Megaloblastic Anemia | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is megaloblastic anemia diagnosed?

Your child's doctor may suspect megaloblastic anemia after taking a complete medical history and physical examination of your child. Megaloblastic anemia is diagnosed through a physical exam and other tests, including:

  • complete blood count
  • reticulocyte count
  • blood tests to measure of vitamin B12, methylmalonic acid (MMA) or homocysteine levels
  • blood tests to detect the antibodies toward intrinsic factor or the cells that produce it
  • a bone marrow exam may be necessary if the diagnosis is unclear.

There may be other diagnostic tests that your doctor will discuss with you depending on your child's individual situation. After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then we will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best possible treatment options.

What are the treatment options for megaloblastic anemia?

Megaloblastic anemia treatment typically includes:

  • replacing any nutritional deficiencies through changes in diet 
  • an oral dietary folic acid supplement regimen
  • injections of vitamin B12 once a month
  • possibly addressing the absorption problem in the digestive tract

Of course, your child's team of doctors will help determine the best approach for your child's unique situation, based on a number of factors including:

  • the underlying cause of the megaloblastic anemia
  • your child's age, overall health and medical history
  • the severity of the disease
  • your child's tolerance for certain medications, procedures or therapies
  • how your child's doctors expect the disease to progress
  • your opinion and preferences