Malabsorption Syndrome

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What is Malabsorption Syndrome ?  

A number of disorders in which the ability to absorb certain nutrients such as vitamin B12 and iron, into the bloodstream is difficult. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats and nutrients in the small intestine are not absorbed properly in the small intestine, resulting in various deficiency disorders.

Cause(s) :  
  • Inflammation, disease or injury to the lining of stomach and intestine
  • Body’s failure to produce enzymes required for digestion of some food
The above conditions are caused by factors such as:
  • Antibiotic use
  • Dairy protein allergies
  • Conditions affecting intestine such as celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis
  • Congenital birth defects of the gall bladder, liver or pancreas
  • Radiation therapy causing injury to the mucosal lining of the bowel
  • Food poisoning, parasitic infection of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Bacterial infections such as Whipple’s disease
Symptoms :  Deficiency of certain nutrients cause specific symptoms:
  • Fats deficiency - Foul smelling, light coloured stools that are soft and bulky
  • Deficiency of proteins - Fluid retention, dry hair, hair loss
  • Excessive sugar absorption: Flatulence, explosive diarrhea
  • Vitamin malabsorption: Malnutrition, muscle wasting, anemia, low blood pressure
Diagnosis and Tests :  
  • Laboratory tests
  • Stool analysis
  • Biopsy of intestine
Specialist to consult :  Gastroenterology

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