Naturopathic Medicine And Your Child’s Health

We thought we’d take a minute to explain how naturopathic medicine can play a role in your team of healthcare providers for your children. Dr. Hillary Dinning explains:

Well-child checks: Well-child checks for newborns right through to 18 years old! This includes a complete physical exam, talking through chief concerns, as well as going through an overview of all systems and lifestyle factors. It’s a great way to address concerns yet also for the prevention of future illness.

These often start at days old or weeks old. In the early days, these can be an opportunity to ask a lot of ‘first-time parent’ questions on sleep, feeding, and development, and review their different body systems – digestion, signs of their immune system, and skin – to name a few.

Once I’ve seen individuals, oftentimes, I’ll be a part of your ‘acute care team.’ What I mean by this is when babes/toddlers go through sicknesses, I’m available to get on a quick phone call and review symptoms. My answers can be as simple as ‘head to the emergency,’ ‘meet me at the clinic to do a physical,’ or as complex as ‘continue to monitor and call me back in 2 hours/ 6 hours/ in the morning.’ The more education parents have around acute illness, the better equipped they are to support our children!

Later years well-child checks can look very different than talking about diaper rash and sleeping. We then move into a lot more emotions, how our bodies change, and again, any medical concerns one may have. Well-child checks in later years allow your children to do most of the talking! Empowering them in their health, knowing their bodies, and how they operate.

Treat acute illnesses: a children’s naturopath can also treat acute illnesses! You can imagine what has walked through my door so far this school year! I’ll assess and treat fevers, ear infections, nasal congestion, throat issues, lung congestion, lethargy due to illnesses, repeated illnesses, and stomach infections!

We also have the ability and knowledge of when to refer to hospital and/or pharmaceutical support. What does this look like? For example, if there are enlarged tonsils, exudate, soreness to swallow, or raised temperature, I would most likely refer to swabs and potentially use antibiotics. Strep infections don’t necessarily walk straight, and due to seeing PANDAs cases in my practice, I think my personal bias is to not mess around with a strep infection. Not only would one potentially use antibiotics there are three different supplements I use to support the body with the intention for the infection not to return!

MOST often than not, treating acute infections can be done with naturopathic modalities. And what I love most is that the various treatment options encourage the body to do its healing which is so beneficial for the development versus suppressing symptoms.

An example of this is to encourage a fever (within reason…see my post on fevers in September) to do its job in order for the body to learn an infection well and build the immune system. Versus suppressing it.

Lingering concerns: ‘My tummy hurts’ or ‘my skin is itchy’ (with rashes), or ‘my child keeps getting sick’ – these are all reasons to see us! We are here to dive a little deeper into medical concerns, rule out red flags, and support the body to clear the lingerers!

I often see digestion issues in kiddos. There are quite a few avenues to explore aside from having stomaches be their ‘normal.’ These include lingering infections such as parasites, food sensitivities post antibiotics or from early days, and nervous system and anxiety issues, amongst many others.

It’s similar to skin issues. If routes of elimination are not working properly then things come out through the skin. So throughout an intake form, I’m evaluating which route is not working optimally and support/treating in order to clear the issue

Lastly – just as much as acute illnesses walk through my door, so do issues such as ‘my child is always sick’ or ‘when my child gets sick, it always lingers.’ There can be multiple avenues to explore this picture as well. Most of the immune system sits in our digestive tract, so we want to optimize the function of this route of elimination. We also look into teaching the body about infections and boosting its immunity versus suppressing symptoms.

Conditions: Lastly – an area that is growing and I run into often are behavioural issues, autism spectrum disorder, and ADHD. Chronic conditions like genetic differences also walk in here sometimes. I love this area of care so much as I feel like there is an incredible support to be had and shared through naturopathic medicine. These are areas where often its a team approach, and a naturopath can be part of that! We look for the root cause, support development in the system, and look for your little ones (and big ones) to thrive!

Human behaviour fascinates me so much. Naturopathic medicine allows us to look at how our physical, mental and emotional health affects our physical and emotional behaviours. Testing that we can run can look at bloodwork, understand what nutrients are deficient in the body’s tissues, see what routes of elimination are not working efficiently (or are!), what our microbiome looks like and how this affects our brain health, as well as how our genes play a role in how we show up in this world!

Treatment can look like clearing toxins from the body, supporting the gut with foods and supplements, giving the body nutrients to produce optimal levels of neurotransmitters, supplementing with co-factors to support enzymes in the body that are lacking that affect our genes and more!

Treatment is first and foremost for my patient/child, yet we can offer so much support for the family/parents as well.

Dr. Hillary Dinning

Dr. Hillary Dinning

Dr. Hillary Dinning is a Pediatric Naturopathic Doctor at Marda Loop Naturopathic and Wellness Clinic in Calgary, Alberta. 📅 Book Your Appointment With Dr. Dinning 📞Call Us

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