Tuesday, 19 Jan 2021

Type 2 diabetes: Are you experiencing diarrhoea? The lesser-known sign of the condition

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Type 2 diabetes can cause a range of symptoms in the body including frequent urination and blurred vision. Experiencing diarrhoea is a lesser-known warning sign of the condition. For a person with type 2 diabetes, having high blood sugar high could damage the tiny blood vessels and nerves in the body, including the digestive system. A speed-up or slow-down of the process in your intestines could result in diarrhoea.

About 22 percent of people with diabetes experience frequent diarrhoea, said Healthline.

The health site added: “Researchers are unsure whether this is related to issues in the small bowel or the colon.

“It’s unclear what causes persistent diarrhoea in people who have diabetes.

“Most people have experienced diarrhoea at one point in their lives.

“People with diabetes may often need to pass a significant amount of loose stool at night.

“Being unable to control a bowel movement, or having incontinence, is also common in people who have diabetes.”

In a study published in the American Diabetes Association, diabetes and diarrhoea was further analysed. 

The study noted: “Diabetic diarrhoea is a troublesome gastrointestinal complication of diabetes.

“This condition persists for several weeks to months, and it frequently accompanies faecal incontinence.

“The cause of diabetic diarrhoea is not fully understood, but autonomic neuropathy is thought to be an underlying mechanism.

“A 37-year-old man, who developed type 2 diabetes at 30 years of age, presented with watery diarrhoea in late February 2009.

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“The patient did not report abdominal pain or any other abdominal symptoms and had no signs of infectious disease. 

“Diabetes results in abnormalities of the enteric nervous system, such as loss of neurons containing nitric oxide synthase, which mediates gastrointestinal tract relaxation, and an increase in the enteric serotonin content, which regulates gastrointestinal tract contraction.

“An imbalance between the inhibitory and excitatory ENS could be one of the causes of diabetic diarrhoea.”

The study concluded that a change in the enteric nervous system expression level of serotonin or its receptor may be involved in the pathogenesis of diabetic diarrhoea.

Neuropathy is said to be another cause for diarrhoea being a symptom of type 2 diabetes.

Neuropathy refers to numbness or pain resulting from nerve damage.

When a person has diabetes, high blood sugar levels can damage the nerve fibres.

This generally occurs in the hands or feet, however issues with neuropathy are common causes for many of the complications that accompany diabetes including diarrhoea.

Researchers have also looked at the following possibilities of diarrhoea which include:

  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency
  • Faecal incontinence resulting from anorectal dysfunction
  • Celiac disease
  • An inadequate breakdown of sugars in the small intestine
  • Pancreatic insufficiency

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