Steatorrhea (patient information) – wikidoc

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Vindhya BellamKonda, M.B.B.S [2]

Overview

Steatorrhea is excretion of abnormal quantities of fat with the feces owing to reduced absorption of fat by the intestine.

What are the Symptoms of Steatorrhea?

Mild steatorrhea:

  • Foamy, frothy (or) mucous filled stool
  • foul smelling stool
  • diarrhea
  • Greasy stools that are difficult to flush
  • Abdominal pain, cramping, bloating
  • Heart burn

Severe(or) chronic diarrhea

What Causes Steatorrhea?

Who is at Highest Risk?

Diagnosis

Quantitative analysis of fat in the stool may be helpful in the diagnosis of steatorrhea. The various tests that may be helpful in the diagnosis are acid steatocrit, near-infrared reflectance analysis (NIRA) and sudan III stain.

When to Seek Urgent Medical Care?

Treatment Options

Management of steatorrhea include treatment of underlying etiology, control of diarrhea and correction of nutritional deficiencies.

  • Correcting nutritional deficiencies by supplementing with the following:
  • Antidiarrheals
    • Loperamide
  • Bile acid binding resins
    • Cholestyramine
  • Pancreatic enzyme supplementation
  • Surgical treatment
    • Surgical intervention is usually not recommended for the management of steatorrhea. Surgery is usually reserved for patients with refractory or pre-malignant complications, such as Enteropathy Associated T-cell Lymphoma (EATL) and ulcerative jejunitis (UJ). EATL patients presenting with ulcerative lesions, stenotic lesions, and perforation needs surgical intervention. Surgery also serves as a pre-therapy in order to prevent perforation of the small bowel during chemotherapy in case of EATL. After surgery patients receive immunotherapy, chemotherapy and/or stem cell transplantation.

Where to find Medical Care for Steatorrhea?

Medical care for steatorrhea can be found here.

Prevention

Effective measures for the primary prevention of steatorrhea include smoking cessation, alcohol cessation, minimizing the use of certain medications, such as antibiotics, that can alter normal bowel flora, and consuming diet rich in dietary fiber

What to Expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Prognosis generaly is good once the cause are treated and if replacement therapy is started . Most of the time it depend on the the cause of loosing fat in stool.

Possible Complications

The complications of steatorrhea are the following:

Adults:

Anemia

Intestinal obstruction

Weight loss.

Children:

 Failure to thrive

Anemia

Weight loss

Sources

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