About Gigantism Treatment
This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
What Is Gigantism?
This is a rare condition which causes abnormal growth in children. It occurs when your child’s pituitary gland produces too much of a growth hormone is also known as somatotropin. Early diagnosis is crucial. Prompt treatment can prevent or slow the changes that may cause your child to grow larger than normal. However, the condition can be hard for parents to detect. The signs of gigantism might seem like normal childhood growth spurts at first. This change is notable in terms of height, but girth is affected as well.Causes of Gigantism
Signs and symptoms of Gigantism
- Pituitary gland tumor: This is almost always the cause of gigantism. The pituitary gland is the size of a pea and is located at the base of your brain. Some tasks managed by the gland include temperature control, sexual development, growth, metabolism and urine production.
- McCune-Albright syndrome: This causes abnormal growth in bone tissue, patches of light-brown skin, and gland abnormalities.
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1): This is an inherited disorder that causes tumors in the pancreas, pituitary gland or parathyroid glands.
- Neurofibromatosis: This is an inherited disorder that causes tumors in the nervous system.
- Carney complex: This is an inherited condition that causes non-cancerous tumors on cancerous or non-cancerous endocrine tumors, connective tissue and spots of darker skin.
The symptoms your child has this condition may depend on the size of the pituitary gland tumor. As the tumor grows, it may press on nerves in the brain. If your child has gigantism, you may notice that they’re much larger than other children of the same age. Also, some parts of the body may be larger in proportion to other parts. Common symptoms include:
- Very large hands and feet
- A prominent jaw and forehead
- Flat noses and large heads, lips, or tongues.
- Vision problems
- Excessive sweating
- Recurrent and severe headaches
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Delayed puberty in both boys and girls
- Irregular menstrual periods in girls
If your child’s doctor suspects gigantism, a blood test may be recommended to measure levels of growth hormones and (IGF-1) insulin-like growth factor 1, a hormone produced by the liver. The medical doctor also may give an oral glucose tolerance test, which involves your child drinking a beverage containing glucose, which is a type of sugar. Blood samples will be taken before and after your child drinks the beverage. Usually, growth hormone levels will drop after eating or drinking glucose. If levels remain the same, it means their body is producing too much growth hormone.How Is Gigantism Treated?
If the blood tests indicate a pituitary gland tumor, your child will need an MRI scan of the gland. The scan is used to see the size and position of the tumor. Treatments for gigantism aim to slow or stop your child’s production of growth hormones.
- Surgery: If the tumor is the underlying cause, removing the tumor is the preferred treatment.
- Medication: This is done if surgery is not an option especially if there’s high risk of injury to critical blood vessels or nerves. Medication is meant to either shrink the tumor or stop the production of excess growth hormone.
- Gamma Knife Radiosurgery: This treatment is an option if traditional surgery isn’t possible.
- Side effects include:
- Learning disabilities
- Emotional issues
Learn more about Gigantism Treatment