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After you eat, food is broken down in your stomach. Then it passes into the small intestine where it is broken down even further. At this point, the intestine absorbs a lot of nutrients from the food you have eaten, and the nutrients flow into your bloodstream. When the intestine does not work well, people become dehydrated and malnourished. Small bowel transplantation can help patients who are not able to absorb enough food for adequate nutrition.
People who need a small bowel transplant may have these problems: ongoing diarrhea, poor growth, weight loss, fatigue, and dehydration.
A transplant may be needed because of "short gut syndrome". In this case, most of the person's intestine has been surgically removed because of infection, trauma, tumor, or disease. Other patients may have their entire intestine, it's not able to absorb enough fluids and nutrients. In some patients, the small bowel can't contract normally and move food through the intestine so a transplant is necessary.