We've all heard that girls grow faster than boys, but sometimes it is agonizing for girls when they shoot way up over their peers. Now, some girls who feel they're too tall are seeking treatment for that, and they're getting it and may be getting seriously sick in the process. That's the warning in an article in this month's Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.
The treatment uses the hormone estrogen in growth-suppression therapy. A group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says a recent survey indicates many parents want this for their daughters, and many doctors are willing to prescribe it.
"Being tall is not a disease. And if we're giving a powerful and potentially dangerous drug to try to treat it, we're causing more problems than we're solving. Then they go on to difficulties with fertility. Endometriosis is commonly reported, and then of course examinations for cancer that regrettably have turned up positive," says Neal Barnard, M.D., of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Dr. Barnard adds that a website for tall girls reports former growth suppression patients are up to twice as likely to suffer reproductive health problems. The Physicians' Committee is concerned that thousands of girls or women in the U.S. may have taken part in growth-suppression treatment over the years. The committee is trying now to reach those girls and encourage them to see their doctors about potential side effects.
The Physicians' Committee is petitioning the FDA for new warnings against using estrogen as a growth-suppressant. For the Tall Girl Website (click here).