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Pediatrics/Reactive lymph node


Dear Dr. Olsen,
You have helped with your advice before - and I want to thank you for being there to help educate and advise us parents on various subjects.  You are a Godsend!!!
I have a 12 year old daughter who doesn't have any medical problems other than the fact that she is following a gluten free diet.  She was very sick for over a year.  Long story short:  we took her to a pediatric gastroenterologist who didn't biopsy low enough to tell if she has celiac or not.  He diagnosed her instead with acid reflux and put her on antacids with no improvement.  I began trouble shooting with her diet and found that when I eliminated gluten; she was 100% within two days.  We do not wish to subject her to another evaluation at this time and she is doing well.
About 4 weeks ago, she told me she had a "pimple" in her groin area.  I took her to the doctor who said it was a reactive lymph node.  He put her on an antibiotic and within about 2 weeks it was gone.  Now it seems to be returning.  She did have a cold since the treatment of this lymph node; but nothing serious.  What do you think could be causing this seemingly recurrent reactivity and what should I do as far as possibly having things checked with her?  I don't know if this is common or if it could indicate a problem somewhere.
Thank you for your time and advice.
Sincerely, Maria Sebastian

Hi, Maria,

Sounds like you have the gluten thing handled, but it would be really nice to know precisely whether or not she has celiac disease.  The new celiac protocols use a cascade of blood tests and the Europeans now do not biopsy everyone to confirm the diagnosis.  The reason it is important to know this for sure is that we follow kids with known celiac disease differently.
Just my two cents on this.

Reactive nodes react to something else, and most in the groin are a reaction to cuts, scrapes and infections in the legs.  The fact an antibiotic was used to me means the doctor didn't really feel the node was reacting to something else but infected itself.  The fact it went away in two weeks really doesn't mean much.  

If she has no cuts, sores, or infected scrapes on her leg on that side, then a careful exam for other nodes needs to be made and a decision made as to whether this node should again be treated with an antibiotic or should be excised and examined.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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