Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)

Ordinarily, digested food, water, and nutrients are absorbed into the walls of the small intestine and then carried by the bloodstream to other parts of the body.

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What causes SBS?

Short bowel syndrome describes a group of problems affecting individuals who have lost the use of a major part of their small intestine. This syndrome often occurs after bowel resection surgery in which a portion of the intestine is removed. After bowel surgery, patients — especially infants — often have difficulty absorbing all of the nutrients they need.

Common SBS symptoms:

Chronic diarrhea, which can result in:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Failure to thrive

Immediately after bowel surgery, most patients must be fed parenterally. However, it is important to get the bowel working properly again by shifting as quickly as possible to tube feeding directly into the small intestine.

Enteral feeding encourages a process called intestinal adaptation, in which the bowel begins to grow larger and is able to absorb more nutrients. This bowel growth is essential to your child's long-term ability to absorb nutrients from food.

How to manage SBS

Nutrition management varies according to the severity of the disease. In addition to dietary changes, patients may need to supplement with vitamins and minerals to meet daily nutritional needs.

Did You Know?

Intestinal adaptation can take up to two years to occur after removal of a portion of the small intestine.1

How EleCare® and EleCare® Jr may help

EleCare and EleCare Jr are nutritionally complete, hypoallergenic, amino acid-based formulas. Both support growth when used as the primary source of nutrition.2,3,* EleCare is clinically shown to significantly improve symptoms in infants and children with malabsorption issues and short bowel syndrome.4,* 

For more information about SBS, check out:

The Oley Foundation

The Oley Foundation gives people living with home intravenous nutrition and tube feeding the tools and confidence they need to achieve normalcy in their lives.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

NIDDK conducts and supports research on many of the most common, costly, and chronic conditions to improve health.

Olivia’s Story

Learn how EleCare helped support Olivia's nutrition during a potentially dangerous intestinal disorder.

Other Conditions

Food Allergies

Your child is not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that 4 out of every 100 children in the US have food allergies.5

Malabsorption and Other Conditions

Malabsorption means that a child's body has trouble absorbing nutrients from food.

Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGIDs)

EGIDs are chronic digestive system disorders in which certain food proteins trigger an overproduction of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) in different areas of the digestive tract.

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

FPIES is a non-IgE-mediated food allergy. It's commonly characterized by profuse vomiting.

References: 1. US Department of Health and Human Services. Short Bowel Syndrome. NIH Publication No. 09-4631. February 2009. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Accessed August 20, 2019. 2. Sicherer SH, et al. J Pediatr. 2001;138(5):688-693. 3. Borschel MW, et al. Clin Pediatr. 2013;52(10):910-917. 4. Borschel MW, et al. BMC Pediatrics. 2014;14:136. 5. Branum AM, Lukacs. Food allergy among US children: Trends in prevalence and hospitalizations. NCHS data brief, No. 10. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics website. Published October 2008. Accessed March 20, 2024.