The small intestine’s main job is to absorb the essential nutrients and fluids you eat in a day. Malabsorption is a disorder in which the small intestine is unable to absorb nutrients from your diet.
The small intestine’s main job is to absorb the essential nutrients and fluids you eat in a day. Malabsorption is a disorder in which the small intestine is unable to absorb nutrients such as proteins, fats, minerals, etc. from your diet. Your body becomes unable to reap the benefits of the foods you eat. It is difficult for the small intestine to absorb certain kinds of macronutrients including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
What Causes Malabsorption Syndrome?
There are multiple causes of malabsorption syndrome, including:
- Damaged intestines
- Gallbladder or liver diseases
- Medication that may injure the small intestine
- Parasitic disease
- Prolonged use of antibiotics
- Health problems such as Crohn’s disease, chronic pancreatitis, celiac disease, etc.
- Lactose Intolerance
- Gastric or weight-loss surgery
- Short bowel syndrome
Symptoms of Malabsorption Syndrome
Symptoms of a malabsorption syndrome may vary according to the severity of the cause of the disease. Some common symptoms of malabsorption syndrome include:
- Frequent Diarrhoea
- Sore tongue
- Stomach cramping
- Pain in the bones
- Anaemia (Iron-deficiency)
- Weight loss
- Scaly skin rashes
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If your doctor suspects that you are suffering from malabsorption syndrome, he or she will examine your symptoms and draw a conclusion based on that. Based on the symptoms, your doctor will run several tests to find the exact cause.
Sweat test: Sweat is collected from the body to check for cystic fibrosis.
Lactose hydrogen breath test: high levels of hydrogen indicate lactose intolerance.
Stool test: if there is too much fat in your stool, chances are you have malabsorption.
Biopsy of the small intestine: a small tissue of the small intestine is taken to check for infections.
Endoscopy: the lining of the small intestine is checked for infection or inflammation.
Blood tests: blood samples are taken to check for anaemia or other nutritional deficiencies.
Prevention of Malabsorption
Doctors will prescribe medication according to your symptoms, but a little effort from your side is also important to reduce the symptoms and avoid the progression of the disease in the future.
- Don’t ignore infections, they could be an underlying cause of the disease.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol. It can lead to malabsorption and various other health conditions.
- Don’t drink tap water in places with questionable water supply.
- Eat only fresh foods when outside. Avoid eating packed foods.
- Limit the use of antibiotics as they can have an extremely harmful effect on your intestines. Use natural antibiotics instead.
- A high-fiber diet will help boost digestion, which gives your body more time to process and absorb key nutrients. This reduces the risk of developing malabsorption.
- Avoid using laxatives
Too much stress affects the digestive system by blocking proper digestion from happening. To avoid malabsorption or other digestive problems, it is important to alleviate stress. Do some de-stressing exercises such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises.
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