What is it?

Gigantism is a rare condition which is characterized by an excessive growth and height significantly above average. It is usually caused by overproduction of growth hormone from the pituitary gland due to a tumor. Other less common causes of gigantism include McCune-Albright syndrome, Carney complex, Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) and neurofibromatosis. Gigantism symptoms start usually right after puberty.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Constitutional tall stature
- Growth hormone overproduction
- Hypersomatotropic gigantism

Signs & symptoms

A child with gigantism will appear larger than the child his age. Also, he or she may have very large hands and feet, thick fingers or toes, prominent jaw and forehead, flat nose, large head, lips or tongue, and coarse facial features.If the tumor is very large and results in pressure on the nerves, it can represent with headaches, vision problems, nausea, sweating, weaknees, insomnia, irregular menstrual periods and deafness.


If gigantism is suspected, a blood test can measure level of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is a hormone produced by the liver. Also,oral glucose tolerance tests will not show a drop in hormone levels after drinking a beverage containing sugar in people with gigantism. An MRI test can be done in order to look for an adenoma.


Treatment may include surgery to remove the tumor, if it exists. In cases surgery is not an option, drugs like octreotide or lanreotide are prescribed to prevent the growth hormone’s release. Drugs like bromocriptine and cabergoline are used to decrease hormone levels. If medication does not help, daily injections of Pegvisomant are recommended. This medication blocks the effects of growth hormones and lowers the levels of IGF-1 in blood. Another option is Gamma knife radiosurgery, which uses radiation beams to destroy the tumor.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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