Tropical Sprue Clinical Presentation

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Rohan C Clarke, MD; Chief Editor: Burt Cagir, MD, FACS  more...
  • Print

History and Physical Examination


Tropical sprue manifests clinically with a spectrum of signs and symptoms. It may develop in natives or travelers to the tropics, and it may not appear until as long as 10 years after the patient has left there. No definitive marker of tropical sprue exists; hence, these claims remain unsubstantiated. Patients may experience the following:

  • Steatorrhea

  • Diarrhea

  • Weight loss

  • Leg swelling

  • Abdominal swelling

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

Physical examination

Physical examination in patients with tropical sprue may reveal the following:

  • Weight loss

  • Dehydration

  • Pallor

  • Glossitis

  • Chelitis

  • Stomatitis

  • Edema