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Short bowel syndrome (SBS)

SBS is a non-allergic abdominal condition where more than 50 % of the small bowel is removed. Amino acid-based formulas might be beneficial to maintain a stable nutritional pattern and to help the abdominal area adapt to the damage.

Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) occurs when a significant portion of the small intestine is taken out. The small bowel is a very important part of the digestive process. It absorbs about 90% of the nutrients and fluids your body needs to function. Loss of any part of the small bowel reduces the area for absorbing key nutrients and fluids. The reaction of infants and children to the loss of any section of the small bowel varies and depends on the amount and the part of the small bowel that is lost. Children with SBS might be prescribed an amino acid-based formula by the doctor or dietitian in the hospital.


The nutritional therapy for SBS aims at achieving two things:

  1. Help the abdominal area adapt to the damage that has been done
    the bowel will adapt with time by growing longer, increasing its ability to absorb nutrients and to digest formulas and foods normally.
  2. Maintain nutritional stability
    this means that the bowel needs help with absorbing nutrients during the period of adaption.  Amino acid-based formulas do the trick by providing all the necessary nutrients required for a child’s growth and development in an easy to digest form.

Bines et al. JPGN 1998; 26: 123-128