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Short Bowel Syndrome

Patients tell us what it’s like to live with short bowel syndrome (SBS), a rare gastrointestinal disorder.

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What is SBS?

Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is life-changing. It’s a rare, gastrointestinal disorder that can restrict patients’ lifestyles. But we’ve spoken to so many incredible patients who are strong, resilient and optimistic. SBS isn’t just a rare disease, it’s a challenge that can be overcome.

Physically, SBS is a disease that stops patients absorbing enough fluids and nutrients to stay healthy, causing malnutrition, diarrhoea and dehydration. However, there are lots of things that can ease symptoms. And extraordinarily, the body can adjust to having a shorter small intestine over time.1

This diagram shows how a patient with SBS struggles to get the fluid and nutrients they need from liquid and food as it ‘vanishes’ from the gut early on. Whereas, food and liquid remain in a normal bowel for longer, allowing the body to absorb all the nutrients that are needed.2

SBS Diagram

And what causes SBS?

SBS occurs when parts or all of the small intestines are removed or do not function as they should, because their short bowel is much shorter than it should be.

What is life like with SBS?

The effects of SBS can vary, and the severity will depend on the extent of intestinal loss. Those who have SBS will usually experience diarrhoea, which can have several associated problems such as weight loss, anaemia, liver and kidney problems.3,4 Therapy and treatment can be a big turning point for patients.

Astonishingly, the intestine can adapt and potentially recover meaning that, over time, SBS patients may be able to eat again and live a normal life.5

Related articles

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Thanks to my family and loved ones, who are my biggest support, I live life with a smile.

Gaucher Disease - Early Diagnosis



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