Short Bowel Syndrome

Definition

Short bowel syndrome is a complication that can occur in people who have a large part or all of their small intestine removed.

The Small Intestines
nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Short bowel syndrome occurs when half or more of the small intestine is removed. It reduces the absorption of vitamins and minerals from food.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of short bowel syndrome include:

Symptoms

Symptoms of short bowel syndrome may include:

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Blood tests may also be performed to check for nutritional and absorption problems.

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Nutrition

If you are malnourished, your doctor may give you food, fluid, and electrolytes through an IV. You will be advised to gradually increase your caloric intake and avoid certain foods. Initially, your diet will be high-protein, low-fat, and lactose-free.

Medications

In addition to changing your diet, you may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements. Antidiarrheal medications and medications that slow the contraction and relaxation of the intestinal muscles can also slow your digestion so you can absorb more nutrients. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe an H2 antagonist, a proton pump inhibitor, cholestyramine, and/or octreotide.

Surgery

Transplantation of small bowel is an option for those who cannot maintain their nutritional status with other treatments.

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent short bowel syndrome.

Revisions

Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Allegiance Health or performed by Allegiance Health physicians.

All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.

Making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding problematic foods or starting a new bedtime routine, may help reduce the symptoms of your acid reflux.