Can my diabetes cause constipation?
Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in people with diabetes, affecting about one in four patients. Your chances of having constipation increase to 50% if you have nerve problems due to diabetes.
Most constipation in people with diabetes is caused by failure of the nerves that control the muscles of the bowel or large intestine to work properly. Other possible causes include blockage by a large amount of hard, dry stool; low levels of thyroid hormone; or an undiagnosed tumor. If you have frequent problems, you should ask your health care team for a complete evaluation of your bowel, including thyroid hormone tests. This evaluation may include a diagnostic test called a barium enema or a procedure where a stomach and intestinal specialist (gastroenterologist) inspects your bowel with a fiber-optic viewing device (a colonoscope).
If it turns out that your constipation is caused by diabetes alone, then you may get relief by adding fiber to your diet (psyllium colloid) or a gentle laxative, such as docusate.
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