What is it?

Steatorrhea (Fatty Stool) means there is too much fat in the feces. It could be as a result of eating too much fat or due to malabsorption. Stools may appear floaty, bulky, and pale and have a foul-smelling odor. It is also possible to see drops of oil in the water inside the toilet. Causes for malabsorption may include cystic fibrosis, insufficient pancreatic function, chronic pancreatitis, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, biliary atresia, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, lactose intolerance, and Whipple disease. Diagnosis is based upon findings from medical history and physical examination. Further evaluation may include qualitative and quantitative tests for fat in stool, D-xylose absorption test, and other more specific tests may be done depending on the diagnosis suspected.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause and may include avoiding fatty foods, avoiding milk products, avoiding wheat, medications, and supplementary pancreatic enzymes.

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