Short bowel syndrome
Short Bowel Syndrome

Short Bowel Syndrome: 11 Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment, and Prevention

Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a small intestinal disease related to gastrointestinal disorders and impaired absorption of nutrients. SBS occurs when a person has a smaller small intestine than usual. The small intestine is an important organ in the digestive system that plays a role in absorbing nutrients.

So when a person experiences SBS, he will experience gastrointestinal problems and malnutrition. This small intestine disease will be very dangerous if not treated.

Short Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

Like more gastrointestinal problems, people who experience SBS will experience symptoms of diarrhea or stools that are too diluted continuously. The effects of diarrhea also have an impact on dehydration because the intestines are unable to absorb fluids and electrolytes properly. Too diluted stool indicates a lot of water and electrolytes that are not absorbed by the body.

It is also accompanied by:

  • Flatulence (bloating)
  • Experiencing stomach cramps and nausea
  • The body feels limp and powerless
  • Weight loss
  • Sometimes accompanied by a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn).

Because when experiencing SBS disorders can decrease nutrient intake, then this condition can also cause some diseases due to malnutrition such as:

SBS can also have an impact on the body that is more prone to gastrointestinal damage as well as allergic reactions. Damage to the gastrointestinal tract can be in the form of peptic ulcers due to acid exposure to the intestinal wall or stomach as well as too much bacteria in the small intestine.

As for allergic disorders such as lactose intolerance, it is usually characterized by nausea and diarrhea after consuming dairy products.

Short Bowel Syndrome Causes

Short bowel syndrome most often occurs after partial removal surgery of the small intestine. This surgery is performed to treat various types of intestinal conditions such as:

  • Born with a narrowed small intestine (intestinal atresia)
  • Injury to the intestines due to physical trauma
  • Slow bowel movement in digesting food
  • Bowel cancer (Learn more about Bowel Cancer Symptoms That Often Go Unnoticed)
  • Scarring of the intestines due to Crohn’s disease
  • Loss of blood flow to the intestines due to blockage of blood vessels.

Short Bowel Syndrome Risk Factors

The following factors may increase the tendency of short bowel syndrome:

  • Poor motility in the intestines
  • Significant damage from the small intestine

Short Bowel Syndrome Treatment

Treatment is intended to eliminate symptoms, and may include:

  • High calorie foods that supply vitamins and minerals, as well as certain types of carbohydrates, proteins and fats
  • Some vitamins and minerals may need to be administered by injection
  • Treatment for anemia with vitamin B12, folic acid, and increased iron diet
  • Medication to slow down normal bowel movement (prolongs the time that nutrients spend in the small intestine)
  • Feeding tubes through the blood vessels (parenteral nutrition), if normal eating does not provide enough nutrients (sometimes patients can eat back to normal after they have stabilized).

Short Bowel Syndrome Prevention

Short bowel syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, prevention depends on the underlying factors. Examples:

  • Prevention of postoperative short bowel syndrome can be done by avoiding technical errors, and establishing an early diagnosis if there are problems in the intestines that can cause blood flow to the intestines to be blocked.
  • Early diagnosis of mesenteric vascular disease
  • Prevention of short bowel syndrome due to Irradiation / cancer can be done by minimizing additional radiation exposure.
  • Prevention of short bowel syndrome due to Crohn’s disease can be treated by undergoing medical therapy in accordance with the diagnosis of intestinal conservation surgery.
  • Prevention of short bowel syndrome due to trauma resuscitation can be treated with early detection and proper handling of problems.


Last Updated on March 3, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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