Short Bowel Syndrome

What is short bowel syndrome?

Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a condition characterized by the absence of a small intestinal tract (essential for the absorption of nutrients during digestion), resulting in the inability to absorb nutrients ingested with food. CIS is a consequence that can occur as a result of bowel resection or due to severe intestinal diseases.

What are the symptoms of short bowel syndrome?

The main symptoms of CIS are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of body weight
  • Very foul-smelling stools
  • Swelling, especially in the legs


Generally, the diagnosis of CIS is related to the type of intervention suffered or the pathology affecting the intestine (e.g. Crohn’s disease).

What are the causes of short bowel syndrome?

The causes of SIC are Crohn’s disease, actinic enteritis and neoplasms. In some cases, CIS can also be congenital: in fact, there are children who are born with a shorter intestine than what should be the normal size.

What are the treatments for short bowel syndrome?

  • High calorie diet (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats).
  • Vitamin and mineral injections.
  • Taking vitamin B12, folic acid and iron.
  • Taking medications indicated to slow down the bowel.
  • Intravenous feeding (when normal feeding is not sufficient to provide nutrients).

Which specialist to contact?

Consultation with a nutrition expert is recommended.