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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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Is increasing one's height possible at the age of 18?

Answered by
Dr. Mahaveer Patil

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 1209 Questions

Posted on Wed, 9 Nov 2016 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: Hi doctor i have a question about height growth. Im a 18 year old male soon turning 19 in one month and i measure 5'6. I dont really like the height im at and I want to grow a few more inches. I heard stress combats the way you grow over your teenage hood and during your early teen years, you need to eat well in order to grow taller. Well, when I first entered high school, I was a chubby kid and I wanted to lose weight by exercising (lots of cardio) and eating very, very small portions of food. I continued this for 7 months and careless of me, I did not check my weight during that time frame. I went from 145 pounds to 99 pounds and I believe I was 5'5-5'4 at the time, 14 years old. Being this underweight, I needed to be at a steady frame and looking at my arms stressed me even more because of how thin they became from me exercising too much and eating low. To fix this, which was a very big mistake by me, I drank a lot of milk instead of water and ate huge portions of food (every 2 hours, even right before I go to bed) to gain weight and decrease my metabolism during the summer of my first year of high school. I had several stomach problems and I became very sad and stressed on how I ruined my body like this. Is it possible that this situation affected my growth as I underwent these conditions when entering my teenage years? 3 years later, I take my drivers license and I measure 1.68 cm. Today, I dont know how tall I am because I dont have any tools to measure my height at home, but I assume I still stay at the same height judging by looking at the mirror and fitting my old clothes before. One things for sure, my shoe size definitely changed over the years, but I dont know if the size of your feet affect height. Is it still possible for me to grow into my early 20's? By the way, I checked with the doctor and I am lactose intolerant and I rarely, rarely drink milk due to excessive gas. I just didn't like the way I looked and my doctor says I suffer from all these stress problems that has affected my body, stomach, and nerves.
Answered by Dr. Mahaveer Patil 42 minutes later
Brief Answer:
less chances of growth hereon

Detailed Answer:


How was your day?

Hope this message finds you in good health.

I have gone through your query in detail and understand your concern.

Actually, stress has some effect on a person's overall mental as well as physical growth. Due to stress,the nutritious food intake needed for physical growth is reduced causing indirect retardation of growth process.

Over this you are lactose intolerant,so,intake of milk is limited in your case. As a source of calcium ,needed for bone growth, milk should be taken daily.

The most important factor is that you are already 19 now. At this age,the growth plates that are responsible for vertical growth of bones is almost fused. So physiologically, height gain is expected to be very less at this age.

you can get xrays of your knees and ankles done to see whether these growth plates are completely fused or not.

if they are still present,then you can still increase your height ,but it would be a very negligible height gain.

eat other calcium rich foods like bananas,guava,green leafy vegetables, dry fruits.

exercises like swimming,skipping may help. Vitamin D supplements also need to be taken in recommended doses.

I hope your question has been answered.

Feel free to consult me anytime for follow-up queries.

Take care,God bless.
Wish you a healthy life : )

If you do not have any clarifications,you can close the discussion.
Kind Regards..

Dr Mahaveer Patil, (MBBS,MS,Mch)
Consulting Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon

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Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
Follow up: Dr. Mahaveer Patil 11 hours later
Do you think I wouldve grown the same had I not changed my lifestyle upon entering high school (eating normally and just doing light exercise) and is it just genetics? Throughout my teenage years, I had a tendency to slouch my head but I now try to keep a straight posture. I feel like I my undernourishment in the first year of high school affected my growth and I dont feel good about it cause it has affected my body negatively in a physical and mental manner. My family doctor suggested me to do some cognitive behaviour therapy to clear these stress problems that affect my nerves and stomach problems from the past. I have a whole other case about these stomach problems which stemmed when I was 14 years of age and im talking to several doctors about that problem and they think it is stress as well.
Answered by Dr. Mahaveer Patil 12 hours later
Brief Answer:
Query answered

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for the follow up.
Undernourishment in the first year of your high school has drastically affected your growth,because this is the age when the hormones and growth factors in our body are on a high surge and given them a good conducive environment,they do cause beneficial effects on the body. As you were malnourished during this period,it has caused majority of the damage.

As your family doctor has rightly suggested,cognitive behaviour therapy to de-stress yourself will be quite beneficial. Combine this with yoga,exercises and meditation, and this will give excellent results.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Veerisetty Shyamkumar
Follow up: Dr. Mahaveer Patil 2 days later
By my definition of undernourishment, my diet for the first 3 months of high school was a little below the average calorie intake. I did not eat a balanced breakfast before school; i'd always eat half a bagel at XXXXXXX but my lunch and dinners were alright. I hope its not the same as malnourished and it wasn't a direct factor to my height. Im just hoping I can grow a little more into my early 20's. I've been researching all over the internet and I dont know how much stress affects height. My doctor says these stomach grumblings are a result of stress after negative colonoscopy, ultrasound, and endoscopy results. Throughout my high school, I was not seriously stressed but these stomach noises and "farts" experienced every morning kept my mood back throughout the day, but my stomach behavior would moderately go down later on in the day, and I feel my stomach behaviors are more "controlled" and under pressure the latest I wake up from a sleep.
Answered by Dr. Mahaveer Patil 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Negligible height gain possible now

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome back,

At this age,you can expect a very negligible growth in height. As i had mentioned earlier,the growth plates in the bones of legs are almost fused by now and won't gain much of length.

You can get an x-ray of both knees done and upload it here so that i can tell you perfectly how much growth you can expect to be achieved in early 20's.

Thanks you.

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
Follow up: Dr. Mahaveer Patil 16 hours later
I have one more question about my stomach symptoms. Since I have overate during the summer of my freshman year because I was too skinny, are all these stomach growlings, gurglings, noises in the morning a cause of low or high stomach acid levels? I did this test to determine if you have low stomach acid levels by drinking baking soda combined with water first thing in the morning and if you belch within 5 minutes of drinking it, you have low stomach levels. Me and my family doctor have not really discussed stomach acid as a cause of my symptoms and rather suggested I go straight to therapy.
Answered by Dr. Mahaveer Patil 8 hours later
Brief Answer:
don't think this is related to acid levels

Detailed Answer:

I do not think it is related to your acid levels,whether they are high or low.

Instead of experimenting at home,i suggest you to get a gastro-endoscopy done. The oesophagus,stomach and proximal part of intestine can be directly viewed under a camera and perfect diagnosis can be made.

A gastroenterologist will help you in getting this done.

Thank you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng

The User accepted the expert's answer

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