Hypoparathyroidism in Children

Specialists at Rush University Children’s Hospital provide specialized care for hypoparathyroidism in children, a rare endocrine disorder that affects the bones.

    Remarkable Care for Kids

    • Renowned leaders in pediatric endocrinology: The pediatric endocrinology program at Rush University Children’s Hospital focuses on treating and managing hormonal conditions like hypoparathyroidism in children. One of our pediatric endocrinologists is a nationally recognized clinician-researcher who specializes in pediatric bone disorders, including hypoparathyroidism in children.
    • Personalized care for calcium-related disorders: Achieving normal calcium and phosphorous levels can be difficult with hypoparathyroidism in children. It requires continuous monitoring and personalized treatment. Pediatric endocrinologists at Rush will work with you, your child and each other to provide your child with the individualized care that will help them thrive.
    • Nutritional counseling: A pediatric dietitian at Rush University Children’s Hospital can work with you and your child to help make dietary changes associated with improving hypoparathyroidism in children.
    • Care close to home: Pediatric endocrinologists from Rush University Children’s Hospital are available to see patients at our Rush campus in Chicago, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora.

    What is hypoparathyroidism in children?

    When your child has hypoparathyroidism, they often lack activated vitamin D and have low calcium levels in their bones and bloodstream. This is because the four parathyroid glands, which are near your child’s thyroid gland, do not produce enough parathyroid hormone.

    Hypoparathyroidism can cause your child to have too little calcium and too much phosphorous in their body. This can lead to problems with your child’s bones, muscles, nerve endings and skin.

    The following can cause hypoparathyroidism in children:

    • An injury to parathyroid glands during head, neck or thyroid surgery
    • A congenital abnormality that your child was born with
    • An autoimmune disorder affecting the glands in your child’s body

    Symptoms of hypoparathyroidism in children

    Symptoms of hypoparathyroidism in children include the following:

    • Seizures (typically the first sign)
    • Brittle nails and hair
    • Tingling in the toes, fingers and lips
    • Abdominal pain
    • Dry skin
    • Muscle spasms called tetany, which can affect breathing
    • Muscle weakness
    • Teeth that don’t grow in on time or at all (in children born with hypoparathyroidism)
    • Constipation

    If your child is experiencing these symptoms, they may not have hypoparathyroidism. Other conditions can cause similar problems. Your child’s pediatrician and/or a pediatric endocrinologist can help you get to the root of your child’s symptoms.

    Care for hypoparathyroidism in children at Rush

    Diagnosis

    Your child’s pediatrician will examine your child and order blood tests to determine if your child has hypoparathyroidism. If the tests come back positive, your child’s doctor will likely refer you to a pediatric endocrinologist.

    Treatments

    Your child’s pediatric endocrinologist may recommend the following treatments to help return your child’s calcium and phosphorus levels back to normal:

    • Supplements: Calcium carbonate, vitamin D, calcitriol and magnesium supplements may benefit your child.
    • Dietary changes: Eating foods high in calcium like dairy products, calcium-fortified products and green leafy vegetables may improve your child’s condition. Avoiding foods rich in phosphorus, such as certain meats and dried beans, can also help.
    • Shots: Synthetic PTH injections can help increase your child’s calcium levels.