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July 30, 2002

Complications

Question from Sun City, Arizona, USA:

Are diarrhea and/or constipation a complication of long term brittle type 2 diabetes?

Answer:

Gastroparesis is a complication of diabetes that may manifest itself with symptoms of diarrhea and/or constipation such as you have described. Gastroparesis is damage to the autonomic nervous system, specifically the nerves that affect function of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon, etc.) This can affect secretion of stomach acids, motility (movement of food through the digestive tract), and absorption.

Frequent small meals and treatment with medications should assist the patient with gastroparesis. Improved diabetes management should be an important part of this treatment as well and may need to involve careful timing of insulin injections/medications to improve matching of peak action/need.

Talk to your physician and healthcare team about whether any of these are a consideration in your situation.

DMW