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 options for your child. Anti-thyroid medicines work by blocking the release of thyroid hormone. Make sure to:

  • Give your child his or her 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 remember 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 your child’s healthcare provider instructs.

  • 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 (hyperthyroidism).

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Tiredness or low energy

  • Puffy hands, face, or feet

  • Hoarseness

  • Muscle pain

  • Slow heartbeat (less than 60 beats per minute)

  • Feeling unusually cold when others feel comfortable

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Restlessness

  • Fast weight loss

  • Sweating

  • Fast heartbeat (more than 100 beats per minute)

  • Feeling unusually hot when others feel comfortable

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff. Make and keep appointments for your child to see his or her healthcare provider and have blood tests. Your child will need to have blood test for the rest of his or her life to check hormone levels.

To learn more

The resources below can help you learn more:

  • American Thyroid Association 703-998-8890 www.thyroid.org

  • Hormone Health Network 800-467-6663 www.hormone.org

When to call the healthcare provider

Call the healthcare provider right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

  • 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