Short Bowel Syndrome

Also known as: SBS

What is short bowel syndrome?

Short bowel syndrome means that an infant/child doesn't have a long enough functioning bowel to properly absorb food.

What causes short bowel syndrome?

SBS can occur because a baby is born with, or develops abnormalities of the bowel like intestinal atresia, or other diseases or injuries which require removing large pieces of bowel surgically.

What are the symptoms of short bowel syndrome?

Due to the problems with absorbing foods and fluids in the intestines, diarrhea, bloating, vomiting, dehydration, weight loss &/or not growing normally, and fatigue, are commonly seen.

What are short bowel syndrome care options?

Most infants/ children will need help in getting enough food and calories into them. In order to do this, sometimes a tube may need to be placed into a large vein to give the infants/ children the nutrients they need (this is called parenteral nutrition) and it may need to be done for a long time.
Intestinal rehabilitation tries to get the bowel working again and uses a variety of approaches to achieve this.
Restorative surgery, and bowel transplantation are also possible.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2019 04:07 PM