Cohen Children's Medical Center’s endocrine division is a New York State designated congenital hypothyroidism treatment center
Frequently Asked Questions about Hypothyroidism
Q. What will happen if an affected baby is not treated?
A. Short term medical problems, such as failure to thrive, jaundice and anemia may be associated with infant hypothyroidism. Long term complications may include learning problems in children with severe congenital hypothyroidism if they are not promptly treated in the newborn period.
Q. How do you treat congenital hypothyroidism?
A. Congenital hypothyroidism is treated with thyroid hormone tablets. Tablets are crushed and given to the baby once a day in a small amount of breast milk or formula, usually in a medication syringe or dropper.
Q. Are there any side effects to thyroid hormone therapy?
A. As long as the child is given the correct dose of thyroid hormone with regular medical monitoring, it is very unlikely there will be any side effects.
Q. What happens if a parent forgets to give their baby a dose one day? What should they do?
A. If a dose is omitted, a double dose may be given the next day. Please let your doctor know if a child has missed more than an occasional dose.
Q. How long will the child need to be treated?
A. The treatment will likely be for life. There are some cases of borderline thyroid abnormalities in which administering the thyroid hormone can be stopped after 3 years, but this should be discussed with your doctor.
Q. How often does my baby need to be checked?
A. During the first year of life, affected babies should be seen every 2-3 months. The doctor needs to monitor the babies’ growth and development, and check to ensure that the dose of the thyroid hormone is correct.
Q. Will the dose of thyroid hormone change?
A. Yes. The dosage will need to be increased as the baby gets bigger. Your doctor will use the results of the blood tests to determine when the dose needs to be increased.
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