What is malabsorption?
Malabsorption is a condition in which a child's body has trouble absorbing nutrients from food. If a child's small intestine can't process certain sugars, fats, proteins or vitamins, it can lead to malnutrition.
What causes malabsorption?
Malabsorption can be caused by disease; intolerance to milk proteins; lactose intolerance; intestinal parasites; or weight loss, stomach, intestinal, or bowel surgeries. Diseases that can lead to malabsorption include:
- Celiac disease
- Certain cancers
- Crohn’s disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Liver disease
- Pernicious anemia
- Short bowel syndrome
What are the symptoms of malabsorption?
Symptoms of malabsorption vary depending on the cause, but most often include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Bloating and gas
- Chronic diarrhea
- Failure to thrive
- Weight loss
How is malabsorption diagnosed?
There are several tests to diagnose malabsorption in children. A doctor will go over your child's medical history and perform a physical exam. Your healthcare provider may also perform one or more of the following tests:
How is malabsorption treated?
The cause of your child's malabsorption will determine the treatment. Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Medications to treat diarrhea, inflammation, and infection
- Treatments for contributing medical conditions
- Vitamin and mineral supplements