Children with hormonal imbalances have become a concern in recent years. In order to understand what a hormonal imbalance is, first understand what a hormone is, then consider how an imbalance occurs.
Definition of a Hormone
A hormone is a chemical produced in one place within the body but works in another. Hormones enable cells within the body to communicate in order to maintain and regulate various functions in the body, including growth and development, metabolism and tissue function.
Hormones are part of a complex network within the endocrine system. The endocrine system consists of glands that produce hormones--like the pituitary and thyroid--and vital organs including the pancreas, kidneys and liver.
Effects of Hormone Imbalance
A hormonal imbalance is simply the "manifestation of something wrong with a gland," as described by Robert Lustig, MD, an endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco. A hormone imbalance (either too much or too little) can have serious effects on bodily function. Unfortunately, children can be susceptible to hormonal imbalance due to a number of factors, including heredity, and in some cases, environmental substances.
Common Symptoms In Children
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in children includes anxiety, excessive weight gain, inability to concentrate and focus, fatigue, mood swings, poor social habits and hyperactivity. This condition may also be the cause of an actual disorder called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Children with a hormone imbalance may grow at a slower pace than other children their age. According to ChildrensHospital.org, "both boys and girls can have too much or too little thyroid hormone, cortisol, insulin and other hormones." Growth hormone therapy can be used as a treatment to bring balance back to the hormones. This is usually administered as an injection, and children should be evaluated every three to six months to monitor their progress as well as any potential side effects.