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When Your Child Has Hyperthyroidism

Your child has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Your child’s thyroid gland is overactive and makes too much thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is important to body growth and metabolism. The thyroid gland is in the front of the neck. If the gland makes too much thyroid hormone, many body processes speed up. Hyperthyroidism can be treated with medicine, radiation, or surgery. Here’s what you need to know about caring for your child.

Medicine instructions

Your healthcare provider will talk with you about medicine choices for your child. Antithyroid medicines work by blocking the production of thyroid hormone. Make sure to:

  • Give your child medicine exactly as directed. 

  • Give the medicine at the same time every day. Keep the pills in a container that is labeled with the days of the week. This will help you know if you’ve given the medicine each day.

  • Try to give the medicine with the same food or drink each day. This will help you control the amount of thyroid hormone in your child’s body.

  • Don’t stop giving medicine for any reason. If you do, your child’s symptoms will return. Only make changes to the medicine routine as directed by your child’s healthcare provider.

  • Keep a card in your wallet that says your child has hyperthyroidism. Make sure it has your name and address, contact information for your child’s healthcare provider, and the names and doses of your child’s medicines. Have your child wear a medical alert bracelet with the same information.

Keeping track of symptoms and side effects

During your routine visits, tell your child’s healthcare provider if your child has any symptoms of too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). This can be a side effect of treatment. Also tell the healthcare provider if your child has symptoms of too much thyroid hormone.

Symptoms of too little thyroid hormone include:

  • Tiredness or low energy

  • Puffy hands, face, or feet

  • Hoarseness

  • Muscle pain

  • Slow heartbeat (less than 60 beats per minute)

  • Feeling abnormally cold when others feel comfortable

Symptoms of too much thyroid hormone include:

  • Restlessness and shaking (tremor)

  • Fast weight loss

  • Sweating

  • Fast heartbeat (more than 100 beats per minute)

  • Feeling abnormally hot when others feel comfortable

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider, or as directed. Make and keep appointments for your child to see the provider and have blood tests. Your child will need to have blood tests for the rest of their life to check hormone levels.

To learn more

The resources below can help you learn more:

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if any of the following occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F ( 38°C) or higher, or as directed by the healthcare provider

  • Sleeplessness, anxiety, or tremors

  • Feeling sweaty and hot, even when others nearby are comfortable

  • Shortness of breath

  • Trouble focusing the eyes

  • Bulging eyes, staring, or infrequent blinking

  • Weight loss for no obvious reason

  • Fast heartbeat at rest (more than 100 beats per minute)

  • Enlarged thyroid gland at front of neck (goiter)

  • Diarrhea

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Hurd MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2022
© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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