Fructose Malabsorption Treatment in Greenville, SC
Fructose malabsorption is the body's inability to break down a natural sugar called fructose. Fruit, some vegetables, honey, wheat and sugar cane all contain varying levels of fructose. When malabsorption occurs, undigested fructose in the small intestine is carried to the colon where colonic bacteria work to break it down into gases and short-chain fatty acids. This fermentation process produces the symptoms commonly associated with fructose malabsorption, including gas and bloating.
In a healthy person, 25-50 g of fructose is absorbed per sitting. In comparison, a person with fructose malabsorption absorbs less than 25 g, with some noting a reaction to consumption under 5 g. Over 30% of the population is believed to have fructose malabsorption, and it is highly prevalent in those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome .
Formerly referred to as dietary fructose intolerance, fructose malabsorption is entirely different from a hereditary fructose intolerance - a condition where an infant lacks the protein to break down fructose entirely. A rare but potentially dangerous condition, if you suspect your child has hereditary fructose intolerance, contact your health care provider immediately.
Symptoms of Fructose Malabsorption
Symptoms of fructose malabsorption present within 2-24 hours after ingesting foods or beverages containing fructose. These symptoms include:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Reflux or heartburn
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Fructose Malabsorption Diagnosis
If you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, a health care provider will likely test you for fructose malabsorption by using a hydrogen breath test. While undergoing a hydrogen breath test, you will ingest a fructose-rich meal (25-30 g) on an empty stomach. Over the next three hours, you will be asked to breathe into a hydrogen detecting machine. The presence of hydrogen indicates the fructose in your body is not entirely absorbed. Additional hydrogen breath tests can also be performed to eliminate other possible causes of your symptoms like lactose intolerance or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) .
Another popular diagnostic recommendation is to conduct an elimination diet. If symptoms disappear after 2-3 weeks of eliminating fructose from the diet, fructose malabsorption is often confirmed. It is best to carry out an elimination diet under the supervision of your health care provider, dietician or nutritionist to ensure all potential irritants are removed from the diet.
Fructose Malabsorption Treatment
There is no cure for fructose malabsorption. The best course of treatment is to follow a low-fructose diet. Reduce the intake of fructose and fructans (polymers of fructose molecules) until you reach a tolerated level that minimizes or eradicates symptoms.
Foods high in fructose include but are not limited to:
- Apples, pears, guavas, melons and mangos
- Soft drinks
- Sweeteners including high-fructose corn syrup and fruit juice concentrates
- Dried fruits, juice, fortified wines and fruit pastes and sauces
A complete list of dietary recommendations can be provided to you by your health care provider which will include fruits and other foods that are lower in fructose or have a better fructose-glucose balance.
Request more information about Fructose Malabsorption today. Call (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
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