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.

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 can help

EleCare and EleCare Jr are designed for both tube and oral feeding. They have protein in the form of free amino acids (the building blocks of protein), which are already broken down and are easily absorbed. Amino acid-based formulas such as EleCare and EleCare Jr may be useful in the dietary management of SBS.

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 Olivia overcome a potentially dangerous intestinal disorder, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).


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Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGIDs)

(EGIDs) are chronic digestive system disorders in which certain food proteins trigger an overproduction of eosinophils (white blood cells that help fight certain infections) in different areas of the digestive tract.

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Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)

Short bowel syndrome describes a group of problems affecting individuals who have lost the use of a major part of their small intestine.

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Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

FPIES is an immune reaction in the gastrointestinal system to one or more specific foods. It’s commonly characterized by profuse vomiting and diarrhea.

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Malabsorption and Other Conditions

Nutritionally complete, amino acid-based EleCare and EleCare Jr are helpful in the dietary management of a number of GI conditions that cause malabsorption issues.

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  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.

A Path to Exploring Insurance Coverage Options

EleCare may be eligible for insurance coverage. Our Pathway Plus specialists can help you navigate this process to determine if you have coverage and help connect you to a supplier for product delivery.

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Each health care provider is ultimately responsible for verifying codes, coverage, and payment policies used to ensure that they are accurate for the services and items provided. Providers should consult with the insurance plan for complete and accurate details concerning documentation for claims. Abbott does not guarantee reimbursement by any third-party insurance plan and will not reimburse physicians or providers for claims denied by third-party insurance plans.

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