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Food malabsorption occurs when digestion is unable to absorb food nutrients. This condition generally occurs due to digestive disorders
Digestive disorders that affect only one type of nutrition are easier to deal with, such as lactose intolerance where the body cannot accept lactose. However, if this digestive disorder affects the intestines and develops more seriously, it can result in a lack of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the body.
Recognizing the Cause
Many things cause food malabsorption. One of them is a change in the bacteria that are usually found in the digestive tract, which can be affected by an infection or certain treatment measures. Carefully taking antibiotics can at least help prevent this. This is because prolonged use of antibiotics can make it difficult for the intestines to absorb nutrients.
Beware of certain medications, such as colchicine. These drugs can injure the intestines so that the work of the intestines in absorbing food is disrupted.
Some types of diseases can also cause food malabsorption. Examples include cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, HIV and intestinal worms. Likewise, diseases of the gallbladder, pancreas, and liver can cause food malabsorption.
Surgery can also be one of the causes of food malabsorption.For example, removal of the gallbladder and cutting the intestines. This is because this action can change the length of the intestinal tract, becoming shorter. In addition, swollen or infected intestines make it difficult for the intestines to absorb nutrients from food.
You may have heard of biliary atresia. This disease is a congenital disease that has occurred when the baby is born, which is a condition in which the gallbladder duct does not develop normally. This condition can also affect the occurrence of food malabsorption.
Sometimes this food malabsorption is caused by the body's own condition. It is possible that the digestive organs are unable to mix food with the acids and enzymes that have been produced. Or, even the digestive organs are unable to produce the enzymes needed to digest food.
Appropriate Measures for Food Malabsorption
To ensure the body is experiencing food malabsorption, careful examination is needed.One of the signs of food malabsorption is weight loss, although it is not always absolute as a sign of digestion not being able to work optimally. Generally, food malabsorption is accompanied by other symptoms, such as bloating and abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, strong-smelling stools, and feeling weak.
Food malabsorption cannot be tolerated. If it occurs in adults it can cause weight loss, while in children it can have a greater risk. In addition to losing weight, children's growth and development can also be hampered.
Food malabsorption must be addressed immediately. The doctor may carry out a thorough examination, to assess the nutritional status of the patient with food malabsorption, as well as to determine the cause.
There are two ways to handle this condition, namely:
- Fulfillment of nutritional needs
Restoring the balance of nutritional levels, by providing intake that contains protein and replacement calories. The needs of vitamins, and minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium are fulfilled as much as possible.
- Disease treatment
Treatment of food malabsorption caused by certain diseases, adjusted to the illness. For example, people with lactose intolerance should avoid foods containing lactose. Administration of digestive enzymes such as proteases and lipases may be given to patients with impaired pancreatic function. The provision of other drugs such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory corticosteroids, can be given with full consideration by the doctor, according to the condition and needs of the patient from the results of a careful examination.
If you experience any symptoms of food malabsorption, don't try to treat it yourself. To determine the cause and treatment of food malabsorption should be done in consultation with a doctor.