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- Malabsorption refers to all aspects of the impairment of food digestion which mainly occurs in the small intestine.
- Proper function of the pancreas, bile ducts, liver and the lining cells of the small intestines are necessary for the foods that we eat to be broken down into the constituents that can be absorbed from the intestine into the blood stream.
- Probably the most frequent form of malabsorption is of sugars (usually lactose or milk sugar). This type of malabsorption may cause symptoms of gas, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
- Fat malabsorption is more serious. Indications of fat malabsorption condition include large volume stool and weight loss. Fat globules in the stool may be evident with microscopic examination. Fat malabsorption requires evaluation of the pancreas, bile ducts and small intestine.
- Some people may suffer with iron deficiency anemia as a result of iron malabsorption by the small intestine. Frequently this is caused by celiac disease.
Malabsorption means the body is not properly absorbing nutrients from foods. It leads to malnutrition because the body does not receive the nutrients (vitamins, minerals, proteins, sugars, fats, etc) that it requires.
Most of these nutrients are absorbed through the small intestine.
Malnutrition can result when:
- a person does not enough food or calories;
- when a person eats enough food but cannot absorb the nutrients; or
- when a person eats enough food or calories, but foods that contain little nutrients (such as candy).
Some causes of Malabsorption include:
- Acutely abnormal intestinal lining due to an acute intestinal infection, use of antibiotics, particularly Neomycin, and alcohol.
- Chronically abnormal intestinal lining present in Crohn's Disease and Celiac Disease.
- Improper intestinal environment due to bacterial overgrowth or parasites in the digestive tract
- Inadequate gastric mixing as a result of fistula in the gastric environment, and gastroenterostomy.
- Short bowel as a result of intestinal resection.
- Impaired transport of enzymes.
Symptoms of malabsorption may include one or more of the following:
- Weight loss
- Skin changes
- Abdominal pain
- Foul smelling stools
- Oily stools
- Undigested food in stools
Great Smokies comprehensive home stool test can give you more insight into your digestive function and gut microbial ecology.
The test offers a non-invasive differential diagnosis between Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), expanded bacteria, yeast and parasite detection, a reliable assessment of exocrine pancreatic function, and a noninvasive risk assessment for colorectal cancer.
If bacteria, yeast or parasites are detected, they are grown out to establish which natural products will inhibit their growth.