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Steatorrhea – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Human feces typically contain water, dead cells, fibre, mucus, salts, protein, fats, cell lining and other waste that is unable to excrete out of your body. Steatorrhea is a medical condition where there is more amount of fat in the stool. This article will give you insights regarding the Steatorrhea causes, Steatorrhea symptoms, and treatments.

Steatorrhea Meaning

Steatorrhea can be an indication of malabsorption. This implies that the nutrients are not absorbed by your body or your body is not secreting enzymes to digest the food effectively. Fat in the stool can cause floating, and cumbersome stools with an oily appearance. The fat in the feces is was not absorbed by the digestive tract.

Steatorrhea may result from intestinal infections or dietary changes. Consistent Steatorrhea condition may result from biliary tract, intestine or pancreatic diseases. A specialist should examine people with this medical condition and suggest suitable Steatorrhea treatment for its cause.

Steatorrhea Symptoms

Mild or temporary steatorrhea can be usually identified with foul-smelling stool, a stool that usually floats, and is difficult to flush away. The color of the stool is generally pale, like orange, yellow, green and light brown. If a person notices bulky and loose stools with a noticeable amount of fat and oil separation, then he is experiencing a medical condition called Steatorrhea. However, this is a common symptom, but a person has to look for other Steatorrhea symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Indigestion
  • Weight loss
  • Cramps
  • Floating Stool
  • Heartburn

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In case if steatorrhea is persistent, it is called as chronic steatorrhea which could result in severe malnutrition and dehydration. Symptoms associated with chronic steatorrhea are:

  • Muscle weakness and pain
  • Bulky, fat-filled and foul-smelling stool
  • Anemia
  • Chronic exhaustion

What causes steatorrhea?

Absorption of fat depends on bile – an enzyme secreted in the liver and passed to the gallbladder. Pancreatic lipase is an enzyme which is responsible for breaking down fat. The absence of these two enzymes results in malabsorption. Lack of bile is due to the blockage of the biliary tract and usually results in jaundice pale colored fatty stools.

The absence of pancreatic lipases is a rare medical condition, yet can happen because of pancreatic disease, cystic fibrosis, or due to an anomaly from birth. The inadequate absorption of the food results in steatorrhea. The most common cause of this malabsorption is due to cystic fibrosis – an inherited medical condition that affects mucus and sweat glands.

Some other common causes for steatorrhea are:

  • Lactose intolerance: The digestive tract doesn’t digest the sugar in the milk due to the absence of lactase enzyme

  • Biliary atresia: Biliary atresia is a condition that occurs when there is a blockage in the bile duct and is unable to move the enzymes from the liver to the gallbladder.

  • Crohn’s disease: This is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and termed as label inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

  • Celiac disease: A sensitivity and difficulty in digesting gluten – a kind of protein found in wheat and other grains.

  • Whipple disease: This is a kind of bacterial infection that affects the digestive system and its functioning of breaking down the nutrients and fats.

Also, read about: Diet for Crohn’s Disease

Steatorrhea Treatment

The treatment for steatorrhea relies upon the causes and seriousness of symptoms. Mellow instances of steatorrhea can be effectively treated at home with basic remedies and care. Treating steatorrhea is more about treating the basic cause of this condition. Since malabsorption can have numerous reasons, it will be essential to get a proper diagnosis.

Steatorrhea caused due to your diet, the treatment is generally simple, and you need to stay away from the foods that trigger the symptoms. For instance, if you are suffering from lactose intolerance, you need to avoid having milk products or can have it lesser quantities. One suffering from Steatorrhea should change their diet, quit smoking, and remain hydrated.

Home Remedies For Preventing Steatorrhea

Here are some of the home remedies for preventing steatorrhea:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Reduce fibre and fat intake
  • Reduce the amount of potassium oxalate intake

Take away

There are various causes for this condition, however, steatorrhea treatment is simple dietary control. Start consuming food that contains tea fat-soluble vitamins and increases the intake of foods rich in vitamins A, D, E and K. Additionally, increasing the intake of folic acid, vitamin B-12, magnesium, iron, and calcium will have a better outcome.

Also, read about: 5 Major Causes of Indigestion.

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