Growth hormone replacement therapy is a clinically proven method used to treat adults and children suffering from some form of growth hormone deficiency, or GHD. Growth hormone replacement therapy involves regular injections of a synthetic form of human growth hormone (HGH), known as somatotropin, to resolve the symptoms of GHD. The growth hormone used in HGH replacement therapy is created in the lab using recombinant DNA, so that it is biologically identical to the somatotropin normally produced by the body. Growth hormone stimulates growth and cell reproduction in the body, and therefore is critical for children to grow and mature normally into adults.
HGH continues to play a vital role in cellular growth and metabolism throughout adulthood, therefore adults and children can both suffer from GHD, albeit, with somewhat different symptoms. Once you have been prescribed growth hormone therapy, typically you will need to take daily injections of growth hormone.
Who Needs Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Growth hormone replacement therapy is needed by anyone whose body is not capable of producing enough growth hormone. Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. Injury, genetic conditions, or disease states, that impact pituitary function are the primary causes of growth hormone deficiency, particularly in children. There is also a form of adult onset growth hormone deficiency that is the result of the steady decline of HGH that occurs as we age.
A child who appears significantly smaller for his or her age, may be in need of growth hormone therapy. Other signs of growth hormone therapy in children include:
A face that looks younger than children of the same age
Delayed onset of puberty, or failure to go through puberty
Increased fat, particularly about the face and abdomen
Chubbiness or a rotund appearance
Failure for adult teeth to erupt when they should
Slow hair and nail growth
Symptoms of growth hormone deficiency in adults can vary somewhat from those in children. The adult who may be in need of growth hormone replacement therapy may typically be experiencing any, or all of the following:
A loss of muscle mass and strength
Decrease in sexual function and sex drive
Difficulty to concentrate, memory loss and other cognitive difficulties
Anxiety, depression and other mood swings
Dry, creepy skin
Elevated triglyceride levels
Lack of energy and fatigue
Heart problems and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
Bone loss and an increased risk of osteoporosis
Increased levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol
Insulin resistance, slowed metabolism, and weight gain
Increased sensitivity to heat and cold
If you are experiencing any, or all of these symptoms, you may be in need of growth hormone replacement therapy, but the only way to know for sure is to have your growth hormone level tested by your doctor.
How Is the Dosage of Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy Determined?
Before you can be prescribed a precise dosage of HGH replacement therapy, you must be properly diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. A thorough medical history and physical exam are used along with specific lab tests, to make a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency.
If your doctor suspects that you may have a growth hormone deficiency, the first thing that he or she will likely do is check your weight, height, and body proportions. This is especially important when it comes to diagnosing GHD in children, who may be failing to hit growth milestones due to GHD. Other than a physical exam, there are several lab tests that doctor use to diagnose GHD, including:
IGF-I and IGFBP-3 blood tests, which will indicate whether the problem is caused by the pituitary gland
Tests that will measure the amount of growth hormone levels in the blood
Growth hormone stimulation test
Insulin tolerance test
Based on the results of your exam and lab tests, if your doctor is able to make a diagnosis of GHD, you will be prescribed a dosage of growth hormone replacement therapy. The dose of growth hormone will vary from patient to patient, based on your age, weight, body composition, gender, and age. The amount of each dose, and the number of times a day you need to take your dose of HGH, will also vary based on your individual needs. Always follow your doctor’s instructions.
How Do I Take Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Actual growth hormone therapy is only given in injectable form. HGH cannot be taken orally, as human growth hormone would be destroyed by enzymatic action in the stomach, and never enter the blood stream. Any product that claims to be HGH, or contain HGH, and can be purchased in a pill, powder, or any other form besides an injectable formula, is not genuine human growth hormone.
Growth hormone injections can be given by your healthcare professional, but most patients are taught how to self-inject growth hormone. Growth hormone therapy injections come in a kit that contains everything you need to take your prescribed dose of growth hormone therapy. Some brands of growth hormone are given using injectable pens, which many patients find easier to use than traditional syringes. Either way, you will be completely trained on how to self-administer your growth hormone therapy, so that you may do so with complete confidence.
Consult with your physician, or pharmacist for the exact storage and care instructions for your particular dosage and brand of growth hormone.
Do I Need a Prescription for Growth Hormone Therapy?
Yes. The only way to obtain authentic growth hormone is with a doctor’s prescription. Synthetic human growth hormone was developed and approved by the FDA to be prescribed for specific uses in children and adults. You cannot legally purchase HGH without a doctor’s prescription. Any product that you can buy on the internet, or in vitamin stores that claims to be HGH, or contain HGH, cannot, by law, contain any human growth hormone.
Companies that market these so called “HGH sprays,” or pills, or powders, make a lot of claims about how they can provide the same benefits as prescription HGH injections, as well as do everything from increasing your strength and vitality, to improving sexual performance. However, the Federal Trade Commission has found little or no evidence to support any of these claims. The only clinically proven, safe and effective way to treat children and adults with GHD, is with a prescription for growth hormone injections.
Are There Natural Ways to Boost HGH?
While growth hormone injections are the only way to treat a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency, if your growth hormone levels are borderline, and you are not experiencing major quality of life symptoms, there may be some ways to boost your HGH levels naturally. These methods will also probably be suggested along with growth hormone replacement therapy, to improve and/or maintain your results. Ways to help boost your body’s natural production of HGH include: