People suffering from diabetes often complain of many stomach problems including diarrhea. Gastrointestinal problems like gallstones, peptic ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome are common problems for people suffering from long term diabetes. This systemic disease often wrecks havoc on many body parts including the digestive tract. This is one of the major causes of diabetic diarrhea which affects around twenty percent of diabetes patients.
Digestive system damage to the internal nerves or autonomic neuropathy and bacterial overgrowth can result in diabetic diarrhea. An inability to absorb colonic fluid secretions can lead to the problem. Sometimes some other digestive problems caused by diabetes such as irritable bowel syndrome can also lead to diarrhea in diabetic patients.
Increased stool frequency and volume along with high water content that remains persistent despite treatment measures are some of the common signs of this problem. Along with loose and watery stools the patient may also complain of abdominal cramps and fecal incontinence wherein a person is unable to control the bowel movement. In majority of the cases however diabetic diarrhea is painless and watery. If you suspect diabetic diarrhea then it is important to get aproper diagnosis and treatment immediately.
Diabetic Diarrhea Treatment
To reduce the symptoms of diarrhea and provide temporary relief to the patient the doctor may prescribe certain diarrhea medications. Loperamide and Lomotil are such antidiarrheal agents that can help in controlling the bowel movement. Antispasmodic medications like chordiazepoxide and hyosymine can be used to decrease the frequency and volume of stool movement.
Pepto Bismol or Bismuth subsalicylate can be prescribed to regulate the fluid movement in the intestines. It is important to note that these are short term treatment measures for diarrhea and for long term diabetic cure the doctor will need to provide both medications and diet changes
Along with medications for addressing diarrhea, antibiotics like tetracycline are prescribed in case of any bacterial overgrowth in the intestines. This is a long term treatment measure that can help provide relief for a longer duration.
Medications for diarrhea can provide only temporary respite to diabetic patients. To control the diarrhea the patient will need to keep the blood sugar levels in control and eat a high fiber diabetes diet. The foods containing high fiber can thicken the stool and thus lead to less watery bowel movement. High fiber vegetables like beans, broccoli, carrots, cabbage along with fruits like prunes, pears, oranges, apples and avocados can help in improving diabetic diarrhea. Other high fiber foods include cereals, whole wheat breads and nuts.
Along with the foods, high water intake is also recommended as the body tends to loose water during diarrhea. Avoid caffeine and other sugary liquids that can cause dehydration and also increase the blood glucose levels. Fiber supplements like Citrucel can also provide relief from persistent diabetic diarrhea.
Controlling the blood sugar with medications and diet changes is also crucial as it can keep the diarrhea in check. If these treatment measures fail to provide the adequate relief then consult a gastroenterologist.