Mayo Clinic doctors start with a thorough physical examination, and discussion of your symptoms and medical history. It's important to bring all your previous surgical reports to your Mayo Clinic doctor for review.
You may have specific nutrient deficiencies depending on which sections of the small bowel were removed. The sites of nutrient absorption in the small bowel are the:
- Upper section (duodenum), where iron is absorbed
- Middle section (jejunum), where carbohydrates, proteins, fat, calcium and vitamins are absorbed
- Lower section (ileum), where bile acids and vitamin B-12 are absorbed
Mayo doctors use these tests:
- Lab tests. Blood tests can detect anemia and measure electrolyte and vitamin levels, and other chemicals related to digestion and metabolism. Stool tests can determine if you're absorbing enough dietary fat.
- CT enterography. Mayo researchers helped develop this noninvasive test, which is more sensitive than conventional imaging for finding abnormalities in the intestines.
- X-ray and CT scan. These imaging tests can diagnose complications such as kidney stones or gallstones.
- Endoscopy. This test is used to inspect your esophagus, stomach and duodenum. A tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken.
- Colonoscopy. This test is used to inspect your colon and your lower small intestine.
A person is usually considered to have short bowel syndrome when less than three to five feet (100 to 150 centimeters) of functioning small bowel remains (about 20 percent of normal).
Signs and symptoms of short bowel syndrome can include:
Nov. 20, 2012
- Pale, greasy, watery diarrhea
- Particularly bad-smelling stools
- Weight loss