Malabsorption is when the body is not able to get the nutrients it needs from food. Although food is digested, the body has trouble absorbing certain vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. The condition
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Malabsorption is associated with a number of diseases that affect the intestines or other areas of the gastrointestinal tract such as:
Factors that may increase your chance of having malabsorption include:
Malabsorption may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
The specific underlying condition must be treated in order to reverse the malabsorption.
Depending on the cause and severity of the malabsorption, you may need to make up for nutritional deficiencies by consuming additional nutrients through foods or supplements. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals along with increased quantities of fat, protein, or carbohydrate may be required. Nutrient supplementation may include folate, iron, and vitamin B12. In some cases, nutrients may be given intravenously.
Conditions that cause malabsorption need to be managed. Work with your doctor and follow the recommended treatment plan to decrease malabsorption complications.
American College of Gastroenterology
National Organization for Rare Disorders
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Last reviewed July 2013 by Daus Mahnke, MD; Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2013