Definition

Protein-losing enteropathy is an abnormal loss of protein from the digestive tract or the inability of the digestive tract to absorb proteins.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

There are many causes of protein-losing enteropathy. Any condition that causes serious inflammation in the intestines can lead to protein loss. Some of the more common causes are:

  • Bacteria or parasite infection of the intestines
  • Celiac sprue
  • Crohn’s disease
  • HIV infection
  • Lymphoma

Symptoms

Symptoms can include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Symptoms depend on the underlying disease that is causing the protein-losing enteropathy.

Signs and tests

Imaging tests may be done to see if there is a problem in the intestinal tract. This may include an CT scan of the abdomen or an upper GI bowel series.

Other tests that may be done include:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
  • Small intestine biopsy
  • Alpha-1-antitrypsin test

Treatment

The health care provider will treat the condition that caused protein-losing enteropathy.

EmailTwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedIn