Malabsorption is difficulty digesting food in general or, more specifically, not being able to absorb nutrients like fats, proteins, sugar or vitamins from food. There are many diseases that can cause malabsorption, including celiac disease, chronic liver disease, AIDS, Crohn’s disease and certain types of cancer. Certain surgeries can lead to malabsorption as well.

People experiencing malabsorption will experience a variety of symptoms, like bulky stools, bloating, gas, cramping, chronic diarrhea and unexplained weight loss. Malabsorption in children can cause a failure to thrive, meaning a child’s current weight or rate of weight gain is significantly below the norm for their gender and age.

Malabsorption can affect growth and development, but it can also lead to more specific illnesses, like malnutrition, kidney stones, anemia and even heart failure, so it is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.