Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of short bowel syndrome?

The symptoms of short bowel syndrome (SBS) are essentially all those associated with the inability to absorb nutrients from food (malabsorption), including:

  • weight loss/failure to gain weight
  • dehydration
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal bloating
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • vitamin and mineral deficiencies

In addition to preventing the intestine from absorbing nutrients, SBS poses other problems. For instance, if your child doesn't have enough small intestine, the remaining part tries to fix the problem on its own. It expands, creating more surface area to draw in nutrients. The wider the intestine, the longer it takes for the body to move nutrients through it. More time in the intestines means more time for the bacteria that would normally be swept promptly along to multiply, increasing your child's chance of infection, known as small bowel bacterial overgrowth.

What are the causes of SBS?

SBS is caused by an insufficient length of small intestine. There are several reasons why SBS may occur: