How does diabetes cause constipation?

Diabetes can be a possible cause of constipation. Many people with diabetes suffer from constipation as a result of their condition. Constipation occurs when there is difficulty in passing stools or having just one or two bowel movements in a week. The symptoms include straining to pass stools, having hard stools and a feeling of incomplete evacuation.

The link between diabetes and constipation
People with diabetes are unable to process the hormone insulin effectively or produce it in sufficient quantities. This increases the level of blood sugar in their body. Diabetes can become a cause of constipation due to several reasons.

  • Hormonal imbalance can affect the fluid balance in the colon and the entire body. When there is any issue with the production and processing of insulin, it can cause a disturbance in the fluid balance of the body. Insufficient fluids in the colon and the stools can cause constipation.
  • Diabetes also causes damage to the nerves. When diabetes adversely impacts nerves in the intestines, the bowel movements can become slow. This problem can cause many digestive problems including mild to severe constipation.
  • Some diabetes medicines can also contribute to slow bowel movements. Over a prolonged period, this problem can become a cause of constipation.
  • Poor diabetes management causes extreme fluctuations of blood sugar levels. Over a period, these fluctuations and inefficient control of blood sugar can increase a person’s risk of diabetes.

Treatment options
When diabetes is the cause of constipation, simple remedies may not always work.

  • For treating constipation caused by diabetes, effective management of your blood sugar levels is probably the best possible option. When blood sugar is properly controlled, you can prevent nerve damage and other complications of diabetes that affect bowel health.
  • Refrain from using nonprescription laxatives to treat your constipation. Some laxatives can interfere with diabetic drug absorption in the body and worsen the condition.
  • Also, follow your doctor’s recommendations for your diet. A high-fiber diet that is useful in treating constipation may not work well when the blood sugar levels are out of control.

If you have diabetes, consult your doctor regarding the best ways to maintain good bowel health.


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