Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
Site Search

Definition:

Whipple's disease is a rare condition that prevents the intestine from properly absorbing nutrients. This is called malabsorption.



Alternative Names:

Intestinal lipodystrophy



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Whipple's disease is caused by infection from bacteria called Tropheryma whippelii. The disorder mainly affects middle-aged white men.

Whipple's disease is extremely rare. Risk factors are unknown.



Symptoms:

Symptoms usually start slowly, and may include:



Signs and tests:

Possible signs:

Tests may include:

  • Viewing the intestine with a flexible, lighted tube (enteroscopy ), and possibly removing a small amount of intestinal lining (biopsy) to be examined under the microscope
  • Complete blood count (CBC )

This disease may also change the results of the following tests:



Treatment:

You will need to take long-term antibiotics to cure any infections of the brain and central nervous system. A medicine called ceftriaxone is given through a vein (IV). It is followed by an antibiotic (such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) taken by mouth for up to 1 year.

If symptoms come back during antibiotic use, the antibiotic treatment may be changed.

Your health care provider should closely follow you, because signs of the disease can return after you finish therapy. Those who have nutritional deficiencies from malabsorption will also need to take dietary supplements.



Expectations (prognosis):

Without treatment, the condition is usually fatal. Treatment relieves symptoms and can cure the disease.



Complications:
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Symptoms return (which may be because of drug resistance)
  • Weight loss


Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have persistent abdominal pain and diarrhea.

If you are being treated for Whipple's disease, call your health care provider if:

  • Symptoms worsen or do not improve
  • Symptoms reappear
  • New symptoms develop


Prevention:



References:

West SG. Systemic diseases in which arthritis is a feature. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 297.




Review Date: 10/13/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Information
Ebola Information

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100