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As parents, you’ll do whatever you can to help your child feel their best. If your child has a chronic health concern, a consultation with a functional medicine practitioner may help you find answers to what is causing your child’s disease or illness. 

What is functional medicine? 

One disease can have many causes, and one cause can manifest as multiple diseases, depending on the individual who is experiencing it. Functional medicine practitioners work to identify the specific underlying cause of disease for each individual patient using a systems-based approach that addresses how and why an illness has developed and focuses on identifying the root cause of a patient’s condition in order to restore health.  

Functional medicine evaluates not only symptoms, but also genetics and modifiable environmental and lifestyle factors together, rather than separately, to identify where dysfunction has started. Once a provider knows what is causing the dysfunction, they can develop a plan to restore function and create health. Patients work closely with their provider to create a personalized treatment plan to help them achieve their health goals. This may include dietary changes, conventional medical therapies, nutraceuticals and other lifestyle modifications. 

How can functional medicine help pediatric patients? 

Children and adolescents who experience chronic health issues may benefit from functional medicine, as a functional medicine provider works to understand the underlying cause of the illness. Doctors who practice functional medicine have expanded their toolbox to include additional treatment options for chronic illnesses and can create a highly personalized treatment plan based on the child’s genetics, environment and lifestyle. 

Visits with a functional medicine provider are often longer than a conventional office visit, as the provider will take time to learn about the child’s medical history, family history, diet and lifestyle. Functional medicine providers gather as many details as possible about their patients to uncover the root cause of the illness. They then use a combination of conventional and functional medicine therapies, which could include medication, supplements, nutrition, exercise and more. Families interested in consulting with a functional medicine practitioner should know that functional medicine treatment plans often include many lifestyle and nutrition changes. Working hand-in-hand with the provider, these treatment options do require dedication, but can lead to long-term health. 

If you are interested in discussing if functional medicine is right for you and your child, our Prevea Rice Lake Health Center offers free, 15-minute “Meet the Provider” visits. Schedule your visit by calling (715) 719-0662