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- Lactose intolerance
- Celiac disease
- Intestinal parasites
- AIDs, cancer, or treatment for those diseases
- Whipple’s disease or other bacterial infections
- Crohn's disease
- Inadequate digestion due to:
- Medical conditions affecting the intestine, such as celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, or Crohn's disease
- Use of laxatives
- Excessive use of antibiotics
- Intestinal surgery
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Travel to countries with high incidence of intestinal parasites
- Weight loss
- Abdominal distention and bloating
- Bulky, foul-smelling stools
- Weakness and fatigue
- Swelling or fluid retention
- Muscle wasting
- Blood draw—This tests for low levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
- X-rays (with contrast material)—The small bowel and pancreas are examined.
- Small bowel biopsy —A sample of tissue is taken in the small intestine and examined under a microscope.
- A 72-hour stool collection—For this test, you are given a high fat diet, and your stools are collected for 1-3 days and tested for excess fat.
- Pancreatic function test—For this test, you are given a dose of a chemical called bentiromide, which is normally broken down into another chemical called PABA by the pancreas. PABA then gets absorbed and makes its way into the urine; a urine test showing low levels of PABA suggests a problem with the pancreas.
- D-Xylose absorption test—For this test, you are given a sugary solution called D-xylose to drink, after which samples of your blood and urine are collected over several hours; low xylose levels indicate an abnormality in intestinal absorption.
- Hydrogen breath test—This test measures how well lactose is being digested.
- Minimize use of certain medicines, such as antibiotics, that can adversely affect the function of the intestines.
- Do not drink too much alcohol.
- When traveling to foreign countries with questionable water supply, consume only bottled water, eat only cooked foods, and avoid fresh salads or other washed produce.
- Limit or avoid use of laxatives.
American College of Gastroenterology http://www.acg.gi.org/
National Organization for Rare Disorders http://www.rarediseases.org/
BC Health Guide http://www.bchealthguide.org/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html
Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S. Krause’s Food Nutrition and Diet Therapy . Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 1996.
Malabsorption tests. Medical University of South Carolina website. Available at: http://www.ddc.musc.edu/ddc%5Fpub/patientInfo/tests-treatments/diagnostic/functionStudies.html . Accessed August 17, 2005.
Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary . 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis Company; 1997.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 10/2012 -
- Update Date: 10/31/2012 -