Short Bowel Syndrome – Symptoms and Treatments that we should not ignore. Also, Short Bowel Syndrome occurs when a person is unable to absorb nutrients from food properly due to problems with the small intestine. This could be due to a serious illness or they may have had surgery to remove a significant proportion of the bowel.
The most common causes of Short Bowel Syndrome in infants are abnormalities in the way the intestine has developed and necrotizing enterolithiasis. In adults, common causes include Crohn’s disease and traumatic injury.
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Causes of Short Bowel Syndrome: The most common causes of Short Bowel Syndrome include:
- Small Intestine Malfunction: Severe abnormality in the way the small intestine works. This can be caused by a condition or disease such as intestinal pseudo-obstruction, in which the intestine is unable to move food and fluid along its length normally and food absorption is compromised.
- Bowel Surgery: May be needed to remove a significant proportion of the small intestine due to disease or malformation.
Conditions that may require small bowel surgery include:
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis: A condition that tends to strike newborns, particularly premature babies, for unknown reasons. The decreased blood supply to the intestinal walls results in the death of the intestinal lining. The dead tissue must then be surgically removed. About a third of babies with this condition will die despite medical treatment.
- Intestinal Malformation: Failure of the intestine to develop properly.
- Crohn’s Disease: A condition that causes full-thickness inflammation of the intestinal wall and can target any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus , for unknown reasons. If the small intestine is affected, the absorption of food nutrients will be impaired.
Symptoms of Short Bowel Syndrome: The main symptom of Short Bowel Syndrome is diarrhea that does not go away. You or your child may also have:
Since your body has trouble getting nutrients and vitamins from food, it can also cause:
- Anemia (insufficiency of red blood cells).
- Easy bleeds.
- Fat liver .
- Kidney stones .
- Bone pain and osteoporosis (thinning and brittle bones).
- Problem eating certain foods.
- Getting a Diagnosis.
If you are experiencing any symptoms and have had much of your small intestine removed, your doctor may already suspect Short Bowel Syndrome . Sure enough, he’ll do a physical exam and be able to run other tests, including:
- Blood tests.
- Stool examination.
- X-rays of your chest and belly.
Upper GI series, also called barium X-ray. You will drink a special liquid that builds up your throat , stomach and small intestine to make them stand out in the X-ray image. CT scan, a powerful X-ray that makes detailed images inside your body ultrasound, which uses sound waves to make images of your organs
Bone Density Test: Liver biopsy, when doctors remove a piece of tissue to test. Most of the time, doctors make a small cut in the belly and use a hollow needle to get the cells they need. They use a CT scan or ultrasound to see where to put the needle.
The biopsy takes about 5 minutes, but you may need a few hours to recover. Along with the tests, your doctor will likely also ask you questions about your symptoms, such as:
- How are you feeling.
- When did your symptoms start?
- You have other medical conditions.
- How are the energy levels.
- You are having some diarrhea .
- You have problems after eating certain foods.
- What improves symptoms? What makes them worse?
Treatment of Short Bowel Syndrome: Treatment has two goals, to relieve your symptoms and give you enough vitamins and minerals. The type of treatment you receive depends on the severity of your condition. For mild cases, you will need several small meals a day, along with extra fluids, vitamins, and minerals. Your doctor will likely also give you diarrhea medicine .
Treatment is the same for moderate cases, but every now and then, you may need extra fluids and minerals through an IV. For more serious cases, you can get an IV feeding tube instead of eating meals. Or, you may have a tube placed directly into your stomach or small intestine. If your condition improves enough, you can stop tube feeding.