Short Bowel Syndrome – What Causes Short Bowel Syndrome?

Short bowel syndrome

is a condition in which there is malabsorption of the ingested food due to surgical removal of a large portion of the small intestine or due to some severe intestinal disease.

Actually, the word ‘Short Bowel Syndrome’ means a group of problems related to malabsorption. These problems are seen in people who have small gut. Hence, it is also called

short gut syndrome

or short gut. In this article, we discuss what all cause short bowel syndrome.

Causes of Short Bowel Syndrome:

The main cause is absence of sufficient length of small intestine to absorb the nutrients from the food. Either the small intestine is removed by surgery, or it may not present in an individual due to a defect that occurred before birth (congenital defect).


newborns and children

this condition can be in one of the following conditions:

  • Necrotizing enterocolitis: This abnormality is seen in premature infants where there is total death of bowel tissue.
  • Congenital defects of the small intestine such as omphalocele, volvulus, gastroschisis, internal hernia, jejunoileal atresia and congenital short bowel.



the short bowel syndrome is usually caused by surgery. Following are the conditions where the surgery of the small intestine is indicated:

  • Tumors of the small intestine
  • Crohn’s disease, which is an inflammatory disorder of the digestive tract
  • Volvulus, in which a spontaneous twisting of the small intestine may cut off the blood supply, causing tissue death
  • Trauma or injury to the small intestine
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis, an individual is born premature
  • Surgery to remove damaged portion of the small intestine
  • By pass surgery to treat obesity, which is becoming more popular nowadays

Short bowel syndrome is likely develop in the above causes only when one-half or more of the bowel is removed during the surgery.

You can get more information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of short bowel syndrome in related articles on this site.

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