Diagnosis of Short Bowel Syndrome
How do doctors diagnose short bowel syndrome?
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and your medical history, including whether you ever had surgery to remove part of the small intestine.
What tests do doctors use to diagnose short bowel syndrome?
For a blood test, a health care professional will take a sample of your blood and send it to a lab. Doctors may use blood tests to check the levels of vitamins and minerals. Blood tests may also show signs of complications.
A health care professional will give you a container for catching and storing the stool. You will receive instructions on where to send or take the container for analysis. Doctors may use stool tests to check how well the small intestine is working.
Doctors may order imaging tests to examine the small intestine or to check for signs of complications. Imaging tests may include
- x-rays, which use a small amount of radiation to create pictures of the inside of the body
- upper gastrointestinal (GI) series, which uses x-rays and a chalky liquid called barium to view your upper GI tract, including the small intestine
- computed tomography (CT) scans, which use a combination of x-rays and computer technology to create images
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
(NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.