The main cause of short bowel syndrome is surgical removal of half or more of the small intestine to treat intestinal diseases, injuries, or defects present at birth.
In newborns, short bowel syndrome may occur following surgery to treat conditions such as
• necrotizing enterocolitis, a condition that occurs in premature infants and leads to the death of bowel tissue
• congenital defects of the bowel, such as midgut volvulus, omphalocele and gastroschisis, jejunoileal atresia, internal hernia, and congenital short bowel
• meconium ileus, a condition associated with cystic fibrosis
In children and adults, short bowel syndrome may occur following surgery to treat conditions such as
• intussusception, a condition in which part of the intestine folds into another part of the intestine
• Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease
• bowel injury from loss of blood flow due to a blocked blood vessel
• bowel injury from trauma
• cancer and damage to the bowel caused by cancer treatment
Short bowel syndrome can also be caused by disease or injury that prevents the small intestine from functioning as it should despite a normal length.
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