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November 25, 2002


Question from Moulton, Alabama, USA:

For two months, my wife, who has had type 1 diabetes for 35 years, has had severe diarrhea, upset stomach, and vomiting. She is under the care of our family doctor who seems to be at a loss, and we've tried antibiotics, etc. Can prolonged diabetes cause this type of intestinal distress?


There is a condition called diabetic diarrhea. It is generally thought to be a form of neuropathy involving the gut, and severe, debilitating diarrhea can occur. The symptoms are also accompanied by gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach doesn’t empty well. I would suggest your wife speak to her physician about these conditions, get some feedback, and consider consultation with a gastroenterologist.