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No matter where you are in your journey, being well-informed can help you create a plan as you move forward. So, of course, learn as much as you can from your healthcare team, talk with other people who understand your condition from firsthand experience — and then keep learning!

This site is intended for a U.S. audience.

The contents of this site are not intended for the purpose of disease diagnosis or as a substitute for information that is provided to you by your physician. You should always discuss your medical condition and any questions you have with your doctor.

Short bowel syndrome

Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a rare, chronic condition in which people are unable to absorb enough nutrients and fluids from what they eat and drink. Usually, patients at risk of SBS have undergone surgery to remove a large portion of their small or large intestine because of a primary disease or an injury.

What causes SBS?

The intestines absorb nutrients from food and drink. Usually, people who have SBS have undergone a surgery to remove a large portion of the intestine, limiting the amount of nutrient and fluids the remaining intestines are able to absorb. When this happens, people with SBS might have to receive nutrients and fluids from intravenous feeding. Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) refers to a type of intravenous feeding of nutrition.

Possible causes of surgical removal of intestines

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Bariatric or gastric bypass surgery complications
  • Trauma of the intestines
  • Vascular events
  • Cancer treatment resulting in removal of part of the bowel
Image of intact intestine

Intact Intestine

Image of resected intestine

Resected Intestine

What are the signs and symptoms?

Malabsorption associated with SBS puts patients at risk for diarrhea, dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and malnutrition.

How is SBS diagnosed?

A diagnosis is made based on a detailed patient history, thorough clinical evaluation, and a variety of specialized tests including lab tests and x-ray studies.

Image of intravenous feeding

It is estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 adults in the US require intravenous feeding at home due to SBS.

Where can I find support?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with SBS, you’re not alone. Connecting with others can give you a way to learn from others who have been where you are. Reach out and get involved!

Shire provides funding to some of the below organizations in support of efforts that include, but are not limited to: research, education, meetings/events and support.

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of patients affected by these diseases.

The Oley Foundation

The Oley Foundation serves patients on home parenteral (IV) and enteral (tube-fed) nutrition. Their website contains a variety of medical and practical information such as trouble shooting guides, travel tips, networking and educational opportunities, as well as printable tools.

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

A rare disease umbrella organization that provides advocacy, research, education and patient services in the US. See how they help and find out how you can get involved.

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD)

The IFFGD is dedicated to informing, assisting and supporting people affected by gastrointestinal disorders.

United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA)

UOAA promotes quality of life for people with ostomies and continent diversions through information, support, advocacy and collaboration. UOAA's website provides practical information and opportunities for peer support through affiliated groups.

The Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation

The Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation is a community made up of SBS patients, family members and healthcare providers. It continually strives to provide new and up-to-date information on the topic of SBS through education and support services.

Seattle always made me feel comfortable to contact her, and she gets me the product support information I need.

– Misa, OnePath Patient supported by Seattle

Seattle,
OnePath Patient Support Manager

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