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72 hour fat absorption test

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Hello, I'm looking for some advice regarding the 72 hour fecal fat absorption test.

My condition is one of which i'm sure nobody is familiar with and i strongly believe it is in the range of 1 in a million people affected. Over the last 6 years my symptoms have worsened and i can go in detail about them but i'm just going to say that is has come to a point where I can't really eat anything anymore other than yukon gold potatoes ..nothign works eating regular food just feels like i'm eating air..it does nothing at all-- i know this sounds bizarre but really thats my issue and i just want some advice. I believe I have malabsorption. Doctors don't really seem eagerly interested in helping me, I'm usually the one asking for a test to have done. Anyway half a year ago i asked for the 72 hour fecal fat test because i read that this is the gold standard for malabsoprtion tests. So I did it and my family doctor at the time told me the results came back very poor. Normal results are anything of 7 grams or less /day.....my test showed 17 grams. So to my disbelief i've had a couple G.I's not make much of the results. I visited a new digestive clinic a few weeks ago, and the doctor admitted my condition is a mystery and in my tests (endoscopies, ct scans, thyroid blood tests, x-rays) nothing is indicating anything is terribly wrong. I had a few ultrasounds performed this year which indicate i have a fatty pancreas, enlarged liver and spleen...THe new G.I told me for now to try repeating the fat test..this test is really unpleasant...if I had a few G.I's say the high results don't mean much and I have this new guy telling me to repeat it, should I? I'm confused as to whether this test is as significant as I thought. anyone who is familiar with it, should i do it again? thanks very much
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replied February 14th, 2011
Hello and thank you for posting your health query on E health Forum.

The fecal fat test measures the amount of fat in the stool, which helps estimate the percentage of dietary fat that the body does not absorb.

A high fecal fat excretion indicates fat malabsorption.

The underlying cause could be due to Pancreatic insufficiency, Defective stimulation of the stomach with decreased contractility, decreased acid secretion in the stomach, gall bladder or liver disease, Intestinal bacterial overgrowth, Food allergies such as celiac disease, Inflammatory bowel disease, Parasitic infections (Whipple's disease or tropical sprue), Lack of enzymes in the intestine (lactase deficiency), etc.

Diagnosing the cause of malabsorption is difficult, and doctors will try many different testing approaches. A biopsy of the intestinal mucosa (if not done until now) can give additional information on your condition.

For the time being you can take pancreatic enzyme supplements, probiotics, in addition to following a strict low fat diet will be helpful.

You might consider to continue working with your gastroenterologist for proper evaluation and diagnosis.

I hope this helps.


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