Short Bowel Syndrome

Short bowel syndrome is a group of problems affecting people who have had half or more of their small intestine removed. The most common reason for removing part of the small intestine is to treat Crohn's disease.


  • Diarrhea is the main symptom of short bowel syndrome.

  • Other symptoms include:

  • Cramping.

  • Bloating.

  • Heartburn.

Many people with short bowel syndrome are malnourished because their remaining small intestine is unable to absorb enough water, vitamins, and other nutrients from food. They may also become dehydrated, which can be life-threatening. Problems associated with dehydration and malnutrition include:

  • Weakness.

  • Weight loss.

  • Fatigue.

  • Bacterial infections.

  • Depression.

  • Food sensitivities.


Short bowel syndrome is treated through:

  • Changes in diet.

  • Intravenous feeding.

  • Vitamin and mineral supplements.

  • Medicine to relieve symptoms.