Short Bowel Syndrome – Treatment of Short Bowel Syndrome

Short bowel syndrome

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

Short bowel syndrome is likely develop when one-half or more of the bowel is removed during the surgery. People suffering from short bowel syndrome has symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, heartburn, steatorrhea, fluid retention, weakness and fatigue. It is diagnosed using blood chemistry test, fecal fat test and complete blood count.

In this article, we shall discuss how this ailment is treated.

Treatment of short bowel syndrome:

Controlling diarrhea:

Treating diarrhea is the first step in treatment of short bowel syndrome. The doctor prescribes anti-diarrheal medicines like loperamide and codine.

Reducing stomach acid:

The next step is to reduce the stomach acid in order to avoid further complications of the disease. The doctor recommends H2 blocker and proton pump inhibitors for this purpose.

Nutritional support:

The main stream treatment of short bowel syndrome is nutritional support. This may involve prescription of oral rehydration solution, parenteral nutrition, enteral nutrition, and medications.

  • On the basis of extent of dehydration, oral rehydration solutions are recommended. They consists of sugar and salt liquids.
  • Parenteral nutrition is supplied through a tube placed in a vein. Fluids, electrolytes and liquid nutrients are sent into the bloodstream intravenously.
  • In enteral nutrition, the liquid food is fed to the stomach and small intestine through a feeding tube.
  • Nutritional supplements are given in form of medications.


Surgery involves two steps: removal of damaged part of intestine and intestinal transplantation. This depends on the severity of the disease. Intestinal transplantation is done to patients for whom other treatments have failed and those who have complications from long-term parenteral nutrition.

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