Growth Hormone Testing
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
Answers

What is Growth Hormone Testing?

Growth hormone (GH) testing measures the level of human growth hormone in the blood. GH is a hormone made in the pituitary gland in the head. Your doctor may order one of the following tests if you have symptoms that suggest a GH abnormality:

  • Suppression test—measures the amount of GH that is produced when the pituitary gland is told not to produce any GH
  • Stimulation test—measures the function of the pituitary gland to secrete GH when it is told to secrete GH

There are many factors that can interfere with GH testing. Stress, exercise, certain medicines, and blood glucose levels can all cause GH levels to rise and fall. For this reason, GH tests are often done with other hormones, like IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1).

Suppression tests are ordered:

  • For children who show symptoms of gigantism
  • For adults who show signs of acromegaly (abnormally large bone growth)
  • To check for abnormalities in the function of the pituitary gland
  • If a tumor in the pituitary gland is suspected—This is done with another test called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) that does not vary so much over time.
  • To monitor the effectiveness of GH replacement (commonly done with IGF-1 test)

GH stimulation tests are ordered:

  • For children who are significantly short for their age
  • When thyroid testing rules out a problem with the thyroid but growth is slower than expected
  • To check for abnormalities in the function of the pituitary gland
  • For children who have had radiation therapy
  • For...

Call Your Doctor

After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Symptoms of infection, including fever and chills
  • Severe redness, pain, or drainage from the puncture site

In case of emergency, CALL 911.

 
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