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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Hypothalamic dysfunction

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Your Question

My 12-year-old daughter has hypothalamic dysfunction. She has been having the following symptoms: bed wetting, anger, hitting others, irregular breathing, excessive thirst, obesity, difficulty regulating body temperature, and requires a bipap machine while sleeping. Could you tell us more about this condition and its treatments?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is hypothalamic dysfunction?

Hypothalamic dysfunction refers to a condition in which the hypothalamus is not working properly. The hypothalamus produces hormones that control body temperature, hunger, moods, release of hormones from many glands such as the pituitary gland, sex drive, sleep, and thirst. The signs and symptoms patients have vary depending on the hormones missing. A number of different causes including anorexia, bleeding, genetic disorder, tumors, and more have been linked to hypothalamic dysfunction. Treatment depends on the cause of the hypothalamic dysfunction.[1]
Last updated: 4/13/2010

What are the signs and symptoms of hypothalamic dysfunction?

The signs and symptoms of hypothalamic dysfunction may vary from person to person depending on the specific hormones missing. You can read more by visiting the following link from MedlinePlus.
Last updated: 4/13/2010

What causes hypothalamic dysfunction?

Hypothalamic dysfunction may be caused by any of the following [1][2]:

In some cases of hypothalamic dysfunction, the cause is unknown; these cases are referred to as having idiopathic hypothalamic dysfunction.

Last updated: 4/13/2010

How might hypothalamic dysfunction be treated?

Treatment is based on the specific cause of the hypothalamic dysfunction. For instance, if the condition is caused by a tumor, radiation and/or surgery may be warranted. If the hypothalamic dysfunction is caused by a hormone deficiency, the condition might be treated with hormone supplementation.[1] If the cause is unknown, treatment may be symptomatic. To date, no successful treatment has been reported for idiopathic hypothalamic dysfunction.[3]
Last updated: 4/13/2010

  • Hypothalamic dysfunction. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. November 23, 2009; Accessed 4/13/2010.
  • Kronenberg: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, 11th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, An Imprint of Elsevier; 2008;
  • Huppke P, Heise A, Rostasy K, Huppke B, Gartner J. Immunoglobulin therapy in idiopathic hypothalamic dysfunction. Pediatr. Neurol.. 2009 Sep;
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.