Short Bowel Syndrome is on the Rise… Here’s Why

With the rise of medical advancements, you would think that fewer people would end up with short bowel syndrome (SBS). Yet, that is not the case.

The reason for developing SBS is pretty straightforward: removal of intestines. However, the reasons those surgeries have to happen are varied.

They can be isolated into three main groups:

  • Not enough blood reaching the intestinal tissue, causing it to die
  • Inflammation of parts of the bowel, often caused by Crohn’s disease
  • Part of the intestine forming incorrectly

So, am I saying this is happening to more and more people?

Yes. And no.

See, with the rise in medical knowledge and advancement, more people are getting correct diagnoses. This leads to people getting on more accurate treatments earlier. So, it’s not necessarily that more people are getting SBS. It’s that more people are getting diagnosed with SBS.

However, there could be another reason for the rise in short bowel syndrome cases around the world: Hygiene.

Many people still face a lack of access to clean water. And before you conjure up images of remote villages, I’ll take a second to remind you that Flint, Michigan, still doesn’t have clean water.

Many people also face the problem of unhygienic food. This could be anything from food not being properly cleaned before it’s consumed (clean water is really important!) to malnutrition to a diet that doesn’t favor proper digestion.

That added stress to the bowels can exacerbate otherwise manageable problems.

The good news is that there are more options for treating people with SBS. So while it’s not great that more people are getting it, at least there are things they can do about it.


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