Individuals with Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) frequently encounter weight loss and diminished energy levels, leading to fatigue. Meanwhile, infants and children affected by SBS exhibit challenges in growth and developmental milestones. The signs and symptoms manifest as a consequence of malnutrition due to the body’s inability to effectively absorb essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Typically, the following symptoms may manifest at any time, with exacerbations indicating inadequate nutritional management:

-Pale and greasy stools

-Particularly unpleasant odor in stools

-Aggravation of diarrhea


-Weight loss


-Confusion or lethargy (associated with overgrowth)

-Presence of blood in stools

-Increasing abdominal distention

Physical Findings may include:

-Skeletal Muscle Atrophy

-Abdominal Distension

-Peristaltic Splash Eliciting the Presence of Fluid-Filled Bowel Loops (Observable and Palpable Fluid Shifts from One Lateral Abdominal Side to Another in a Standing Child)

-Scar Tissue from Prior Surgical Interventions

-Individuals Exhibiting Severe Protein and Energy Malnutrition May Demonstrate Temporal Wasting, Digital Muscle Mass Loss, and Peripheral Edema

-Cutaneous Manifestations Include Dryness and Flakiness of the Skin, Prominent Nail Ridges, and Blunted or Atrophic Lingual Papillae

-Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency Involving Linoleic and Linolenic Acid Results in Growth Retardation, Dermatitis, and Alopecia

-Vitamin A Deficiency Presents with Corneal Ulcerations and Impaired Night Vision

-Generalized B Complex Vitamin Insufficiency can Manifest as Stomatitis, Cheilosis, and Glossitis

-Vitamin B-1 Deficiency is Linked to Edema, Tachycardia, Ophthalmoplegia, and Depressed Deep Tendon Reflexes

-Vitamin B-6 Deficiency may Induce Peripheral Neuropathies and Seizures

-Peripheral Neuropathy is also a Feature of B-12 Deficiency

-Vitamin D Depletion is Associated with Rickets/Osteoporosis Features

-Severe Vitamin E Deficiencies can Lead to Ataxia, Edema, and Depressed Deep Tendon Reflexes

-Vitamin K Deficiency’s Physical Manifestations are Hemostatic Derangements, Including Petechiae, Ecchymoses, Purpura, or Overt Bleeding Diatheses

-Iron Deficiency Presents with Physical Clues such as Pallor, Spooned Nails, and Glossitis

-Zinc Deficiency is Characterized by Angular Stomatitis, Impaired Wound Healing, Alopecia, and a Scaly Erythematous Rash Around the Mouth, Eyes, Nose, and Perineum


-Reduced Serum Zinc Concentration, Coupled with Decreased Serum Alkaline Phosphatase, Suggests Severe Zinc Deficiency, Resulting in Poor Growth and Impaired Intestinal Adaptation

-Magnesium Deficiency Manifests through Symptoms of Fatigue, Depression, Muscle Weakness, and Excitability