Growth Hormone Deficiency Causes

In most cases of growth hormone deficiency, no single cause can be identified. However, growth hormone deficiency causes can be different in both children and adults.

Researchers think growth hormone deficiency is rarely caused by genetics: It's not typically passed from parents to their children. But experts think that children with certain types of physical problems, such as a cleft palate, are more likely to develop growth hormone deficiency.

To understand what may cause growth hormone deficiency, you need to understand the condition. Here's what happens when you have growth hormone deficiency: Your pituitary gland—located at the base of your brain—is supposed to produce growth hormone, which is called somatotropin. This hormone stimulates growth, which keep your muscles, tissues, and bones healthy.

But when your pituitary gland doesn't produce enough growth hormone, growth can slow.

A lack of growth hormone causes growth hormone deficiency. You can be born with this condition. If that happens, it's called congenital growth hormone deficiency. But growth hormone deficiency can also develop during childhood or when you're an adult, which is called acquired growth hormone deficiency.

This can cause a child to be very short or an adult to have very low bone density and muscle strength. To find out about other signs of growth hormone deficiency, read our article on growth hormone deficiency symptoms.

Here are some other causes of growth hormone deficiency:

  • A severe head injury
  • A tumor in your head or a history of pituitary tumors
  • An infection
  • Brain surgery
  • Hormonal problems related to the hypothalamus gland or pituitary gland
  • Poor blood supply to the pituitary gland
  • Radiation treatments to your brain

Although many people never find out what caused their growth hormone deficiency, there are some growth hormone deficiency treatments that can help.