Can Diabetes Cause Diarrhea?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body either does not generate or cannot use the hormone insulin adequately. The pancreas produces insulin, which helps the body use glucose from foods.
If the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin properly, blood sugar levels increase and the body cannot use foods effectively. This can cause many complications in our system.
Diabetic complications are well known, but many people are not aware that diarrhea is one of them. Most people have experienced the unpleasant phenomenon that is diarrhea at one point or another in life. But while they may suffer for a day or two, they return to regular function. For people with diabetes, this is not always the case.
About 75% of people with diabetes are experiencing some form of gastrointestinal problems. Which can potentially have a big impact on your general well-being. With some cases leading to sleep disruptions and daily life dysfunction.
Can high sugar levels cause diarrhea?
If not managed and controlled, diabetes can cause a variety of complications. One of the side effects is diarrhea.
Sometimes you will still get diabetic diarrhea even though the blood sugar levels are well regulated. Unfortunately, conventional medications for treating diabetes can cause loose bowels. It is a common side-effect of some of the more popular medical treatments.
How do you stop diarrhea while having diabetes?
Diarrhea treatment depends on the cause. Once the cause is determined, the treatment is prescribed by the doctor. If diabetic diarrhea is caused by nervous system damage, it can be difficult to treat.
Managing high blood glucose levels can help to prevent further damage and diarrhea. If the underlying cause for irregular and painful bowel movements is bacterial overgrowth.
The treatment will aim to reduce the number of bacteria in the body. This will allow your body to heal. Continue reading to learn more.
What causes diarrhea in people with diabetes?
Diabetic diarrhea is also known as idiopathic diarrhea. It is a common complication of diabetes mellitus. It is more common in patients who have impaired insulin control. Patients with diabetes mellitus experience a wide range of gastrointestinal tract symptoms.
What is the link between diabetes and diarrhea?
While doctors have known about diabetic diarrhea since the 1930s, they are still unsure why it is so frequent. No single phenomenon has been pinpointed as the direct and unanimous cause of diabetic enteropathy in general, or diabetic diarrhea specifically. Here are some potential causes:
- High blood sugar levels cause diabetic enteropathy. This is causing nerve damage in the digestive system.
- The presence of increased sugar in the blood can lead to slower digestion, which can enable bacterial overgrowth in the small bowel.
- In some cases of long standing diabetes, the enteric nerves supplying the small intestine may be affected, leading to problems. This causes symptoms such as bloating, loose bowels, and central abdominal pain. Bacterial overgrowth syndromes can develop as a result of delayed emptying and stagnation of fluids in the small intestine, resulting in diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- People with diabetes are more likely to experience celiac disease. They can unknowingly ingest gluten and subsequently experience stomachaches and diarrhea.
- People with diabetes are more susceptible to exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or EPI. The pancreas produces not enough digestive enzymes, disrupting digestion and causing diarrhea.
- Some diabetes medications have diarrhea as a side effect when used long-term. These include popular treatment metformin. As well as GLP-1 receptor agonists, DPP-4 inhibitors, and statins. Metformin is in medicines many people take for type 2 diabetes.
- Sorbitol and other sugar alcohols, commonly in “diabetic approved foods,” can have a laxative effect. Leading to bouts of diarrhea and other symptoms.
- Some foods can cause diarrhea even to individuals who are not having diabetes. If you are having diabetic diarrhea, avoid spicy food, coffee, and dairy.
What are the gastrointestinal complications of diabetes?
Of all the complications of diabetes, gastrointestinal complications are the most challenging, and irritating you will have to contend with.
These can include esophageal dysmotility, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastroparesis, enteropathy, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and glycogenic hepatopathy and diabetic diarrhea - the latter being a major player.
Diabetic diarrhea may alternate with constipation and/or normal bowel function, making it difficult to differentiate from irritable bowel syndrome. But when it happens, it can keep you awake, and even result in stool incontinence.
Diabetic enteropathy is the term used to describe when these problems progress to large bowel dysfunction.
What are the characteristics of diabetic enteropathy?
Diabetic enteropathy is characterized by:
- A feeling of fullness after eating;
- Abdominal pain;
- Diarrhea and/or constipation.
What is the risk of having diabetic diarrhea?
The biggest risk of diabetic diarrhea is dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Dehydration can cause a decrease in strength and stamina.
It seems to be one of the most common causes of exhaustion. The state of dehydration can be life-threatening. You should be able to reverse dehydration by drinking more fluids.
Diabetic diarrhea: Treatment and prevention
It is highly recommended to ask your healthcare practitioner questions about your unpleasant bowel movements. They will help you identify a possible cause for it.
What can you do to maintain blood sugar levels in check and prevent diabetes diarrhea? Tips for coping with diabetic diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea or recurrent bouts of diarrhea may have a serious effect on your life.
First, make an appointment with your family doctor to determine whether you need antibiotics. Your medications or dietary habits should change.
Second, you must control your blood sugar levels to help prevent diarrhea and subsequent damage from worsening.
How to treat diabetic diarrhea?
Diarrhea can be distinctly unpleasant, but the majority of people can successfully handle it with rest and simple home remedies. If diarrhea persists for more than two days, see a doctor to prevent complications.
1.) Drink plenty of water
When it comes to healing from diarrhea, it is critical to stay hydrated. Diarrhea causes a fluid deficiency. Over time the body loses electrolytes such as sodium and chloride. It is important to replenish fluids to help your body recover.
An individual will become dehydrated if this is not done. Dehydration in children and older adults can be harmful, so encourage them to drink water if they are experiencing persistent diarrhea.
2.) Eat a recovery diet
Considering the BRAT diet and increasing your water intake can help balance your glucose levels. It will prevent dehydration and firm your stool. Eat plenty of:
When recovering from diarrhea, a diet of small, frequent meals may be preferable to three larger meals per day. For someone with diarrhea, a nutritious diet might include:
- Fruits high in pectin, such as apples, and potassium-rich foods, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes;
- Electrolyte-rich ingredients, such as miso soup and sports drinks;
- Bland, cooked vegetables;
- Adequate protein intake
3.) Consider probiotics
Probiotics are bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive system. They will assist the gut's functions and support in the battle against infection.
Some yogurts and other fermented foods contain probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeasts. Probiotic supplements are also available in natural food stores and online.
Probiotics will drastically reduce the time it takes to recover from diarrhea.
People at risk of complications, such as developing children and older adults, should also see a doctor for examination and diagnostics.
If diarrhea does not improve with time, talk to your doctor. The doctor might prescribe you over-the-counter medication or antibiotics.
When to see a doctor?
The following is some other reasons to see a doctor if you have diarrhea:
- Symptoms of dehydration, such as intense thirst and dry mouth blood or pus in bowel movements;
- Including loose bowels for more than two days;
- Diarrhea for a long time;
- Important weight loss due to diarrhea;
- Severe stomach ache.
Is diabetic diarrhea curable?
Diabetic diarrhea is curable. And before you experience diabetic diarrhea, you should take precautions to prevent it.
Keeping your blood sugars within your target range is one of the most important moves you can take. Maintaining a steady blood sugar level lowers the risk of neuropathy. Like autonomic neuropathy, which may lead to diabetic diarrhea.
Connect with our community
In the digital age, online support for diabetics is more readily accessible than ever before. Managing your diabetes can feel like a complex and isolating experience.
If you would like to talk to another person with type 2 diabetes join here.