Overview

Short bowel syndrome is a condition in which your body is unable to absorb enough nutrients from the foods you eat because you don't have enough small intestine.

The small intestine is where the majority of the nutrients you eat are absorbed into your body during digestion.

Short bowel syndrome can occur when:

  • Portions of the small intestine have been surgically removed. Conditions that may require surgical removal of large portions of the small intestine include Crohn's disease, cancer, traumatic injuries and blood clots in the arteries that provide blood to the intestines.
  • Portions of the small intestine are missing or damaged at birth. Babies may be born with a short small intestine or with a damaged small intestine that must be surgically removed.

Short bowel syndrome treatment typically involves special diets and nutritional supplements and may require nutrition through a vein (parenteral nutrition) to prevent malnutrition.

Short bowel syndrome care at Mayo Clinic

Aug. 25, 2017
References
  1. Feldman M, et al. Short bowel syndrome. In: Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 20, 2016.
  2. Wyllie R, et al., eds. Short bowel syndrome. In: Pediatric Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 20, 2016.
  3. Carroll RE, et al. Management and complications of short bowel syndrome: An updated review. Current Gastroenterology Reports. 2016;18:40.
  4. DiBaise JK. Short bowel syndrome and small bowel transplantation. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology. 2014;30:128.
  5. Brown AY. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 25, 2016.
  6. U.S. News best hospitals 2016-2017. U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/mn/mayo-clinic-6610451/gastroenterology-and-gi-surgery. Accessed Sept. 6, 2016.