Medical Encyclopedia


Medical Encyclopedia

Other encyclopedia topics:  A-Ag  Ah-Ap  Aq-Az  B-Bk  Bl-Bz  C-Cg  Ch-Co  Cp-Cz  D-Di  Dj-Dz  E-Ep  Eq-Ez  F  G  H-Hf  Hg-Hz  I-In  Io-Iz  J  K  L-Ln  Lo-Lz  M-Mf  Mg-Mz  N  O  P-Pl  Pm-Pz  Q  R  S-Sh  Si-Sp  Sq-Sz  T-Tn  To-Tz  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  0-9 

Tropical sprue

Contents of this page:


Digestive system
Digestive system
Digestive system organs
Digestive system organs

Definition    Return to top

Tropical sprue is a condition affecting the absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) that is common in the tropics and subtropics.

Causes    Return to top

The cause of this disease is unknown, but it may be caused by an infection. The condition affects residents of or visitors to the tropics. Risk factors are:

Symptoms    Return to top

In children, sprue leads to:

Exams and Tests    Return to top

Treatment    Return to top

Treatment begins with plenty of fluids and electrolytes. Replacement of folate, iron, vitamin B12, and other nutrients may also be needed. Antibiotic therapy with tetracycline is given at the beginning of treatment.

Oral tetracycline is usually not prescribed for children until after all permanent teeth have appeared. It can permanently discolor teeth that are still forming.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

The outcome is expected to be good with treatment.

Possible Complications    Return to top

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common complications.

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Call your health care provider if:

Prevention    Return to top

Other than avoiding living in or traveling to tropical climates, there is no known prevention for tropical sprue.

Update Date: 2/20/2008

Updated by: Christian Stone, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M. Logo

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2009, A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.