If your child is dealing with a Clostridium difficile (commonly called c. difficile or c. diff) infection, you will probably take them to your regular pediatrician or family doctor when you first notice a problem. If your child cannot easily get over C. difficile infection, you may begin looking for another doctor, or a specialist, to treat your child.
A C. difficile infection usually begins after a round of antibiotics or a hospital stay. C. difficile bacteria is very resilient, and as antibiotics clear out a lot of the good bacteria in the body, C. diff can flourish and cause major intestinal problems.
Most doctors will prescribe a course of Flagyl, an antibiotic that can kill C. difficile, to help your child get back to normal. Never be afraid to do your own research and ask questions about your child’s treatment. Generally speaking, a real doctor’s advice is usually better than generic advice found on the internet. In some cases, however, parents may spend a lot of time researching their child’s condition, and their child’s doctor may not have seen many cases of a particular illness. Find out all that you can about your child’s C. diff infection, and don’t hesitate to ask a doctor about anything that doesn’t seem right.
One round of antibiotics will often kill off the C. difficile and get many kids healthy again. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all children with C. diff. At this point, some doctors will try another round of antibiotics, and some will refer you to a pediatric gastroenterologist for further treatment. If your doctor doesn’t refer you to someone else, and you would like for your child to see a specialist, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral.
A pediatric gastroenterologist will probably have a lot more experience dealing with C. difficile than your family doctor. Choose a doctor who is kind and patient, because some of the tests your child might have to endure may not be pleasant. Never be afraid to question your doctor’s past experience dealing with C. difficile. In the unfortunate event that your child has to battle C. diff for a good while, you want to make sure that the doctor you have chosen is available to see your child, or have someone else see them, fairly quickly. You may also need to contact someone after hours, so consider the doctor’s policy on taking calls at night and on weekends.
If your child has been diagnosed with C. difficile, there is a good chance that it will be resolved fairly quickly by your current doctor. If your child is dealing with difficult C. diff infection, however, you may need to do some research and find the right doctor for the job.
To read more about my young son’s battle with C. difficile, click here. For more information about probiotics to use for a C. diff infection, click here.