Short bowel syndrome occurs when part of the small intestine is missing, either at birth or after surgery. The syndrome keeps you from absorbing needed nutrients.
Short bowel syndrome is a condition in which your body is unable to absorb enough nutrients from the foods you eat because you don't have enough small intestine.
The small intestine is where the majority of the nutrients you eat are absorbed into your body during digestion.
Short bowel syndrome can occur when:
Short bowel syndrome treatment typically involves special diets and nutritional supplements and may require nutrition through a vein (parenteral nutrition) to prevent malnutrition.
Common signs and symptoms of short bowel syndrome may include:
Causes of short bowel syndrome include having parts of your small intestine removed during surgery, or being born with some of the small intestine missing or damaged. Conditions that may require surgical removal of portions of the small intestine include Crohn's disease, cancer, injuries and blood clots.
To diagnose short bowel syndrome, your doctor may recommend blood or stool tests to measure nutrient levels. Other tests may include imaging procedures, such as an X-ray with a contrast material (barium X-ray), computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and CT or MR enterography, that can show obstructions or changes to the intestines.
Your treatment options for short bowel syndrome will depend on what parts of your small intestine are affected, whether your colon is intact and your own preferences.
Short bowel syndrome treatment may include: