May also be called: Malabsorption; Malabsorption Syndrome
Intestinal malabsorption (mal-ab-ZORP-shun) is difficulty absorbing nutrients from
food in the intestines.
More to Know
In the stomach, food is processed into a thick liquid called chyme. Chyme is then
squirted down into the small intestine, where digestion
of food continues so the body can absorb nutrients into the bloodstream.
When someone has intestinal malabsorption, something causes the small intestine
to have trouble absorbing nutrients, especially sugars, fats, proteins, and vitamins.
When this happens, the nutrients are passed out of the body in the stool (poop). This
can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea,
weight loss, flatulence, bulky stools that smell bad, weakness, fatigue, and muscle
Intestinal malabsorption is a common symptom of a number of diseases and conditions,
including infections like traveler's diarrhea, lactose intolerance, Celiac
disease, inflammatory bowel disease,
endocrine disorders, cystic fibrosis, certain medications, and surgeries or treatments
for conditions of the digestive tract. Treatment for intestinal malabsorption depends
upon which condition is causing it.
Keep in Mind
In many cases, intestinal malabsorption happens after a stomach flu or intestinal
flu. In those cases, it usually clears up within a couple of days and is no cause
for concern. Longer-lasting cases should be examined by a doctor to determine the
cause and the best course of treatment.
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