Complications of Short Bowel Syndrome

Common complications of short bowel syndrome include but are not limited to: Please note if you have any concerns about your own health to consult your health care professional.

  • Malabsorption of Nutrients: With a reduced surface area for nutrient absorption, individuals with SBS may struggle to absorb essential nutrients, leading to malnutrition.
  • Diarrhea: Malabsorption can result in diarrhea, which may be severe and lead to dehydration.
  • Weight Loss: Due to malabsorption and diarrhea, weight loss is a common complication of SBS.
  • Electrolyte Imbalance: Diarrhea can lead to the loss of electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium, causing imbalances that may affect various bodily functions.
  • Dehydration: Chronic diarrhea can result in dehydration, leading to weakness, dizziness, and other symptoms.
  • Fatigue: Malnutrition and dehydration can contribute to fatigue and weakness.
  • Liver Complications: SBS may lead to liver problems, including hepatic steatosis (accumulation of fat in the liver) and liver failure.
  • Bacterial Overgrowth: Changes in the anatomy and function of the intestine can lead to bacterial overgrowth, causing further digestive issues.
  • Kidney Stones: Malabsorption of calcium and oxalate can increase the risk of kidney stones.
  • Bone Health Issues: Reduced absorption of calcium and vitamin D may affect bone health, leading to conditions like osteoporosis.
  • Gastrointestinal Motility Issues: SBS can affect the normal movement of the intestines, leading to issues with gastrointestinal motility.

Management of short bowel syndrome often involves nutritional support, medications, and in some cases, surgical interventions. Individuals with SBS may require specialized diets, parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding), and close medical monitoring to address and manage these complications. It’s important for individuals with SBS to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their specific needs.