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Short Bowel Syndrome

Short bowel syndrome is a medical condition that affects the small intestine. The bowels of a human body are composed of two parts, the colon or the large intestine and the small intestine. With short bowel syndrome, a large part of the small intestine has been removed. Without this part, the body can’t get enough nutrients it needs from the food you eat. This will lead to diarrhea which can be dangerous if no treatment is given.

Treatment includes making sure you are getting the right nutrition and managing the symptoms. Individuals with the disorder have lead active lives.

Gradually, your body will eventually adjust to having a shorter intestine and may eventually take fewer medications. The important thing is, you just need to stick to the treatment plan and the get the support you need.


For adults, the normal length of the small intestine is about 20 feet. In individuals with short bowel syndrome only about 10 feet of their small intestine missing or removed. There are many possible reasons why the condition occurs. Some individuals are born with bowel problems that damage parts of their bowels, while others are just born with the condition. But often most cases are attributed to surgery where a large part of their small intestine is removed.

Surgically removing some parts of the small intestine is a part of treatment for the following conditions:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Cancer treatment damage such as radiation therapy
  • Bowel injury


The most common and the main symptom of short bowel syndrome is diarrhea that won’t go away. Additional symptoms are:

  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

Because your body is having trouble getting the nutrients your body need, several complications may arise such as:

  • Anemia
  • Easy bruising
  • Fatty liver
  • Gallstone
  • Kidney stones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Inability to eat certain foods

To learn more about Short Bowel Syndrome, please visit the following links:

If you think you are suffering from Short Bowel Syndrome you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Short Bowel Syndrome as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).