Home > Teens > Teen Health and Safety > Sports > Do Steroids Cause Stunted Growth?
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Do Steroids Cause Stunted Growth?

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: Is it true that the steroid medicine being prescribed for my asthmatic child may cause her not to grow as well? Should I be concerned?

A: Steroid medicines are used frequently to combat asthma and allergies. These medicines have been wonderful in helping to control asthma symptoms. For example, by reducing inflammation and swelling in the lungs, steroids have made a big difference in helping children with asthma breathe much better, so that they can lead more normal lives.

Doctors are always concerned about the side effects of the medicines they prescribe. It is true that some controversy has been raised about steroids possibly stunting a child's growth. The long-term effects of steroids on a child's final adult height are not clear.

However, in the case of steroids, I believe the benefits tend to outweigh the risks, assuming the medicine is used as recommended. Doctors tend to use the lowest effective dose of these drugs, monitor the frequency with which they are used, choose a delivery method that minimizes side effects, and closely monitor children's growth rates while they are taking steroids. Sometimes the medicine can even be given directly into the lungs (by inhaling it) or directly into the nose (by squirting it). These ways of taking steroids tend to have fewer systemic side effects when compared with taking them by mouth.

I recommend that you use the steroids in concert with your daughter's physician and that she be closely monitored for any side effects that may be associated with using these medicines. Although I share the concern you raise, I think steroids are generally very beneficial when used appropriately.

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!