Speak honestly with your healthcare providers about your medical situation including short bowel syndrome and ensure everyone is on the same page."

Talking with Your Doctor About Short Bowel Syndrome"

Talking openly with your healthcare team is more important than ever

Norma, a patient
living with SBS

With a Short Bowel Syndrome diagnosis, speaking with all of your healthcare providers is the first step toward taking charge of your healthcare.



YOUR SBS HEALTHCARE TEAM

Management options for SBS can be varied and complex. There are many factors that make your situation unique, and the location and amount of bowel remaining after surgery could impact your individual SBS treatment plan.

Everyone’s healthcare needs are different, so healthcare teams are not typically one and the same. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about what other healthcare professionals you should work with. Many SBS healthcare teams consist of a primary care doctor, surgeon, registered dietitian and home healthcare providers. Together, this group of people can help determine which healthcare strategies are best for you.

The Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation also offers additional information about healthcare teams that can be helpful to consider.

In addition to healthcare professionals, you may also have people in your life who emotionally and/or physically support you. We generally call these people caregivers. These people can provide both emotional and physical support and make up an important part of your SBS healthcare team.

Learn how TO FIND ADDITIONAL SUPPORT IN ONLINE COMMUNITIES.

Kevin, a patient
living with SBS
A short bowel syndrome (SBS) patient, Norma

“IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO SPEAK OPENLY WITH YOUR DOCTORS AND YOUR HEALTHCARE TEAM, BECAUSE THEY CAN'T READ YOUR MIND. THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG UNLESS YOU TELL THEM. TRY TELLING THEM SPECIFICALLY WHAT'S WRONG AND HOW YOU FEEL, OTHERWISE THEY DON'T KNOW.”

- NORMA, SBS Patient

SBS Management Goals

Some people with SBS may not be able to get the necessary nutrition or fluid they need from their diets, so the primary healthcare goal is often to ensure adequate nutrition and fluid for the body to function correctly.

Most healthcare teams will also focus on treating and preventing complications associated with SBS and/or the unpleasant symptoms of the syndrome.

Whatever your situation, it’s important to discuss your health and lifestyle priorities with all members of your SBS healthcare team to create a unified plan of action.

Complete and print the SBS Patient History Tracker and take it to your next doctor’s appointment to address additional aspects of your treatment and goals.

A Patient's Guide to Managing a Short Bowel by Carol Rees Parrish, MS, RD.

To learn more about the goals of SBS management, talk to your doctor and sign up to receive a copy of A Patient’s Guide to Managing a Short Bowel by Carol Rees Parrish, MS, RD.

Potential Members of Your Healthcare Team

  • Colorectal surgeon
  • Gastroenterologist, or GI
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician assistant
  • Primary care physician
  • Registered dietitian
  • Registered nurse
  • Registered pharmacist
  • Caregivers
  • Other

Common Management Goals

  • Ensure adequate nutrition and fluid intake
  • Treat and prevent complications
Short bowel syndrome (SBS) patient asking for help

Asking for help isn’t always easy. But it can be helpful to speak openly with your doctor and healthcare team about all aspects of your treatment plan. Bring a completed SBS Patient History Tracker to your next appointment to address your situation.

Sign up for EDUCATIONAL EMAILS and a complimentary book, A Patient's Guide to Managing a Short Bowel.