Español
Texas Health Alliance serves the communities of North Fort Worth, Keller, Haslet and surrounding areas.
PrintEmail
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
In This Section Texas Health Alliance

Health Info


Digestive system
Digestive system


Cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis


Digestive system organs
Digestive system organs


Malabsorption

Definition:

Malabsorption is difficulty absorbing nutrients from food.



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Many diseases can cause malabsorption. Malabsorption is usually the inability to absorb certain sugars, fats, proteins, or vitamins from food. It can also involve a general malabsorption of food.

Some of the causes of malabsorption include:

Vitamin B12 malabsorption may be due to:



Symptoms:
  • Bloating, cramping, and gas
  • Bulky stools
  • Chronic diarrhea (may not occur with vitamin malabsorption)
  • Failure to thrive
  • Fatty stools (steatorrhea)
  • Muscle wasting
  • Weight loss

Malabsorption can affect growth and development, or it can lead to specific illnesses.



Signs and tests: Your doctor or nurse will examine you. Tests that may be done may include:

Treatment:

Vitamin and nutrient replacement is often necessary.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

The outlook depends on the condition causing malabsorption.



Complications:

Long-term malabsorption can result in:



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you notice symptoms of malabsorption.



Prevention:

Preventive methods depend on the condition causing malabsorption.



References:

Semrad CE. Approach to the patient with diarrhea and malabsorption. In Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 142.

Hogenauer C, Hammer HF. Maldigestion and malabsorption. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 101.




Review Date: 8/10/2012
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Online Tools

Locations

Helpful Info

Links