Short Bowel Syndrome

1 What is Short Bowel Syndrome?

Short bowel syndrome is a condition in which the body is unable to absorb enough nutrients from the foods consumed because of lacking a portion of small intestine.

Small intestine is the place where majority of nutrients are absorbed. 

2 Symptoms

Symptoms of short bowel syndrome include:

  • malabsorption,
  • dyspepsia,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting.

There is no enough small intestine to absorb and digest the nutrients required by our body. Weight loss will be noticed because of malnutrition, our body cannot get enough nutrients required for normal growth.

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3 Causes

Short bowel syndrome can be caused by the following cases:

  • portions of small intestine have been surgically removed, which could be due to crohn’s disease, cancer, traumatic injuries and blood clots in the arteries that provide blood to intestines.
  • This could also include congenital anomalies, which are due to damaged intestines that should be removed surgically.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Tests and procedures to diagnose short bowel syndrome include:

  • Lab tests- blood tests can detect low levels of nutrients and other chemicals related to digestion can be noticed and diagnosis can be made.
  • Imaging tests- imaging tests include can be useful to assess the length of small intestine.

5 Treatment

Treatment options for short bowel syndrome will depend on affected parts of small intestine. Some of the commonly used treatment methods are:

  • Medications- medications may be used to reduce the bowel movements and slow down the movement of food through intestines and digest food better.
  • Special diets- doctor may refer to a dietitian who can help plan a strategy to get essential vitamins and nutrients required for the body to maintain its regular functions.
  • Parenteral nutrition-  intravenous ingestion of essential fluids and nutrients will be suggested in severe cases of malabsorption. 

6 Prevention

No smoking, alcohol consumption, drug abuse during pregnancy can help prevent the short bowel syndrome. 

Hence congenital anomalies can be prevented by maintaining healthy habits while pregnancy. 

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

A few alternative remedies exist for short bowel syndrome.

Consulting a dietitian and eating food accordingly which has all the essential nutrients and can be digested easily must be consumed.

Intravenous ingestion of fluids and required nutrients are the available alternatives to treat short bowel syndrome.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with short bowel syndrome.

Malnutrition is the main enemy of short bowel syndrome. Required supplementary food which can be easily digested must be consumed.

Regular consultation with a dietitian and doctor and maintaining proper healthy diet will help in curing of short bowel syndrome.  

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with short bowel syndrome.

Risk factors of short bowel syndrome include:

  • congenital anomalies,
  • crohn’s disease or necrosis of a part of intestine due to injury.

Complications of short bowel syndrome include:

  • dehydration,
  • malnutrition,
  • vitamin deficiency,
  • mineral deficiency,
  • weakness,
  • fatigue,
  • depression,
  • weight loss,
  • bacterial infections,
  • food sensitivity. 
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