Last year when my daughter Morgan developed vitiligo I discussed it with her pediatrician and we were referred to see a dermatologist. The main sign of vitiligo is color (pigment) loss that produces light or white patches on your skin. Usually, the discoloration first shows on sun-exposed areas, such as the hands, feet, arms, face and lips. The doctor was fairly nonchalant about the condition and prescribed a topical cream and to return in 6 weeks. That cream and time seeing that doctor was a complete waste of time, energy and money. In fact, after those 6 weeks it seemed like the white spots turned into patches and just gradually got bigger and bigger. What was even more frustrating was that I learned more about vitiligo from google than I did from either doctor.
Since then we’ve switched pediatricians and our new one feels pretty confident that will get some answers and possibly slow the progression of her vitiligo after seeing a new pediatric dermatologist. Right now her hands, elbows, feet and knees are almost completely white and the areas around her eyes and corners of her mouth. This time around I’m better prepared on questions to ask and wanted to share how we’re preparing for this visit.
Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor anything about your condition. Some basic questions to consider include:
- What are other possible causes?
- Can I do anything to help, such as avoid the sun at certain times or wear a specific sunscreen?
- What side effects can I expect if I receive treatment?
Your doctor is likely to ask you a few questions, such as:
- When did you begin to notice light patches on your skin?
- Do you sunburn easily or have more skin rashes than before?
- Are you sensitive to sun?
- Does anyone in your family have vitiligo, a thyroid condition or an autoimmune disease?
I’m much better prepared and informed for this visit than I was before. My main concern is for the health of my daughter and to make sure she continues to love the skin she’s in and feels beautiful which she definitely is!