Can Diabetes Cause Constipation?
Diabetes can cause constipation and it is a result of high blood sugar levels resulting from type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This can lead to diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage. When the nerves controlling the digestive tract is damaged, it can lead to constipation. At least 50% of diabetes patients develop some kind of diabetic neuropathy at their later stages of diabetes. It ordinarily takes about 5 to 10 years for a diabetes patient to experience the early signs of diabetes neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can happen when someone has diabetes. It is when high blood sugar injures nerves throughout your body. Neuropathy from diabetes can result in numbness or pain and this depends on the nerves that are affected. This can occur in your feet or legs and also issues with your urinary tract, heart, digestive system, or blood vessels.
Some abnormalities occur as a result nerve damage and its common among the diabetics, but many people do not know that there are actually some other diabetic neuropathies that are very often mistaken as symptoms of other diseases. One of such abnormalities is constipation.
Diabetes causes constipation in two ways. First, is the frequent urination that causes the loss of body water or dehydration that increases the re-absorption of water from the colon, which produces very dry stool that is hard to be passed. The second one that causes constipation is due to neuropathy on the nerve tissues that control the bowel movement.
What is Constipation?
Constipation is when someone experiences less than three bowel movements within a week. This is usually known as the condition called constipation. Constipation likely occurs at least once in every individual’s lifetime. The symptoms of constipation include stools that are hard, dry, small in size, and are difficult to remove causing an individual to strain and feel bloated.
Nevertheless, constipation is typically not a serious condition and can be resolved with changes in diet or the occasional use of an over-the-counter laxative; chronic constipation can lead to other conditions including hemorrhoids, fecal impaction, rectal prolapse, or lazy bowel syndrome if an individual uses laxatives frequently.
Causes of Constipation
In order to understand the cause of constipation, it is important that you must, first of all, understand how the large intestine works when it comes to bowel movements. The large intestine is the second to last part of your digestive system and has an extremely important role to play in the digestive system. It is here that waste products from all the food that you eat are turned into stools. It can typically take 32 hours for the large intestine to complete its role in the digestive system.
Within your large intestine, water gets reabsorbed through the walls of your intestines, which then convert what waste remains, into solids that are passed as stools from your body. The large intestine then moves the stools through the rectum and the anus.
Constipation occurs when the stools take too long to pass through the large intestine. The longer that the stools stay here the more water is absorbed from them. This causes the stools to become hard and make them very difficult to pass through the rectum and anus causing you to become constipated.
An overweight person with type 2 diabetes or also called non-insulin dependent diabetes, still makes insulin inside the body, but it responds abnormally. The cells become insulin resistance, making it unable to absorb glucose from our blood. The excess glucose is stuck in our blood causing our blood sugar to rise sending the wrong signal to the pancreas to make even more insulin.
At long-term, the pancreas can falter because it is being overused that producing enough insulin to maintain our blood sugar to normal level seems impossible. Type 2 diabetes is hereditary and can be activated only by bad diet.
Signs of being diabetic are frequent urination, constant thirst and the feeling of weakness. The kidneys respond to the high glucose level by flushing out excess sugar through urine. Because of frequent discharge, fluids inside the body have been greatly diminished creating an urge to drink more water.
Excess glucose that cannot enter our cells reduces the possible energy that we can use. That’s why we feel tired if our blood sugar is high.
Bad diet or poor nutrition is a lifestyle that can cause health problems such as stress, constipation, memory loss, being overweight, and having diabetes. People that lack proper nutrition can develop anemia, which can trigger fatigue. Without a healthy diet, lack of fiber creates an inability to properly discharge waste products.
These wastes that are stuck inside our colon can become toxic which could return to our system creating a variety of illnesses. Too much sugar in our mouth can inhibit the growth of bacteria leading to gum diseases and too much cholesterol can inflame our brain resulting in memory loss. Only an overweight person with a bad diet can develop these symptoms resulting in a more serious complication such as diabetes.
The Most Common Causes of Constipation are:
- Poor eating habits such as lack of fiber in your diet
- Not drinking enough liquids such as water
- Taking iron supplements and other medications such as painkillers
- Having certain medical conditions such as muscle problems, diabetes, & stroke
- Lack of exercise – most often in the elderly and invalid
- Medications – constipation is often a side effect of medications
- Dairy products – milk and cheese often cause people to experience constipation
- Lacking of fluids – constipation may be caused by dehydration
- Illnesses – specific illnesses and diseases can possibly cause constipation. There are strokes that can cause certain parts of your body to be prevented from functioning correctly
- Disregarding the urge -if your body keeps repeatedly ignoring the urge to defecate
- Uneven eating patterns – you should be eating at approximately the same time each day in order to avoid constipation
- Tiredness – lack of rest can often cause constipation
- Stress – tension, nervousness and worry often cause constipation
Illnesses and Diseases
Often times, the cause of constipation is related to an illness or disease. In some cases, constipation is a side effect of the disease – or the disease causes debilitation of the organs needed for the digestive system to work properly. Some of the illnesses and diseases that can cause constipation are:
- Systemic disorders – such as lupus, scleroderma, and amyloidosis
- Neurological disorders – these include: stroke, MS, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s.
- Endocrine and metabolic conditions – examples are: diabetes, hypothyroidism, uremia, and poor glycemic control.
- Hirschsprung’s Disease
- Intestinal Obstruction
- Adhesions – or scar tissue
Lack of exercise and lack of a healthy diet can lead to many health problems. It is vital to maintain a healthy diet, as well as a regular exercise routine to eliminate the chances of constipation and other more serious illnesses.
Eating a healthy diet should also include monitoring your meals and portion control. Try to eat on the same schedule each day. It is necessary to chew your food well so that the digestive system does not have to work harder.
Common Treatments for Constipation
The majority of individuals who suffer from constipation are able to relieve their symptoms with dietary and lifestyle changes that include adding more foods that contain fiber to their diet including whole grains, beans, fresh fruit, bran cereal, and fresh vegetables including Brussels sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, and carrots.
Limiting or avoiding certain foods may also be recommended for individuals who experience chronic constipation such as processed foods, meat, cheese, ice cream, and foods that contain very little or no fiber. Increasing the intake of fluids is also commonly recommended for those who suffer from constipation as well as increasing physical activity.
Laxatives are sometimes recommended when the above methods are ineffective and come in many different forms including liquids, powder, and pills. However, laxatives should only be taken for a limited time as the overuse of laxatives can become habit forming and interfere with the colon’s ability to naturally contract.
In more severe cases, prescription medications may be prescribed to increase the fluids within the stool or biofeedback may be used which is a sensor that monitors the muscle activity and is displayed on a computer screen. A health care professional trained in reading biofeedback can then help the patient to retrain the muscles in the colon that are responsible for pushing the stool towards the rectum.
Possible Complications from Constipation
While most individuals who suffer from constipation will not experience any serious problems, sometimes complications can occur including the development of hemorrhoids due to straining. Hemorrhoids are the swelling or inflammation of the veins in the lower rectum and anus and can cause the symptoms of burning, itching, and bleeding.
Anal fissures can also occur with constipation and is the tearing of the skin that is located around the anus. It is also possible for a small portion of the intestinal lining to be pushed out from the opening of the anus due to straining.
This condition is called rectal prolapse and in chronic or severe cases may require surgery. If you are experiencing chronic constipation or have symptoms that concern you, you should consult with your physician for an evaluation and recommended a treatment plan.
Avoid These Food Items to Prevent and Treat Constipation:
* Red meat
* Fried foods
* Processed foods
* Instant mashed foods
* Wheat-based foods
* Chips and dried beans
Nevertheless, there are also other causes which are responsible for this problem and needs to be avoided:
* Drinking too much coffee, milk, and sodas
* Anxiety and suffering from diabetes
* Fatigue and consuming many protein-rich and processed foods
* Not drinking enough water and not chewing food completely
* Eating too much and not doing enough exercises
* Using too much supplements and ignoring fiber foods.
So can diabetes cause constipation? Of course it can! Diabetes is responsible for so many issues in our bodies. If you want to avoid the pain of constipation, then get those blood sugars down. They create nasty things like constipation and you don’t want that. Normal blood glucose levels are going to mean positive changes for you. Don’t wait! Get it done!
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