal dysgenesis
- Severe hypospadias
- Cloacal exstrophy and bladder exstrophy
- Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome/Vaginal agenesis
- Thyroid Disorders
From all levels of practice, the team is committed to family-oriented care and patient-focused comfort for addressing thyroid disorders.
- Enlarged thyroid gland (Goiter): A goiter in children, also known as an enlarged thyroid, is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland grows larger than normal. Goiters are usually painless but can cause a cough and make swallowing and breathing difficult. Goiters are found in around 3% of children.
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland): A person with hyperthyroidism has a thyroid gland that is producing too much of the thyroxine hormone. Given the importance of the thyroid gland – it impacts all of the body’s cells in one way or another – it’s easy to understand why a dysfunctional thyroid can cause a variety of significant symptoms ranging from unexpected, sudden weight loss to a racing or irregular heartbeat, sweating, fatigue, sleeping difficulties, hair and skin changes, trembling, menstrual changes, and increased sensitivity to heat.
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland): Hypothyroidism in children, also called low thyroid or underactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland does produce enough hormones essential for normal body function. Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder. In some cases, a mother’s thyroid disorder treatment may affect her unborn child’s thyroid function. Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism in children are very different that when the condition occurs in adults. It’s important for all infants to be screened for low thyroid.
- Thyroid cancer: The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It produces hormones that control growth and metabolism and is essential for a child’s development. Thyroid cancer occurs when the cells in the gland become abnormal and start multiplying very quickly. Thyroid cancer is a rare condition in children, but when it does occur, it should be treated as soon as possible to halt the spread to other parts of the body.
- Thyroid nodules: Thyroid nodules in children are a condition which occurs when solid or fluid-filled lumps form inside the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. In most cases, thyroid nodules are not serious and don’t have any noticeable symptoms. Often, a routine physical exam will be the first alert to your physician that your child may have thyroid nodules.
Treating the Body, Mind and Spirit
Because some of these conditions affect sexuality and growth, we also understand the psychological issues that can accompany endocrine disorders. Our care team not only treats the physical problems, but the emotional and spiritual ones as well. As such, your child’s care team may include psychologists, pediatric educators and nutritionists who are specially trained in treating the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of children and young adults.
To learn more about AdventHealth for Children's nationally recognized program treating these and other diabetes, endocrine and metabolism disorders, call Call407-896-2901 or request an appointment.