Did I cause my son to be shorter by giving him testosterone treatments?

Last updated on September 19, 2020


My son is a late bloomer. He went to an endocrinologist at 14 and did 3 treatments of testosterone. He was 5’1″ and 90 lbs and 14 years old at the time. Now, a year later, he is at Tanner stage 3, he is 5’4″ and is 96 lbs. My concern is that they did a bone age x-ray last year and it was 11.5 and now it is 14. How accurate are those? Have I made a mistake and the treatments caused him to grow too fast? Originally the doctor said he would be around 6 feet, now a different doctor (the other doctor retired) says 5’8″ or 5’9″ based on bone age. I feel like I have harmed my child’s growth. I am constantly in prayer about it.

I welcome your thoughts.



I don’t like to second guess doctors since I have far less information about your son at my disposal. Being in stage 2 at the age of 14 is not considered all that late, so I don’t know why the doctor decided to treat your son. Short term use of testosterone is used to kick start development. It isn’t that your son wouldn’t have developed anyway, it just made the secondary characteristics associated with a man appear sooner.

Bone age tests are the current best estimate of growth, but they are not perfect. They are heavily dependent on who is reading the x-rays. It has also been shown that when the reader knows the age of the patient, it will skew the results.

My guess is that the first doctor came to the wrong conclusion about your son’s final height, which isn’t hard to do when a boy hasn’t had his growth spurt yet. Now that he is in his growth spurt, the final height is a bit easier to predict.

Worry about your son’s eventual height is not productive. He’ll be whatever height his genes dictate him to be. “And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Luke 12:25). You need to have more patience so your son learns patience as well.


Thank you for your response.

I think the first doctor treated him because he had not started puberty at all and he wanted to help his confidence. My hope is that it didn’t hinder instead of help. You are right about worrying. I have turned it over to God and thanked him for all we are blessed with.

Thanks for the verse.


Actually, he would have had to have been in stage 2 at the time the shots were given. The signs of puberty are subtle in that stage. He was past puberty (as defined as the start of the changes) but not to the point where the signs of changes where readily apparent. But it is past now, so accept what is current.