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Fructose Malabsorption

What is Fructose Malabsorption?
Fructose is a sugar which is found in many fruits and honey. Fructose malabsorption refers to a relatively common condition whereby fructose is not absorbed in the small intestine properly. Fructose that abnormally enters the large bowel is fermented by bacteria into hydrogen, which can cause abdominal symptoms.


What are the symptoms of Fructose Malabsorption?
The common symptoms of fructose malabsorption are bloating, “wind”, abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea and/or nausea. Fructose Malabsorption may have symptoms similar to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

How is Fructose Malabsorption diagnosed?
Fructose malabsorption can be definitively diagnosed on a hydrogen breath test which can be organised through your GastroNorth specialist. This is a similar test to that used to diagnose Lactose intolerance. People with fructose malabsorption produce more hydrogen. This is because fructose is not digested and absorbed in the small intestine, and instead is fermented by bacteria in the large intestine into hydrogen. This can be measured on a breath test after a fructose load is ingested.

How is Fructose Malabsorption managed?
In general, fructose malabsorption can be managed by avoidance of foods that have a high fructose load or a sugar imbalance. A dietitian consultation is recommended. Further information can be obtained through your GastroNorth specialist.

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