When you have SBS, going out to eat may become complicated. Discover ways you can still enjoy the restaurant experience."

Dining Out with Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)"

Even with SBS, Dining Out can still be an Option

Hypothetical patient portrayal

When you have Short Bowel Syndrome, going out to eat can become complicated, but there are ways you can still enjoy the restaurant experience.

Dining Out with SBS


If you have any control of where you’re going, choose a restaurant that will accommodate your needs. Look over online menus and reviews to figure out which place will work best.

Things to consider when picking a restaurant

  • Are there tables available near the restrooms?
  • How close is it to home?
  • Is there anything on the menu I can order?
  • What will I do here if there is an emergency?
  • What kinds of non-alcoholic drinks do they offer?
  • What are their portion sizes like?

When you make your reservation, ask them for a table near the restrooms so they’re easily accessible. Know what you can eat and order ahead of time or bring your own meal with you. You can call the manager and ask specific questions about the menu, ask if the chef can make certain accommodations, and give them the heads-up if you need to bring your own food.

If you'd like to talk to the manager or wait staff about your situation, please see suggestions about how to talk about SBS with others. It can be awkward at first, but it can make planning a lot easier when you can talk comfortably about your situation with others.

Hear how SBS patient Norma adjusted her routine to make dining out enjoyable for her.

Stay in Control

Carefully decide ahead of time what you’ll order or bring (if anything). Don’t be afraid to ask about ingredients or preparation. Be as specific as possible so you’re sure to get the information you need to order. Servers are used to getting lots of questions and requests, so ask as many questions as you need to and don’t worry about bothering them.

The Oley Foundation offers helpful restaurant and bathroom cards on their website. These cards are small enough to fit in your wallet and quickly and discreetly inform others, such as waitstaff, about your situation. Find them by searching “card” in the search bar of the Oley Foundation home page.

When You Can’t Eat

It can be hard to go out with friends to a restaurant and then not be able to eat.

It’s normal to miss the taste and texture of certain foods (especially when people are eating around you). But it’s important to stick to your plan, remember how your body could respond to foods that aren’t part of your SBS diet, and learn to love the foods that are.

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