Understanding digestion related symptoms and features.

Symptoms may affect multiple parts of the body. Understanding which part of the body a symptom affects, can help us to better understand the potential underlying causes of a symptom, including a rare disease or genetic syndrome.

The digestive system is made up of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus (known as the GI tract). It also includes the liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

Generally, symptoms affecting the GI tract can not be seen with the eye. Although diagnosing a digestive system related symptom may involve different tests and assessments, both subjective and objective.

Symptoms relating to the digestive system may be temporary and the result of an infection. In other cases they may be more permanent, serious and affect the ability of an individual to eat, and digest food. This might in turn affect a person’s growth and development.

What is Malabsorption?

Malabsorption is a difficulty with digesting and absorbing nutrients from food, or the inability to digest and absorb certain foods: proteins, fats, starches, vitamins and minerals. The malabsorption only occurs in the intestines, but can be due to alterations in different parts of the digestive system.

Common causes of malabsorption include cystic fibrosis, lactose intolerance and celiac disease, and can include pancreatitis, biliary atresia, or parasites such as giardia or hookworm, as well as rarer causes such as Whipple’s disease. Symptoms of malabsorption may include bloating, gas, diarrhea, unusual bowel movements, or failure to grow in infants and children.

What should I do next?

In some instances, malabsorption may be one of the features of a rare disease or genetic syndrome. In this case fast, targeted genetic analysis can give you a more accurate diagnosis.

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