When Should My Child See a Pediatric Specialist?

Your pediatrician is your go-to person for questions about your child’s well-being or when your child gets sick. But sometimes, your child might have a problem that warrants a visit to a pediatric specialist. A pediatric specialist is a doctor who’s received extra training in a certain area. You may need to see a pediatric specialist for additional evaluation and treatment beyond what your pediatrician is able to provide.

Pediatric specialists are also experts in treating kids. They know how to perform exams in ways that make kids feel more comfortable. They often work in kid-friendly offices and use medical tools that are specially designed for use with children.

A Variety of Pediatric Specialties

There are many different types of pediatric specialists. Some examples of pediatric specialists and the conditions they treat include:

Pediatric dermatologists treat conditions that affect the skin, hair, and nails in kids. These include birthmarks, eczema, psoriasis, hives, warts, and others. Pediatric dermatologists may also perform minor surgical procedures such as skin biopsies, wart removal, and laser treatment for certain types of birthmarks. 

Pediatric gastroenterologists address issues with the digestive system, liver, or nutritional problems. Some examples of the conditions they treat include:

  • Food allergies or intolerances

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Chronic constipation

  • Cystic fibrosis

  • Severe gastroesophageal reflux disease

  • Liver disease

Pediatric gastroenterologists are able to perform a variety of tests in order to diagnose issues with a child’s digestive system. For example, they may use special tools called endoscopes to examine the inside of a child’s digestive tract.

Child neurologists treat problems that involve the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, muscles, and nerves. You may need to see a child neurologist if your child has any of these conditions:

  • Seizure disorder

  • Serious head injury

  • Brain tumor

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Headaches or migraines

  • Autism

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

  • Developmental disorders such as delayed speech or coordination issues

  • Hydrocephalus

Child neurologists often work together as a team with pediatricians and other pediatric specialists to treat children who have chronic conditions that require ongoing care throughout childhood and beyond.

Talk with Your Doctor

If you think your child may need to a see a pediatric specialist, discuss it with your pediatrician. He or she can refer you to a pediatric specialist, if needed.

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