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How is Short Bowel Syndrome Treated

The aims of treatment for short bowel syndrome (SBS) are to promote adaptation and get the best use out of the existing bowel, maintain adequate nutritional status, and manage symptoms and complications. Complications can arise not only as a result of the underlying condition, but also in connection with treatments.

The ultimate goal is for the patient to resume daily life as well as possible. Treatment involves some combination of:

  • Nutrition and dietary strategies
  • Managing gastric acid secretions, bacterial overgrowth, bile salt malabsorption, and diarrhea
  • Medications
  • Surgery

Treatment of short bowel syndrome begins immediately after bowel loss. It starts with restoring fluid and electrolyte balance and quickly progresses to nutritional support.

Nutritional support includes individualized meal plans and may involve the use of supplements, oral rehydration solutions, enteral nutrition, or parenteral nutrition.

Treatment will often include medications, and in some instances surgery. In situations where all other treatment approaches have failed, intestinal transplant is considered. The course of treatment will depend on how well the bowel is able to support individual fluid and nutrient needs.

You can take part in a treatment study

Participants are being sought to take part in studies on treating short bowel syndrome.

Take Part in Clinical Studies

Working with Your Doctor

patient doctor

Successful relationships with healthcare providers are an important part of managing life with a long-term digestive disorder.

Doctor–Patient Communication

How to Help Your Doctor Help You

How to Talk to Your Doctor