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Symptoms

Greasy, foul-smelling stool and diarrhea
Malnutrition and weight loss
Abdominal pain and swelling (edema)
Dehydration
Fatigue
Heartburn

Diagnosis Journey

Learn more about how people who are experiencing signs and symptoms of short bowel syndrome with intestinal failure can be diagnosed.
Disclaimer: Please note no copyright infringement is intended, and PatientWing did not create this video. The video was created by Osmosis.
When to talk to your doctor
Most adult patients are diagnosed with SBS-IF following surgery or resection of the small intestine. Those with additional conditions such as Crohn’s disease and traumatic injuries to the digestive tract may have an increased risk of SBS-IF. If you are experiencing symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort such as those mentioned above post-surgery, ask your doctor about SBS-IF.
Process for diagnosis
If you are experiencing symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort after surgery, your doctor may ask to perform the following tests to verify an SBS-IF diagnosis:
  • Blood tests
  • Physical examinations
  • Stool examination (fecal fat test)
  • X-ray or CT scan of abdomen
  • Endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy

If you feel that you are not receiving adequate treatment, don't be afraid to explore other physicians and specialists in order to get the care you need.

Specialists

John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link

Registered doctors

John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link
John Smith, MD

Gastroenterologist • Nashville, TN

Link

Treatment Options and Ongoing Research

Short bowel syndrome with intestinal failure is a rare disease that requires more effective treatment options. In order to find these new treatments for SBS-IF, further research is necessary.

Current Research Studies

Check out our featured study below. If the STARS Study is not right for you, there are approximately 30 short bowel syndrome research studies that are actively recruiting participants. Search this site to find SBS research studies near you.
Visit Clinicaltrials.gov

Featured Study

STARS Study
If you have SBS-IF, you may be eligible to participate in the STARS study, which is aiming to restore gut function by restoring the body's natural ability to absorb fluid and nutrients and reduce time on parenteral support.
Learn More

Nutritional Support

Parenteral nutrition (PN)
Liquid nutrition given through a catheter or needle inserted through a vein in the arm, groin, neck or chest.
Enteral nutrition
Nutrition through a feeding tube placed in the stomach.
Electrolyte solutions (orally or through IV)
Vitamin and mineral supplements
Special diets

Medications

There are recommended drugs to help manage symptoms of short bowel syndrome with intestinal failure. These medications can help reduce diarrhea, improve intestinal absorption after surgery, and help control stomach acid.
Check out this list of medications that may help treat SBS-IF:
H2 blockers (or H2 antagonists)
These medicines, which are usually taken orally, reduce the amount of acid that is produced by the stomach in order to maintain a healthy amount of mucus in the barrier between the stomach acid and lining. Too much acid can result in an ulcer.
Choleretic agents
These promote bile production in the liver. Bile is a thick fluid that is needed to digest fats and absorb nutrients.
Bile-salt binders
Bile salts irritate the colon lining, causing it to secrete water, resulting in diarrhea. Bile-salt binders can trap these salts in feces to prevent the irritation of the intestinal lining, therefore decreasing the amount of salt in the GI tract. They can also bind to and stop certain vitamins from being absorbed by the body and causing diarrhea.
Hypomotility agents
These substances decrease the speed that food travels through the intestine, leading to more time for nutrient absorption.
Growth hormones and teduglutide
Growth hormones aid in intestinal absorption of water, electrolytes, and nutrients, reducing the need for parenteral nutrition.

Teduglutide is a medication given through injection. It uses glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) analogs to increase nutrient absorption in the intestinal tract.

Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be recommended for those with SBS-IF. Some of the surgery options include:
  • Surgery to slow the passage of nutrients through the intestine.
  • Procedure to lengthen the intestine.
  • Intestinal transplant, which is a surgery to replace damaged small intestine with a healthy small intestine from a donor.

Resources

Find an online community of fellow SBS-IF patients, caregivers, and advocates below as well as some other general resources!

Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation Families Group
Created by the Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation Inc., this group is for those who have or have a child with Short Bowel Syndrome.
Learn More
Short Bowel Syndrome Support Group
This is a support group for SBS patients and family members.
Learn More
Short Bowel Foundation Adult Support
Created by the Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation Inc., this group is for anyone who has or knows of a young adult/adult with SBS and is seeking community and support, and information from others living with short bowel syndrome.
Learn More
Reddit Group: r/ShortBowelSyndrome
Public subreddit for those with or who know someone with SBS to share their experiences from treatment options to daily difficulties.
Learn More
Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation 
The Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation was created as a resource to help patients, family members, and healthcare professionals learn about short bowel syndrome. The site has multiple materials on SBS to help patients gain more control of both their condition and the quality of their lives.
Learn More
Oley Foundation
The Oley Foundation is a national non-profit organization that aims to improve the lives of those with parenteral nutrition and tube feeding through education, advocacy, and networking. The Foundation has a variety of programs and information regarding nutritional care available.
Learn More
ASPEN Podcasts
Teduglutide in Short Bowel Syndrome Patients: A Way Back to Normal Life?
Three doctors speak about their research and experiences using teduglutide to treat SBS-IF patients.
Child Life on Call
Episode 23: Stephanie’s Story
A mother, Stephanie, shares her experience caring for her child with SBS.
Learn More
Social Security Disability Insurance

Check out this website for more information on disability resources for individuals with short bowel syndrome.

Learn More
Integrating Psychosocial Supportive Care into the Clinical Management of Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)

Learn more about continuing education, tools, and resources available for physicians, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health care professionals who support patients with short bowel syndrome.

Learn More

9 Meters Biopharma Announces Positive Preliminary Results from Phase 2 Study of Vurolenatide in Short Bowel Syndrome

Read this news article to learn more about the VIBRANT research study, which is focused on developing a new treatment for adult patients with short bowel syndrome.

Learn More

NICE Recommends Potentially Life-Changing Treatment for People with Short Bowel Syndrome

Visit this news article to learn more about Teduglutide, a potential new treatment for individuals living with short bowel syndrome.

Learn More

SLU Physician-Scientist Receives NIH Funding for Short Bowel Syndrome Research

Learn more about Ajay Jain, M.D., a Saint Louis University School of Medicine scientist and SLUCare physician who has received funding to study short bowel syndrome.

Learn More

A Beautiful Struggle: Parent-Perceived Impact of Short Bowel Syndrome on Child and Family Wellbeing

Check out this research article to learn more about a study that analyzes how parents are impacted by their child's SBS.

Learn More

FAQs

Who should I contact for a diagnosis?
Your regular doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, which is a doctor that specializes in conditions related to the digestive system.
How common is short bowel syndrome?
SBS-IF is a rare condition. In the U.S., it affects between 10,000 and 20,000 people. Globally, about 3-4 out of every million people are affected.
Why do I need all my small intestines?
The small intestine absorbs nutrients from the food you eat. When the small intestine is shortened, food travels too quickly through the digestive tract and it is unable to absorb enough nutrients for your body to survive.
What are the signs that a person may have SBS-IF?
A shortened small intestine and gastrointestinal discomfort following surgery. Other signs of short bowel syndrome can include dehydration, fatigue, weight loss, and lowered blood hormone levels.
Can short bowel syndrome be cured?
There is no cure currently, but symptoms can be managed.
View Treatment Options
Is there a community I can join to connect with others with SBS-IF?
Yes, there are many options!
View Resources
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