Q: I have an issue that I never see attended to. I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 36 years and been detected as having diabetic diarrhea. Numerous tests have actually eliminated all other gastrointestinal issues. Exists any treatment for this problem?
A: Individuals with diabetes may, obviously, establish diarrhea for a range of reasons, similar to anybody else. Diarrhea is a symptom of numerous illness such as viral or bacterial infections, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease. It is a side effect of some medications, such as metformin, and some sugar-free sweeteners can cause diarrhea in some people.
- About 22 percent of people with diabetes experience regular diarrhea.
- People with diabetes often have to pass a substantial quantity of loose stool during the night.
- The cause for this connection isn’t clear, however research suggests neuropathy may be an underlying element.
Read more about Metformin and Diarrhea
However, diarrhea can also be a symptom of a kind of free neuropathy. This is what is known as diabetic diarrhea. Although this condition is not unusual, the medical diagnosis is usually made only after an in-depth history and diagnostic tests reveal no other cause for the diarrhea.
Unlike the more extensively understood peripheral sensory neuropathy, which affects the hands and feet, free neuropathy damages the nerves that manage involuntary activities of the body. More commonly recognized types of autonomic neuropathy include impotence and orthostatic (or postural) hypotension, the sensation of light-headedness or lightheadedness you obtain from standing after lying or taking a seat.
Diabetic diarrhea happens normally in the evening, is watery and pain-free, and can be related to fecal incontinence. Bouts of diarrhea can be episodic, in addition to intermittently normal bowel practices or even alternating with periods of constipation.
The treatment for diabetic diarrhea is individualized, but it usually starts with antidiarrheal agents such as Lomotil (a mix of diphenoxylate and atropine) or Imodium (loperamide). High-fiber foods or bulk-forming laxatives such as Metamucil may help reduce the symptoms. As with all neuropathies, great glucose control is important in controlling the symptoms.
Your doctor might order antispasmodic medications to decrease the frequency of bowel movements. If bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tracts is believed to exist, antibiotics may be ordered. Medications like clonidine or octreotide, which have other primary uses but have been revealed to assist diarrhea, can be used in more advanced cases that do not respond to other treatments. Although your medical care doctor or endocrinologist can start treatment for diabetic diarrhea, a referral to a gastroenterologist might be shown when basic treatments are inefficient.