Congenital hypothyroidism is a birth disorder that affects approximately 1 out of every 3,500 babies.
Research shows that congenital hypothyroidism affects more girls than boys. The disorder causes a loss or complete absence of thyroid function, which helps with physical growth, brain development and metabolism. The condition occurs when the thyroid gland does not develop or is not able to function.
Although most infants do not show any distinct symptoms, some infants with severe cases will have a puffy face, thick tongue, dry hair, jaundice, low hairline, constipation, short stature, excessive sleepiness and decreased muscle tone.
To diagnose hypothyroidism a doctor will order blood tests, thyroid scans and x-rays. Treatment includes replacement therapy.