Oral eating is preferred whenever possible. Recommended diet components and balance of nutrients will vary in each person with SBS. A number of factors influence this including the resection site(s) and remaining bowel.

In the majority of people with short bowel syndrome the colon is intact. The general dietary guidelines for those with a colon involve a low fat, high carbohydrate diet. A diet that includes chopped, ground, or well chewed nutrient rich foods, with small frequent meals (up to 6-8 per day) is recommended. Fluids should be taken in between meals rather than with meals.

Concentrated sweet foods and liquids should be avoided; and foods high in oxalate limited to avoid kidney stones. Lactose restriction may help some individuals, as well as limiting alcohol, and caffeine.

With greater stool losses recommendations are for beverages formulated to replace fluid and electrolytes (isotonic). Oral rehydration solutions contain specific amounts of sodium, carbohydrate, and water, which increase fluid absorption in the small bowel.

Salty meals and/or snacks, plus a soluble fiber supplement can be helpful when the absorptive colon segment is present. In addition, a probiotic supplement and multivitamin and mineral supplements may also be advised. A supplement of pancreatic enzymes is often used to aid in digestion and help prevent gas and passing fat in stools (steatorrhea) when other measures are not effective. The type and dose of supplement advised will depend on the site and extent of surgical resection.

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