Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a disorder where an individual cannot get enough nutrients and water from the food they eat due to poor function of the small intestine.
What are the symptoms of SBS?
The symptoms of SBS vary in severity. The main symptom is persistent diarrhea. Other symptoms include:
Foul smelling stool
Additional symptoms due to the lack of the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins include:
Muscle cramping and spasms
Intolerance to certain foods (such as lactose intolerance)
What causes SBS?
The main cause of SBS is removal of part or all of the small intestine due to disease, injury, or birth defect through surgery. Diseases that require surgery include cancer, Crohn’s disease, and treatment of damage caused by chemotherapy or radiation. Removal could also be caused by a birth defect in which a child is born with a short small intestine or part of it missing.
What treatment options are available for SBS?
Treatment of SBS is directed at symptom management and nutritional support to provide necessary vitamins and minerals. Treatment options include:
Medications to control diarrhea
Vitamin and mineral supplements
Medications to reduce stomach acid and/or intestinal bacteria
Medication to improve lactose intolerance
Intravenous fluid for dehydration
Feeding tube insertion
Special diets, such as small frequent meals and avoidance of high sugar, fiber, and fat foods
Administration of growth hormones to improve intestinal absorption
Intestinal transplant in rare cases
Where can I find more information on short bowel syndrome (SBS)?
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