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What Is Idiopathic Short Stature?

When a child is significantly shorter than other children of the same age and there is no known cause, the child is considered to have Idiopathic Short Stature (ISS).

Growth in children can vary due to genetics, gender, nutrition, and hormones. To be diagnosed with ISS, a child must have no other related medical conditions and a height that is shorter than a great majority (about 97%) of other children of the same gender and age.

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What causes ISS?

Short stature in a child may be caused by a number of underlying factors, including familial height, diet, and medical conditions. But sometimes, the cause is unknown. ISS is the term used for short stature for which a cause has not been identified. Children with ISS are often in good health otherwise.

Signs and symptoms

As your child grows, it can be normal to notice differences in their height and weight compared with other children in their class or at the playground. Healthy children come in all shapes and sizes. Being on the short side isn’t necessarily a medical concern. Doctors evaluate a child’s growth charts in the context of their overall well-being, environment, and genetic background. That said, a few different growth chart patterns might signal a problem.

Talk with your child’s doctor if:


Your child’s rate of growth
has significantly slowed.


They are not getting taller
at the same rate at which
they’re gaining weight.

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A doctor explains to a smiling teenage girl how to take Omnitrope

Testing and Diagnosis


Talk with your pediatrician if you’re
concerned about your child’s height.

Questions you might want to ask may include:

Is my child in the appropriate range of height for their age?

Height aside, is my child in good health?


Is my child at an appropriate stage of puberty for their age?

If the healthcare provider shares your concerns, they may decide to take specific measurements by X-ray or perform a blood test. Depending on the results, your child may also be referred to a pediatric endocrinologist.


Testing Early Is Important

With ISS, early diagnosis is important. After puberty, a child’s growth plates close, so the window of opportunity for any potential treatment is limited.

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If your child is diagnosed with ISS, your doctor may recommend growth hormone treatment. Human growth hormone is approved for the treatment of ISS in children who meet specific medical criteria and whose adult height is expected to be below normal.

Omnitrope is a human growth hormone treatment
for growth hormone-related disorders, including ISS.

In the foreground, a smiling boy in a gray sweater and a bicycle helmet on his head. In the background, a man riding behind him on a bicycle.


Some children experience a psychological burden associated with shortness, for which counseling is recommended. Children with ISS often remain short in adult life.

If ISS is to be treated effectively, the potential benefits and risks need to be considered.


Health and support

Advocacy groups can provide information for you or for loved ones who have been diagnosed with ISS.

Questions about Omnitrope?


To learn more about Omnitrope and our comprehensive patient support services, see our FAQ page for frequently asked questions about Omnitrope.


Contact Us

You can also call our OmniSource team at the number below. We can walk you through the process of getting started with Omnitrope.

Available: Monday – Friday, 8AM – 8PM ET

Phone: 877-456-6794