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Short Bowel Syndrome


Short Bowel Syndrome - SBS

Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS), also known as Short Gut Syndrome (SGS), is a condition that can occur when there is not enough intact/healthy bowel surface to absorb nutrients effectively, and is a type of Malabsorption Syndrome.

What Causes Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)

Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) can occur from any factor that requires surgical removal of a large portion of the small intestine. Surgical removal of the small intestine (or large portions of the small intestine) result in a dramatic reduction of the bowel's surface area that absorbs nutrients. Short Bowel Syndrome can be caused by:

- Congenital Abnormality
- Death of the Intestinal Lining (Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC))
- Crohn's Disease
- Surgical Removal of the Bowel (particularly if 1/2 or more of the bowel is removed)

Symptoms of Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)

Removal of large amounts of small intestine makes it more difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from anything consumed orally (by mouth). This can include food, drink and certain Vitamins and Supplements.

Symptoms of Short Bowel Syndrome include:
- Chronic Diarrhea (Diarrhoea)
- Symptoms of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies.

Treatment for Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)

Increased intake of food.

Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN or PN)

Management of Diarrhea Symptoms
- Medication for Diarrhea
--Imodium (loperamide)
--Questran (cholestyamine)
--Psyllium Husk can help some people by absorbing excess water in the stool.
-- Codeine
-- Lotomil

Anti-Secretory Drugs
- Octreotide -
- H2 Receptor Blockers
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI)

- Timing meals carefully, so the patient can be near a toilet at the right time. Diarrhea can often follow food intake so knowing how your body reacts after eating can be helpful for managing symptoms.

Clinical Trials for Treatment of Short Bowel Syndrome

Pharmacokinetics of Citalopram in Patients With Short Bowel Syndrome.

Enteral Glutamine in Reducing Bloodstream Infections in Short Bowel Syndrome Infants

Fiber Use in Pediatric Short Bowel Syndrome

Safety and Immunogenicity of Rotavirus Vaccine (RotaTeq(R)) in Infants With Short Bowel Syndrome

Trial of 70% Ethanol Versus Heparin to Reduce the Rate of Central Line Infections in Children With Short Bowel Syndrome

Investigational Study of Oral Fish Oil in Treating Parenteral Nutrition Associated Liver Disease. Investigation of Dietary Supplement Lovaza (omega-3-acid ethyl ester)

Early Provision of Enteral Microlipid and Fish Oil to Infants With Enterostomy (EMLFO)

Cholestasis Reversal: Efficacy of IV Fish Oil. Investigation of Omegaven in Parenteral Nutrition Associated Liver Disease (PNALD).

Compassionate Use of Omegaven for Pediatric Patients With Parenteral Nutrition Associated Liver Disease

Safety and Dosing Study of Glucagon-like Peptide 2 (GLP-2) in Infants and Children With Intestinal Failure (GLP-2-01)

Use of Omegaven Fish Oil Emulsion for Parenteral Nutrition Associated Liver Disease

Pediatric Alliance for International Neurogastrointestinal Functional Research

More Clinical Trials for Children with SBS.



2. Ruiz AR. Jr. Short Bowel Syndrome. Merck Manual. Home Health Handbook. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Dec 2007. Accessed May 2012.

3. Hyams BA. Short Bowel Syndrome. Jan 2010. Accessed May 2012.

4. Clinical Trials for Children with SBS.

5. Tee CT, Wallis K, Gabe SM. Emerging treatment options for short bowel syndrome: potential role of teduglutide. Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology 2011, 4:189-196

6. Farthing MJ. Octreotide in the treatment of refractory diarrhoea and intestinal fistulae. Gut. 1994; 35(3 Suppl): S510.

Popular Threads Discussing Short Bowel Syndrome

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01-26-2011, 11:08 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
What are psyllium husks & where would one get it? Have you tried it?
01-27-2011, 02:04 AM   #2
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Rebecca85's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Nottingham, UK
I believe you can get them from health food shops. I haven't tried them myself (as I have no need). This tip came from Roo (daughter of DustyKat), who had suffered with diarrhoea for years as a result of SBS. She tried various medications, Metamucil (Fybogel), but pure psyllium husks have been the best solution for her.
Crohn's in the terminal ileum, dxed Jun '10

125mg azathioprine
4g Pentasa
01-28-2011, 03:24 PM   #3
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DustyKat's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Hi yilbit,

Rebecca is spot about Roo and the Psylllium husks. Roo had a large amount of bowel removed and as a result ended up with short bowel syndrome. She tried various prescription and OTC preparations but she found them either too unpalatable or they caused pain and cramping. She put up with the frequent bowel motions and planning her eating around her day for about 4 years until she happened upon natural Psyllium husks. Although they are usually used to prevent constipation in her case they absorb the extra water and bile salts in her bowel which then bulks up her stool. She can now eat out, still chooses carefully as to what she actually does eat whilst out, but a far cry from not eating at all. It has been trial and error as to how much she uses and when as it can constipate her if she isn't careful.

You can purchase it in the health food section at the supermarket or as Rebecca suggested at the health food store. There are "commercial" preparations available like Metamucil but they didn't work for Roo, pain and cramping, so I wonder if it is the additives that are the problem. (((shrug)))

Since using it daily she has 1 or 2 mainly formed bowel motions a day as opposed to 6 - 8 explosive loose motions.

Mum of 2 kids with Crohn's.

Last edited by DustyKat; 01-28-2011 at 03:27 PM.
01-28-2011, 10:09 PM   #4
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Rockport, Texas
i have actually suffered from sbs and the one thing that has worked for me is a perscription drug called Welcor. It is a drug used for lowering colesterol however it works great for binding to bile. It will also not bind to any other medications which in the past was a real problem. After i had my small bowel surgery the doctor put me on a drug called questrian (sorry about the spelling). Problem was that you had to take it at least an hour before or after anytime you took your other drugs and about 30 minutes before eating which everyone who has crohn's disease will now is impossible to do with all the medications we take. Welcor basically changed my life overnight. I just happened to stumble upon because of a life long friend who is a drug rep that markets the drug.
03-06-2012, 03:39 AM   #5
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Sheffield, United Kingdom
Been reading the posts on SBS which I have never heard of before. I have had 5 lots of surgery starting at age 17, most recent lot when I was 45, currently putting off another lot for as long as possible. I have 4 feet of bowel remaining (No that isn't a typo - I really do mean 4 feet). I am not given any supplements by the hospital, but when I read posts from America and Australia it seems that other people are supplemented quite heavily after surgery. I was told after the last surgery that they would do a n
Nutritional Assessment on me, but it never happened. This despite the fact that the hospital I have attended since I was 11 has Centre for Human Nutrition (that I have never even seen the inside of!!). Can anyone give me further info about Nutritional Assessment and the kind of supplements that are most commonly given. I have to have 4 weekly B12, but had to fight for 3 years to get this because neither my GP nor the hospital wanted to finance the treatment. Been on it now for 22 years.
03-06-2012, 09:36 AM   #6
David's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Naples, Florida
With only four feet of bowel left I would demand that every single vitamin, mineral, and nutrient possible to be tested be tested. You're not on TPN or a liquid diet or anything? And do they do bowel transplants there?
It's good to be back
03-07-2012, 12:41 PM   #7
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Sheffield, United Kingdom
Thank you David for responding. No, I have only once been on TPN, and I was 17 at the time, awaiting my first lot of surgery. I had never heard that it was possible for a bowel to be transplanted until I read it on your site. I try to get the best nutrition possible via my diet, by eating healthy and nutrition dense foods like salmon, chicken etc, but I know that I miss out on a lot because of the short bowel. I can't eat as many veggies as I would like to do, but eating more isn't possible for obvious reasons. I do like to get out of the bathroom occasionally :-). To try and top this up I drink Complan, which is an over the counter 'complete food' supplement. I don't know if you have anything similar over there.I also take Zinc, Chromium and Flaxseed, but I buy these myself, not from my doctor. I am not sure how much of these I actually absorb, but at least I feel as though I am doing something constructive. I can only work a few hours each day now, because I get so tired, and would like to feel a little more energised, if that is a possibility. If anyone can give any suggestions or advice I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much for this site. After all these years I now feel that I am not alone.
03-07-2012, 02:49 PM   #8
David's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Naples, Florida
If you get those vitamin and mineral levels tested (you really should!) please let us know the actual levels if you're comfortable doing as we can then provide additional insight.

And we're here for you anytime
03-07-2012, 05:07 PM   #9
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Sheffield, United Kingdom
Thank you. I will be visiting the Hospital in June, so I will ask about getting tested when I go. I will keep you up to speed, and let you know any details that I get to know. If I get a lack of response from the hospital, then I will post that information as well. Again, many thanks and I'll talk again soon.
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