Your bowels are your intestines. You have a large intestine and a small intestine. Your small intestine is where food is absorbed.
Malabsorption Overview of Malabsorption Food you eat has to be digested before it can go into your body. Digestion breaks food down into its separate parts: Proteins Fats Carbohydrates Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are nutrients... read more is when you have trouble absorbing the nutrients in your food. Nutrients are things that provide nutrition to your body. They include protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
What is short bowel syndrome?
Short bowel syndrome is a problem you get if you've had surgery that removed a lot of your small intestine.
If you don't have enough small intestine, you can't absorb enough nutrients
You'll lose weight and be malnourished
You'll also have gas and diarrhea
Adjusting your diet and taking certain medicines can help lessen your diarrhea
Some people with a very short small intestine need to be fed through their veins
What causes short bowel syndrome?
Short bowel syndrome happens after much of your small intestine is removed in surgery. Common reasons for removing part of your small intestine are:
Mesenteric ischemia Acute Mesenteric Ischemia Acute mesenteric ischemia is sudden blockage of blood flow to part of the intestines, which may lead to gangrene and perforation (puncture). Severe abdominal pain develops suddenly. The diagnosis... read more (blocked artery that supplies blood to a large part of the intestine)
Injury to the intestine from radiation therapy
Volvulus (a twisted loop of intestine)
What are the symptoms of short bowel syndrome?
Not absorbing enough vitamins and minerals
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause:
Tingling of hands and feet
How can doctors tell if I have short bowel syndrome?
Doctors diagnose short bowel syndrome based on your symptoms plus the fact that you've had a long piece of your small intestine removed.
How do doctors treat short bowel syndrome?
If you have short bowel syndrome, you'll likely need:
Medicines to slow down your diarrhea
Smaller, more frequent meals with more protein and fat and less carbohydrates
Nutrition supplements, including vitamins, calcium, and magnesium
Acid-blocking medicines for your stomach if it starts producing too much acid
If these treatments don't let you tolerate eating, doctors may:
Permanently feed you through a vein (called TPN Intravenous Feeding Intravenous feeding is used when the digestive tract cannot adequately absorb nutrients, as occurs in severe malabsorption disorders. It is also used when the digestive tract must be temporarily... read more [total parenteral nutrition])
Sometimes, doctors will be able to give you a small intestine transplant Small Intestine Transplantation Small intestine transplantation is the removal of the small intestine from a recently decreased person and then the transfer of the small intestine, sometimes with other organs, into a person... read more from someone who died.