Our body receives all the nutrients it needs for its development through food, which will be optimal when we consume adequate amounts of each dietary requirement. The process of digestion and absorption of food is quite complex: it begins in the mouth with chewing and ends in the large intestine, where liquids are mainly absorbed. The longest step in the digestive tract is the small intestine, responsible for absorbing practically everything usable.
Due to certain diseases, congenital problems, or surgeries, the number of nutrients absorbed in the intestine can decrease significantly, causing a condition that will require a special diet. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will introduce you to short bowel syndrome: treatment and suggested diet for those who suffer from it.
Table of Contents
What is short bowel syndrome?
Short bowel syndrome is known as a condition in which the small intestine, the portion of the intestine that is responsible for the absorption of a large majority of the nutrients in the diet, does not have a sufficient functional length, either due to the loss of a segment of the intestine or loss of function of said segment, which results in an alteration in the number of nutrients that are absorbed in the diet.
Short bowel syndrome: causes
In most cases, the loss of function of a segment of the intestine is caused by vascular problems that compromise its position, particularly in mesenteric ischemia. Little blood flow through the arteries that supply the intestine. Other causes of loss of function are, for example:
Crohn’s disease is also a cause of loss of intestinal segments due to their removal as part of the treatment, although it is less frequent every day. The appearance of tumors or cancer in the intestine also justifies its removal.
In children, its appearance is more frequent due to genetic alterations. The most common is volvulus, a condition in which there is torsion of the intestine that compromises its blood supply.
Symptoms of short bowel syndrome
The symptoms are directly related to the poor arrival of nutrients to the intestine, and the most common are the following:
- Fatigue: it is due to the low use of energy provided by food
- Diarrhea: as a result of the rapid passage of food through the small intestine
- Pale, fatty, and fetid stools: it is mainly due to the presence of fats in the seats, which have not been able to be absorbed in the small intestine.
- Weight loss: a consequence of waiting if the body cannot take advantage of all the nutrients it consumes.
- Dehydration: This is due to diarrhea, as it hastens the passage of food through the large intestine, where liquids are usually absorbed.
Short bowel syndrome: treatment
During recovery from this syndrome, the small intestine goes through an adaptation stage to compensate for the loss of its functional size. To promote healing, when the syndrome arises during a surgical procedure, a progressive transition is usually made from parenteral nutrition (intravenously) to enteral nutrition (through the nasogastric tube) and, finally, oral feeding.
Certain medications may contribute to the recovery from short bowel syndrome. The most useful may be antidiarrheal medications since they prolong the time that food remains in the intestine, which translates into more excellent absorption.
Medications may also be necessary to reduce the risk of gallstones or kidney stones, a complication of this disease due to the arrival of food elements to the large intestine that usually does not reach it or arrive in smaller quantities. Cholestyramine can decrease the risk of kidney stones and colecistoquina and ursodeoxycholic acid for gallstones.
Diet for short bowel syndrome
Because people with short bowel syndrome do not have the same ability to absorb food, it is easy to assume that they must have special diets to make the most of the intestine’s effort to perform its function.
One of the main modifications is that instead of eating three times a meal, meals should be divided into more portions to eat 5 or 6 times each day, since with less food at a time, the intestine is subjected to less stress. It is important to eat slowly and chew your food very well.
The amount of liquid ingested must also be taken care of since higher amounts make food pass through the intestine quickly. It is best to limit the liquid to half a cup with food and preferably consume it between meals.
Short bowel syndrome: allowed foods
The consumption of foods high in protein is recommended, such as:
- Chicken or turkey
- Beef, pork, or lamb
Foods high in complex carbohydrates :
- White rice
Foods that should not be eaten
Other foods should be avoided, among which we have:
- Simple carbohydrates like sugar, honey, cakes, and soda.
- Foods are rich in oxalates, such as spinach, cocoa, nuts, and beets.
- Alcohol consumption should be avoided.
This article is merely informative; at FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Short bowel syndrome: treatment and diet, we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.