Preventing Lag Time in Pediatric IBD Diagnosis

  • Children are the fastest growing population of Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients. Unfortunately many children can go years before they receive an accurate diagnosis of their condition. This problem was eloquently detailed in the post by Tammy Worth entitled, "Doctors Missed My Son's Crohn's Disease for Years" about April Burton‘s son Spencer and his road to an accurate diagnosis.

     

    Sadly, this lag time between symptoms and diagnosis is not abnormal. There are however a few things you can do as a parent to help your physician pinpoint the problem as quickly as possible.

     

    Take detailed logs of your child's symptoms. It can help to know whether certain foods make the issue worse and how frequently your child has these issues.

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    Make yourself familiar with the symptoms of IBD. Instead of mentioning it as a concern ask your child's physician how they plan to rule IBD out as a cause for the problem. In some cases that may not be needed but if your child's symptoms line up and conservative treatments don't work then further testing may be warranted.

     

    In these cases where symptoms don't resolve in a normal amount of time it can be especially useful to get the opinion of a specialist. For children a pediatric GI can be a wonderful resource for establishing an accurate diagnosis. Don't be afraid to request a referral for your child.

     

    Make sure all of your child's doctors have full medical records. If you have seen more than one doctor in your search for a diagnosis it may be necessary to release your records from each physician to your child's current physician. That is the only way for them to get the big picture and can prevent the repetition of previous testing.

     

    Having a child that is sick, especially when you don't know what is causing the issue can be hugely stressful. Follow your own instinct for your child. A good doctor knows when a parents says the child is not acting like themselves to take it seriously. Hopefully these tools will help you get a faster diagnosis for your own child.

Published On: May 07, 2012