Children who have hypothyroidism due to a pituitary or hypothalamus gland problem should take thyroid hormone replacement. Sometimes children with secondary hypothyroidism have problems with other endocrine glands, such as the adrenal gland. One of the effects of taking hormone replacement is an increased metabolic rate. This can trigger a severe or even life-threatening condition called addisonian (adrenal) crisis. Because of this possible condition, your child should be examined frequently by a special doctor called a pediatric endocrinologist. Before beginning hormone replacement therapy, the pediatric endocrinologist should perform a test that stimulates the release of adrenal hormones. If not enough adrenal hormone is present, in most cases, before hormone replacement therapy begins, children are treated with cortisone acetate, a stress hormone similar to the adrenal hormone.
Children with secondary hypothyroidism require hormone replacement therapy all of their lives. If this therapy is stopped, symptoms will begin again. The medication given by your child’s doctor must be given even if symptoms stop. With early diagnosis and life-long treatment, your child will have a normal, healthy life.