Gut problems in diabetes

Gut problems in diabetes

We are all familiar with gut troubles to a varying extent. For some of us it be the occasional bloating or a bit of wind, but for others it can be debilitating diarrhoea and severe stomach pain. If you are living with diabetes and struggle with tummy trouble on a regular basis, this could potentially be down to many different reasons such as…

  • Something unrelated e.g. IBS and other bowel conditions
  • Coeliac disease which is more prevalent in type 1 diabetes
  • Due to side effects of medication, metformin for example can cause some symptoms when it is first started but this usually settles down
  • Problems with the pancreas e.g. pancreatitis and pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI)

A lack of enzymes? 

PEI is more common in diabetes than is often realised. It can develop when the pancreas does not work properly. This means it does not produce enough enzymes which are required to digest food. The food is therefore not properly digested which can cause symptoms and other problems.

Symptoms and signs:

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pale stools which are difficult to flush
  • Wind and bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Erratic blood sugar levels

You can be tested for PEI by providing a stool sample. If the problem is detected, your doctor can prescribe enzymes in tablet form to be taken with food. The condition can be managed well with proper treatment and advice from a dietitian. 

Learn more at GUTS Charity