Malabsorption syndrome - causes and symptoms

Malabsorption syndrome - causes and symptoms

Malabsorption - inadequate absorption of NUTRIENTS into the BLOOD circulation from the SMALL INTESTINE during digestion, also called malabsorption syndrome. Malabsorption may result from damage to the small intestine that restricts the surface area of the intestinal mucosa (lining) or may develop as a consequence of digestive enzyme deficiencies. CELIAC DISEASE, LACTOSE INTOLERANCE, CYSTIC FIBROSIS, GASTROENTERITIS, and INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE (IBD) are among the more common causes of malabsorption. Conditions affecting the PANCREAS, LIVER, and GALLBLADDER can result in secondary malabsorption. Untreated malabsorption characteristically causes NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES and MALNUTRITION.

Symptoms of Malabsorption and Diagnostic Path

The diagnostic path may include stool analysis, blood tests, and URINALYSIS. The gastroenterologist may perform an ENDOSCOPY with biopsy when preliminary test findings are inconclusive. Treatment, which often includes a combination of dietary and medical management methods, targets any underlying condition. Secondary malabsorption generally goes away when the underlying condition improves. Severe malabsorption with malnutrition requires PARENTERAL NUTRITION (intravenous solutions) to replenish the body’s nutrients. Malabsorption related to enzyme deficiencies often resolves with dietary changes alone.

See also BORBORYGMUS; DIET AND HEALTH; DIGESTIVE ENZYMES; NUTRITIONAL NEEDS; PANCREATITIS; SHORT BOWEL SYNDROME; SMALL BOWEL TRANSPLANTATION; STEATORRHEA; WHIPPLE’S DISEASE.

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The Gastrointestinal System

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