What is the Connection Between Diabetes and Constipation?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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Not everyone is aware that people who suffer with diabetes are also at greater risk for developing constipation from time to time. The connection between diabetes and constipation often has to do with how profoundly the nerves have been affected by the disease, as well as the dietary habits of the individual. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with diabetes complications in a way that helps to lessen both the frequency and the severity of bouts with constipation.

Diabetes-related constipation can often develop due to the efforts of the individual to limit carbohydrates from his or her diet. This is especially true when the diabetic avoids goods that contain fiber as well as carbohydrates. The end result can be the over-consumption of foods with little or no carb content, such as cheese, that also tend to cause constipation when consumed in large amounts. Restoring some balance to the diet, such as consuming a limited amount of whole grain products while limiting the amount of dairy at each meal, can go a long way toward avoiding both diarrhea and constipation and ensuring regular and consistent bowel activity.


A combination of diabetes and constipation may also develop as the result of nerve damage. Over time, most diabetics tend to lose some of the responsiveness of nerve endings in different parts of the body. This can lead to less than optimum efficiency in the intestinal tract, which in turn triggers the constipation. When this is the case, use of medication under the direction of a physician can help compensate for the condition and alleviate some of the discomfort that comes from this dual manifestation of diabetes and constipation.

In some cases, the phenomenon of diabetes and constipation comes about because of the combination of medications that the individual currently takes on a daily basis. The origin of the issue may be a negative reaction to diabetes medication, or an interaction of that medicine with other products taken to manage other health woes. For example, constipation may develop if the individual currently takes a diabetic medication, something to control cholesterol, and a third over the counter or prescription drug to help with sleep. Working with a physician makes it possible to makes changes in the roster of medications so that the benefits are still obtained, but the side effect of constipation is no longer present.

Aging can also be the underlying cause of the combination of diabetes and constipation. This is because as diabetics age, the impact of the disease on a number of different bodily systems, including the colon and the nervous system, may increase. When this happens, care must be taken to work with a physician to find ways to compensate for the weakened system and make it possible to eliminate waste on a more regular basis.



Discuss this Article

Post 3

@burcinc-- In my case, the diabetic medications don't seem to cause issues. It's my other medication causing constipation. I just try to eat a lot of vegetables. They're really the only thing I can have freely to treat my constipation without affecting my blood sugar.

I do use laxative, but only when necessary. I also have to be careful that the laxative doesn't have sugar.

Living with diabetes is difficult by itself. But aging comes with its own set of problems, some of them aggravated by the effects of diabetes.

Post 2

I have type 2 diabetes and I'm experiencing the opposite. I often have diarrhea, not constipation. It's due to my anti-diabetic medication. Upset stomach, bloating and diarrhea are common side effects. From one aspect, I feel blessed that my diabetes is treatable with just a tablet. From another, I hate the side effects caused by the medication.

Post 1

I had started experiencing constipation often lately and couldn't understand why. I realized that in an effort to reduce high calorie foods rich in carbs, I also remove a lot of fiber from my diet. Many fruits with high glycemic index are also rich in fiber so limiting those didn't help either.

I'm not incorporating healthy, whole grains rich in fiber back into my diet. My doctor said that these won't raise my blood sugar quickly which is what I want. I'm also eating a lot of organic, plain yogurt. The live cultures in yogurt help the intestines function, so it fights constipation. I'm also having some fiber rich fruits in moderation. I have a cup of yogurt with them to make sure that my blood sugar is stable.

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