Malabsorption syndrome is a group of condition where the small intestine is unable to absorb enough nutrients into the bloodstream from the food that you eat. It causes excessive defecation, nutritional deficiency, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Malabsorption syndrome is a group of condition where the small intestine is unable to absorb enough nutrients into the bloodstream from the food that you eat. The nutrients that the small intestine has problem absorbing are macronutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, or micronutrients like vitamins and minerals or both. Malabsorption can be total, where absorption of all nutrients is impaired, or partial, where only specific nutrients are not absorbed. It causes excessive defecation, nutritional deficiency, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Digestion involves mechanical process and enzymatic hydrolysis to break down the food. The mechanical process includes chewing, churning and to and fro mixing of the food in the stomach and small intestine. Enzymatic hydrolysis is achieved by gastric, pancreatic, and biliary secretions. The final products of digestion are then absorbed by the epithelial cells of the small intestine. Any alteration or pathological interference in the above stages causes malabsorption, as it disturbs the typical sequence of digestion, absorption, and transport of nutrients.
The main cause of is some defect or damage to the mucosal lining of the small intestine. It can broadly be classified into premucosal, mucosal, and postmucosal malabsorption.
The small intestine can also get damaged by the following:
Once the lining gets damaged, the nutrients are not absorbed and they pass through your stool.
The symptoms depend on the nutrient that is not being absorbed into the body. The other symptoms are as a result of that specific nutrient deficiency. The general symptoms are
The risk factors include:
If you are suffering from persistent diarrhea or deficiency even after consuming a healthy diet, your doctor will perform specific tests to diagnose your condition. They will also look for the diseases that might cause impaired absorption. These tests include:
The treatment depends on the cause.
If you or your child have any of the sign or symptom of malabsorption, like diarrhea from a long time, it is best you consult your physician and get tested right away. Lack of essential nutrients will prevent healthy growth and development of your child. The earlier you recognize the signs and get treated, the less will be the permanent damage to your body.
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