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Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Malabsorption Syndrome

Malabsorption Syndrome

Condition Basics

What is malabsorption syndrome?

Malabsorption syndrome is the inability to absorb nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream.

What causes it?

Causes of malabsorption syndrome may include:

  • Diseases affecting the intestine itself, such as celiac disease.
  • Absence or low levels of certain digestive enzymes.
  • Diseases of the pancreas, such as chronic pancreatitis or cystic fibrosis.
  • Diseases caused by parasites, such as giardiasis or worms.
  • Changes in the bacteria normally found in the intestinal tract.
  • Surgery, such as removal of the gallbladder, that alters or reduces the length of the intestinal tract.
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of malabsorption syndrome may include:

  • Gas, bloating, and vague abdominal discomfort.
  • Frequent diarrhea and foul-smelling stools.
  • Weakness.
  • Weight loss.

Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms to determine the cause and recommend treatment.

How is malabsorption syndrome treated?

Treatment for malabsorption syndrome may include a special diet, medicine to replace intestinal enzymes or reduce spasms, and vitamin or mineral supplements, such as B12 and iron.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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Related Links

Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI) Series D-Xylose Absorption Test Diarrhea, Age 12 and Older Giardiasis

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