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What Does Tongue Protrusion In Children Indicate?

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Posted on Mon, 14 Apr 2014
Question: My 13 month old grandson has had tongue protrusion since he was around 5 or 6 months old. My daughter has asked about this at his nursery & they simply say a lot of kids do it and it's just a habit. However I am not convinced as it's out nearly all the time and the rest of the time he has a dummy tit in - it is very hard to photograph him. Otherwise he appears fine with his development and can eat like a horse, in fact he obsesses over food! He has been a challenging baby (much more so than his older sister) regarding sleeping & needing constant attention. He had a normal birth and was a healthy weight but one of his testes had not dropped although it eventually did around a week or so old. He catches the usual viruses and colds like most babies do.
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Answered by Dr. Arun (2 hours later)
Brief Answer: Check for thyroid Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for writing to health care magic. Generally tongue protrusion is normally seen in many infants. Though usually innocuous, some infants are found to have hypothyroidism. I would advise you to get him checked for thyroid status in blood. If that is normal and his rest of the development milestones are within normal limits, no need to worry. Wishing your grandson good health. Regards Dr Arun
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
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Follow up: Dr. Arun (20 hours later)
Hi Dr XXXXXXX Thank you for your reply and we will get this looked at and a paediatric referral. I am an ex staff nurse myself and while I realise lots of children do this, my main concern was the length of time it is going on for (at least 7 - 9 months) and the fact that he is also very slow at teething - only two bottom teeth are through quite recently and he is over 13 months old. Appreciating that they're all different, do any children have this macroglossia problem for so long?
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Answered by Dr. Arun (12 minutes later)
Brief Answer: Need to evaluate Detailed Answer: With macroglossia persisting for long ( though it may do so in many normal kids ) , it'd better to identity the etiology. To start with thyroid screen should be done. Ultrasound neck for lingual thyroid , CT scan to assess the cause and if needed biopsy may be needed in very few cases. Regards Dr Arun
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
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Dr. Arun

Pediatrician, Pulmonology

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 1942 Questions

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What Does Tongue Protrusion In Children Indicate?

Brief Answer: Check for thyroid Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for writing to health care magic. Generally tongue protrusion is normally seen in many infants. Though usually innocuous, some infants are found to have hypothyroidism. I would advise you to get him checked for thyroid status in blood. If that is normal and his rest of the development milestones are within normal limits, no need to worry. Wishing your grandson good health. Regards Dr Arun