Tropical Sprue

Below you will find more information about Tropical Sprue from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Tropical Sprue it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Tropical Sprue and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Tropical Sprue comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.


Commonly found in the tropical regions, Tropical sprue is a malabsorption disease marked with abnormal flattening of the villi and inflammation of the lining of the small intestine.


Some of the tests conducted to diagnose the disease are CHEM 20, complete blood count (CBC), small bowel biopsy, stool test, upper endoscopy, and upper GI series.


Treatment for the disease starts with plenty of fluids and electrolytes. Replacing folate, iron, vitamin B12, and other nutrients may also be needed. During the beginning of the treatment, antibiotic therapy with tetracycline may be done. Children however are not advised to take oral tetracycline especially if the permanent teeth have not yet appeared. This is because the medicine can discolor the teeth while forming.

Symptoms and Signs

The most common symptoms of the disease are abdominal cramps, diarrhea, excessive gas, indigestion, irritability, muscle cramps, numbness, paleness, and weight loss. Among children, sprue may lead to delay in the maturing of bones and growth failure.


The cause of tropical sprue remains unknown but it may be caused by an infection. Residents or visitors to tropical regions are the ones generally affected. Risk factors therefore are living in the tropics and long periods of travel to tropical destinations.

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