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Children - hypothyroidism in newborns

Q: After the birth of my daughter we learnt that she was suffering from Hypothyroidism. This was detected within one month of her birth. As advised by the doctor we took her immidiately to the endocrinologist who after taking the X-rays of her left hand and both the knees was of the view that it was a recent case and not inherited. All was found normal. He then prescribed medicine THYRONORM 2.5 mg and asked to give it to the baby. Please let me know if her thyroid would start functioning on its own.

A:Most children who develop hypothyroidism in the first few weeks after birth has some developmental defects of thyroid. These include aplasia (complete absence of thyroid gland), hypoplasia (partially developed thyroid) or ectopia (abnormally positioned thyroid). Rarely this may be due to some abnormalities in one of the steps leading to the production of thyroid hormones (dyshormonogenesis).

There is no cure for these conditions except to replace the thyroid hormone in appropriate doses. It is possible to detect the cause of hypothyroidism, however it will require stopping therapy for a variable period of time. Most experts believe that depriving the developing brain of thyroxine even for a few days during the critical stage of development can lead to developmental delays and possible mental subnormalities. Hence it is preferred to treat the child with adequate dose of thyroxine with monitoring of treatment for at least one or two years. Treatment can be stopped after that for a few days and the child can be reinvestigated for hypothyroidism and its possible cause.

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