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"Small Intestine - what are the effects of removing part of the small intestine?"


I'm a middle aged man with Crohn's disease, and I'm trying to evaluate my options. One part of my small intestine is so damaged that the prospect of removing it has been raised by my doctors. If I do this, what kind of long-term effects (on my nutrition, lifestyle, etc) can I expect?


Crohn's disease is a difficult condition that often does end up requiring surgery. The doctors who will be best able to discuss this issue with you in greater detail include your primary care doctor and your gastroenterologist. Crohn's disease does often end up requiring the removal of a section of intestine.

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This is often put off as long as possible, because there is no guarantee that the Crohn's will not recur in another place, subsequently also requiring surgery. If you just have one small section of small intestine removed, the impact it will have on your lifestyle and nutrition will be quite minimal after the immediate recovery period. In fact you will probably feel great initially with the diseased piece of bowel removed. The risk comes from needing multiple surgeries of your life, with increasingly shorter segments of intestine left to digest food. At this point, nutrition can become a big issue, as both micronutrients and calories are not absorbed well. As always the management of your Crohn's disease is best done in collaboration with the gastroenterologist who has been following your situation closely. Setting up a visit with them to discuss your options is advised.

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