Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Inability to digest fats
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Inability to digest fats


Thanks for taking this question.  I recently spent 2 months in Central America, being from the Midwestern US: Indiana.  We didn't take all of the caveats about food too seriously at first.      We were only marginally careful about what we ate, at first.

I contracted numerous E. Coli infections, a case of amoebas, and giardia.  I had diarrhea most of the time.  I took tinidazole, metrinidozole, and tinidizole again over the course of the 2 months.  I also took Ameobreze.  I have been back a month and a half and I still lack the ability to digest fats.  

I may have contracted a different bacterial infection from some bad "Bio-K": a yogurt rich in bacterial cultures, the dirrhea from that lasted 3-4 days.  That was about 2 weeks ago.  The problem was seeming to get better before that incident.

I had a stool sample taken here and tested negative for parasites and giardia (before the "Bio-K" incident).  But my stool is still very loose and I feel tired after moving my bowels.  I also feel drained some days, and need alot of sleep.  The lack of ability to digest fats is evidenced by floating stools after eating fatty foods and some urgency.  Also, I burp alot after eating.

I have GERD, if that is related, and sometimes take papaya enzymes.

Could my bowels be so angry, still?  Is there anything I can take, some supplement or something, to cultivate good colon health to move towards recovery?  Or have I contracted some other problem?  

I have tried eliminating lactose, which helped, but the problem seems linked instead to fats.

I can live with this problem, but I am beginning to wonder if there is some deeper problem, like maybe I destroyed something in my innards and I need a new one.  Of course, that is just me being dramatic, I hope.

Thank you!

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233190 tn?1278553401
Testing to stool for fat malabsorption can be considered to ensure that you really have the inability to digest fats.  Blood test for celiac disease as well as breath tests to evaluate for bacterial overgrowth are all other considerations.  

If the symptoms continue, a lower endoscopy (either colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy) can be done for further evaluation (i.e. ruling out inflammatory bowel disease).  Blood tests for amylase and lipase, as well as an abdominal CT scan, can be done to evaluate for chronic pancreatitis.

If fat malabsorption is a concern, changes in diet as well as nutritional supplements can be considered for treatment.  

These options can be discussed with your personal physician or gastroenterologist.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
1 Comment
Avatar n tn
Have they tested you for hepatitis A? for it will cause that also, many have had it here we have had a bad outbreak and over 2 thousand have took the shot also..  http://www.lafollettepress.com/headline1.html No new hepatitis cases reported this week  

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