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What causes severe fatigue in a teenager?

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Posted on Fri, 8 Dec 2017
Question: Hello, I know you must get sick of people asking these questions, but I would love it if you could simply answer my questions. Is it possible that I have delayed puberty or a growth hormone deficiency? I have experienced high levels of fatigue for most of my teenage years. I have just turned 19 and am 5 feet 8.5 inches tall. My mum is the same height as me (but was 5'10 before she shrunk with age) and my dad is just over six feet tall. The majority of my family members are also tall. I began puberty around the age of 11, but I do not feel that I have fully developed. I feel like I "fell behind" other kids. I did not even begin to grow armpit hair till the age of 17, and it only now is visible to the naked eye. I also have very little body hair and no facial hair at all. While I do have a strong understanding of genetics as I am a Medical Science student, I feel strongly that I have not developed properly and I feel my frequent fatigue throughout my teenage years is pathological. I have had blood tests before and there have only ever been slight abnormalities that have usually corrected themselves in time; however I feel that potentially more diagnostic work may be merited in my case given that I appear undeveloped and am also shorter than both my parents final heights. Please note that I also sleep for 8 hours at least consistently; although when I was a younger teenager I often did not get the amount of sleep I needed. I understand these questions are annoying for an endocrinologist but my consistent fatigue combined with my short stature, thin build and lack of body or facial hair has garnered me significant negative attention throughout my life and caused me great psychological stress. Thank you for your time.
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Answered by Dr. Shafi Ullah Khan (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Supportive care

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for asking

I read your question and i understand your concern. Your height is good enough and lag slightly an inch or two from your parents which is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Also your long bones may have fused but you may still gain a couple of inches till your adolescence completes with good exercise and lifestyle. Also puberty gain at age of 11 rules out gonadal insufficiency. Secondary sexual characters may delay and many factors contribute to it like environmental, genetic etc and is perfectly normal. I have seen people who grow beard and armpit hair even in their twenties. So hang in there, you are just 19 and have alot to accomplish yet. As far as asthenia and fatigue is concerned, that needs extensive work up for sure, thyroid hormones , corticosteroids hormones assays, serum electrolytes assays need to be done and ruled out for any metabolic or organic cause. Otherwise this fatigue will just need supportive care with low doses of tricyclic antidepressants, vitamin and nutrients supplements and good diet and lifestyle with more outdoor activities.

I hope it helps. Take good care of yourself and dont forget to close the discussion please.

Regards
Khan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Shafi Ullah Khan

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2012

Answered : 3613 Questions

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What causes severe fatigue in a teenager?

Brief Answer: Supportive care Detailed Answer: Thank you for asking I read your question and i understand your concern. Your height is good enough and lag slightly an inch or two from your parents which is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Also your long bones may have fused but you may still gain a couple of inches till your adolescence completes with good exercise and lifestyle. Also puberty gain at age of 11 rules out gonadal insufficiency. Secondary sexual characters may delay and many factors contribute to it like environmental, genetic etc and is perfectly normal. I have seen people who grow beard and armpit hair even in their twenties. So hang in there, you are just 19 and have alot to accomplish yet. As far as asthenia and fatigue is concerned, that needs extensive work up for sure, thyroid hormones , corticosteroids hormones assays, serum electrolytes assays need to be done and ruled out for any metabolic or organic cause. Otherwise this fatigue will just need supportive care with low doses of tricyclic antidepressants, vitamin and nutrients supplements and good diet and lifestyle with more outdoor activities. I hope it helps. Take good care of yourself and dont forget to close the discussion please. Regards Khan