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What tests are required for a digestion problem?

Q: My mom is 52, from the past 4 to 5 months she is suffering from digestion problem. She took all medicines that were prescribed but in vain, the stools test result say that undigested food particles are seen in plenty. In the above mentioned period she has lost about 6 kg of weight. In her regular diet she can't even take small quantity of salt and spice, if she does she complains of painful stool and she feels weak and tired. Please tell me the tests that she has to go through so that a better diagnosis can be done.

A:Your mother has some form of maldigestion/malabsorption and needs to be evaluated by a gastroenterologist for pancreatic dysfunction and mucosal malabsorption. She will need specialised tests which may include faecal elastase, abdominal ultrasound, faecal chymotrypsin, stool fat estimation, ERCP/MRCP (not all these tests will be needed and a certain combination will yield a diagnosis. If the pancreatic function tests are normal, she should have a small bowel biopsy.

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