How is malabsorption treated?

Treatment for malabsorption begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. He or she will evaluate you or your child for signs and symptoms of malnourishment and attempt to identify the cause. It may be that the diet does not provide enough nutrient-rich foods or that there are digestive issues that prevent absorption of nutrients.

Hospitalization may be required to provide intravenous fluids and nutrients. Treatment will depend on the specific cause of malabsorption, such as antibiotics if it is caused by infection.

Treatment for malabsorption

Treatment for malabsorption includes the following:

  • Hospitalization to replenish fluids and nutrients
  • Treatment of the cause of malabsorption

What are the potential complications of malabsorption?

Left untreated, the complications of malabsorption can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize the risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for your child. Complications of malabsorption include:


  1. Malabsorption. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  2. Malabsorption. Healthy Children.
  3. Hogenauer C, Hammer H. Maldigestion and Malabsorption. In: Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 9th ed, Feldman M, Friedman L, Brandt L (Eds). Philadelphia: Saunders, 2010. p.1735-1768.

What is malabsorption?

Malabsorption occurs when nutrients are not properly extracted and absorbed from food during the digestive process. This can result in a deficiency of vitamins, proteins, minerals, carbohydrates, and other nutrients that are important for growth and regulation of body systems.

Typically, during digestion, nutrients are extracted from food and absorbed by the small intestine. These... Read more about malabsorptionintroduction


What are the symptoms of malabsorption?

Symptoms of malabsorption not only affect the gastrointestinal system, but also the growth and development of your child. The depletion of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients can increase susceptibility to illnesses and disease, as well.

Gastrointestinal symptoms of malabsorption

The following gastrointestinal symptoms often occur in malabsorption:
Read more about malabsorptionsymptoms


What causes malabsorption?

A number of conditions are thought to cause malabsorption, although the exact cause is not known.

Common causes of malabsorption

Some of the causes of malabsorption include:

  • Biliary atresia (blockage of the ducts that transport bile from the liver to the gallbladder)
  • Bowel resection (partial removal for disease)
  • Cancers... Read more about malabsorptioncauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Food, Nutrition and Diet