Idiopathic Short Stature

What is Idiopathic Short Stature (ISS?)​

ISS is a disorder affecting a child’s height, causing them to be significantly shorter than others their age. As there isn’t a known cause, idiopathic short stature is considered a clinical description instead of a disease. Specialists use ISS as a way to describe kids with a visible height difference but an unknown cause.

Signs & Symptoms​

Visible symptoms are difficult to identify with idiopathic short stature. The most obvious sign is being much smaller or shorter than others. Since it’s not a disease, you’ll want to consult a pediatric endocrinologist if you suspect ISS.


A doctor will run tests to examine your child for causes such as growth hormone deficiency or bone disorders. They’ll likely also discuss your child’s medical history with you to look for any genetic or familial causes. Growth issues such as idiopathic short stature can only be diagnosed by a medical professional.


If your child is diagnosed with ISS, the standard treatment is human growth hormone therapy. Doctors will prescribe HGH to children in order to speed up their growth. Human growth hormone therapy is safe for kids and FDA-approved, but it’s still important to monitor their progress. You and your child’s doctor will want to track the effects of treatment and adjust as necessary.

How Does It Work?​

Human growth hormone therapy works by introducing a synthetic version of the very same hormone normally produced by the pituitary gland. As your child’s pituitary gland isn’t producing enough, he or she will be given an injection of exogenous HGH to counteract any malfunction.

After diagnosis, your doctor should go over the pros and cons of HGH treatment. It will likely take a few months to a few years of treatment, so it’s important to understand how to care for your child through the process.

HGH treatment will continue until your child begins normal maturation characterized by:

  • Growth of less than 2cm in 1 year
  • Reaching full bone maturity
  • Achieving potential adult height​

In order to get the full benefits of growth hormone therapy, it is recommended to start before puberty. While injections may seem daunting, they aren’t painful and are the best method towards normal growth. As always, stick to the prescribed dosage and storage procedures for safety.