Optimal Result: 2.9 - 37.5 mg/g.

This test measures the amount of fat in a stool sample. Excess fecal fat (termed steatorrhea) in stool is indicative of malabsorption disorder. The absorption of fat can be varied by production of bile in the gallbladder or liver, production of digestive enzymes in the pancreas, and normal functioning of the intestines. Decreased absorption of fat can be a sign of many different illnesses, including celiac disease, crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, etc.

When you eat fat, a small amount of the fat passes out the body through the colon. Some of the different types of fats in the feces include phospholipids, sterols, sphingolipids, cholesteryl esters, glycolipids, soaps and glycerides.  

The Fecal Fat test helps your doctor identify if you have pancreatic or intestinal disorders. It can also show that enzymes, which are prescribed are working in the case of known malabsorption disorders.

What does it mean if your Total Fecal Fat result is too low?

Decreased absorption of fat can be a sign of many different illnesses, including celiac disease, crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, etc.

What does it mean if your Total Fecal Fat result is too high?

Excess fecal fat (termed steatorrhea) in stool is indicative of malabsorption disorder. The absorption of fat can be varied by production of bile in the gallbladder or liver, production of digestive enzymes in the pancreas, and normal functioning of the intestines.

If excess amounts of fat are in the stool, it means the fat is not being absorbed, and there’s malabsorption. This means the fat isn’t being broken down properly by enzymes. It could be because the pancreas is not working properly (potentially due to Whipple disease or another malabsorption disorder).

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Malabsorption occurs when your intestines are not absorbing food as they should, and aren’t assimilating nutrients. It could also happen if you don’t have enough digestive enzymes or not enough bile. Bile is especially important to emulsify or break down the fats during digestion.

Malabsorption causes any of the following symptoms:

- Gas

- Bloating

- Cramps after eating

- Bad-smelling, fatty stools

- Loose stools

- Weight loss without being on a diet

Some specific causes of high Fecal Fat might be: 

- Use of ointments for diaper rash

- The use of barium enemas or having used barium in other medical procedures

- Celiac disease

- Eating too much fiber in your diet

- Use of the medication called Orlistat

- Ingesting Castor oil

- Chronic pancreatitis

- Cystic fibrosis 

- Gall bladder stone obstruction

- Tumors in the pancreas, gallbladder, or surrounding organs

- Whipple disease

- Crohn’s disease

- Radiation enteritis  

- Small bowel bacterial overgrowth

- Malnutrition

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