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What are some symptoms of pancreatic enzyme deficiency?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of pancreatic enzyme deficiency include weight loss, excessive gas, and unusual or frequent stools, according to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Additional symptoms include cramps after eating and feelings of indigestion.

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Full Answer

People with pancreatic enzyme deficiency may experience stools that are light in color, foul-smelling, or appear fatty, greasy or float, states Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Stools may also tend to be loose and more frequent than normal.

Certain conditions can lead to pancreatic insufficiency, explains the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Cystic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer, blocked ducts or pancreatitis may cause the insufficient production of pancreatic enzymes. Surgery on the pancreas may also lead to the condition.

A normal pancreas produces about 8 cups of fluid containing enzymes every day, reports the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. These enzymes help the body digest food and neutralizes stomach acid as it moves into the intestines. Without the enzymes, the body may not have the ability to absorb all the nutrients it needs.

Doctors often prescribe pancreatic enzymes to patients with insufficiency, says the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Some enzymes require a prescription, while others are available over the counter. Physicians sometimes instruct patients to take an acid-reducing medication to improve the enzymes' performance.

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