Impaired absorption of nutrients by the lining of the small intestine. Malabsorption may be caused by many conditions, including lactase deficiency, cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, amyloidosis, giardiasis, Whipple’s disease, and lymphoma. The removal of some of the small intestine, and certain operations on the stomach, may also result in malabsorption. Common symptoms are diarrhoea and weight loss; and in severe cases, there may also be malnutrition (see nutritional disorders), vitamin deficiency, mineral deficiency, or anaemia. Diagnosis may be made by tests on faeces, blood tests, barium X-ray examination and jejunal biopsy. In most cases, dietary modifications or supplements are successful in treating the disorder. In severe cases, intravenous infusion of nutrients is needed (see feeding, artificial).


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