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Your small intestine does most of the digesting of the foods you eat. If you have a malabsorption syndrome, your small intestine cannot absorb nutrients from foods.

Causes of malabsorption syndromes include

  • Celiac disease
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Short bowel syndrome. This happens after surgery to remove half or more of the small intestine. You might need the surgery if you have a problem with the small intestine from a disease, injury, or birth defect.
  • Whipple disease, a rare bacterial infection
  • Genetic diseases
  • Certain medicines

Symptoms of different malabsorption syndromes can vary. They often include chronic diarrhea, abnormal stools, weight loss, and gas. Your doctor may use lab, imaging, or other tests to make a diagnosis.

Treatment of malabsorption syndromes depends on the cause.

Symptoms of Malabsorption Syndromes

The following features are indicative of Malabsorption Syndromes:
  • chronic diarrhea
  • abnormal stools
  • weight loss
  • gas

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Common Causes of Malabsorption Syndromes

The following are the most common causes of Malabsorption Syndromes:
  • celiac disease
  • lactose intolerance
  • short bowel syndrome
  • whipple disease
  • genetic diseases

Risk Factors for Malabsorption Syndromes

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Malabsorption Syndromes:
  • gastric surgery for obesity or ulcers
  • structural defect in the small intestine
  • injury to the small intestine
  • abnormal passageway between two segments of bowel
  • Crohn's disease
  • history of radiation therapy to the abdomen
  • diabetes
  • diverticulosis of the small intestine

Prevention of Malabsorption Syndromes

No, it is not possible to prevent Malabsorption Syndromes.
  • genetic factors

Occurrence of Malabsorption Syndromes

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Malabsorption Syndromes cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Malabsorption Syndromes can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Malabsorption Syndromes can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Malabsorption Syndromes

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Malabsorption Syndromes:
  • Barium X-ray of the small intestine: To diagnose diverticulosis, a blind loop, and a narrowing of the intestine
  • CT enterography: To diagnose inflammation or structural problems in the bowel
  • Blood tests: To diagnose anemia
  • Quantitative fecal fat test: To find out how well the small intestine absorbs fat

Doctor for Diagnosis of Malabsorption Syndromes

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Malabsorption Syndromes:
  • Gastroenterologist

Complications of Malabsorption Syndromes if untreated

Yes, Malabsorption Syndromes causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Malabsorption Syndromes is left untreated:
  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • damage to the intestinal lining
  • osteoporosis

Procedures for Treatment of Malabsorption Syndromes

The following procedures are used to treat Malabsorption Syndromes:
  • no known procedures

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Malabsorption Syndromes

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Malabsorption Syndromes:
  • Consume nutritional supplements: Take supplements with high levels of vitamins C and E, copper and zinc

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Malabsorption Syndromes.

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