diabetic neuropathy poop

How Your Diabetic Neuropathy May be Affecting Your Poop

Diabetic neuropathy is the type of neuropathy that has been the most associated with gastro-intestinal problems and may potentially lead to serious problems.

 By Shiraz Abbas

Diabetic neuropathy has been associated with a lot of serious affects, including a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. It has also been associated with loss of sight.

What is lesser known is that diabetic neuropathy is also associated with gastro-intestinal problems. In other words, it’s known for affecting how you poop.

So how does this work? As diabetes, or high blood sugar damages the nerves in your body, some of these nerves happen to be in your digestive system. Your digestive system, including your colon, is controlled by a vast array of nerves.

The damage done to your nerves can often cause constipation or diarrhea. Diarrhea seems to be the most common problem as nerve damage prevents your colon from soaking up fluid and hence leading to wet stools.

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Diabetic neuropathy is not always the direct cause of gastro-intestinal problems. Sometimes they come as side-effects of the medication people take. WebMD writes:

Metformin is in medicines many people take for type 2 diabetes. It helps lower your blood glucose and makes your body more sensitive to insulin, but it can also cause nausea and diarrhea when you first start taking it or raise the dose. Those side effects usually go away in a few weeks.

There is also another lesser known reason as to why people with diabetic neuropathy get diarrhea. People with this disease often substitute sugar with sugar-free sweeteners like maltinol, sucralose, etc. These sweeteners have been known to cause diarrhea. WebMD write that

They’re from a family of compounds called sugar alcohols. Because your body doesn’t break them down and absorb them completely, they pull extra water into your intestines.

Diarrhea can also come from celiac disease. Many people with diabetic neuropathy often have celiac disease and as such, have reduced fiber intake which make affect the quality of their poop.

If your diabetic neuropathy is affecting your poop, you may want to consult with a GI doctor in addition to your neurologist.


Shiraz Abbas
 is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.

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