What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is the condition in which the thyroid is underactive and produces an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder. Children with this disorder display symptoms differently than adults with the disorder.

What is transient hypothyroidism?

Some newborns may have abnormal thyroid hormone levels at birth, which eventually stabilize and become normal. These children are said to have transient hypothyroidism as a result of exposure to antithyroid medications, maternal antithyroid antibodies or an iodine deficiency in the womb. Thyroid function in these children usually returns to normal and doesn’t require long-term treatment.

What is congenital hypothyroidism?

Congenital hypothyroidism means the disorder is present at birth. About 1,400 per 5,000,000 newborns are diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism shortly after birth each year.

Congenital hypothyroidism is one of the most common, preventable causes of mental retardation. Children in the U.S. are tested for the disorder during their standard newborn screening. In about 10 percent of cases, congenital hypothyroidism is inherited by an autosomal recessive gene, which means that two copies of the gene are necessary to produce the condition and both males and females are equally affected. Most children born with congenital hypothyroidism appear normal at birth, possibly because the maternal thyroid hormones have sustained the infant's normal thyroid function in the womb.

Care for hypothyroidism

The Thyroid Center at Boston Children's is one of the only centers in the U.S. exclusively devoted to the care of children with thyroid diseases. We are distinguished by our expertise in thyroid ultrasonography, fine needle aspiration and radioiodine therapy. Our Thyroid Nodule Clinic is one of the largest and most experienced pediatric practices of its type in the U.S.