Can Diabetes Cause Constipation? – How to Fight Constipation

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.

Woman With Constipation
Woman With Constipation

Diabetes and Constipation

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.

Large Intestine
Large Intestine

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:

Junk Food
Junk Food
  • 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.
  • Diverticulosis
  • Hirschsprung’s Disease
  • Cancer
  • Intestinal Obstruction
  • Tumors
  • Adhesions – or scar tissue
  • Medications

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. And you should chew slowly.

Common Treatments for Constipation

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables

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. These will all help you.

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. The sooner you get started the better.

Avoid These Food Items to Prevent and Treat Constipation:

Fast Food
Fast Food

* Cheese

* Pizza

* Cookies

* Red meat

* Fried foods

* Processed foods

* Instant mashed foods

* Wheat-based foods

* Ice-cream

* Milk

* Cookies

* Chips and dried beans

* Pastries

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.

Final Thoughts

So, Can Diabetes Cause Constipation? Yes 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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Home » Health Tips » Can Diabetes Cause Constipation? – How to Fight Constipation

Rob Sciubba

Rob Sciubba - Founder of

Rob is an blogger who has type 2 diabetes and wants to spread the word treating diabetes. For the past 3 years he has provided valuable information about diabetes and lowering blood sugars and continues to offer additional ways to treat diabetes.

If you’re serious about treating your diabetes and lowering your blood sugars the natural ways, then you will learn from his website.

20 thoughts on “Can Diabetes Cause Constipation? – How to Fight Constipation”

  1. My mother in law, who lives with us, has diabetes and does sometimes suffer from constipation.  Her doctor prescribed her Linzess, but her insurance won’t cover it and there is no generic. I’ve told her to drink more water and try to get some exercise, but she just won’t listen.

    I never thought of coffee being a cause of constipation, she thinks it helps her get going in the morning (literally).  I’m going to suggest cutting it down, along with some of your other suggestions.

    Thank you.

    • Hey James,

      Sorry to hear that your mother-in-law has diabetes but that can also cause constipation.

      Drinking more water and getting exercise will certainly help. But you can’t make anyone do anything.

      It’s nice that you care to help her. Maybe by reading my article, it might help her.

      Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. Rob Sciubba, Hi!  Your article delighted me with the high professionalism of the doctor. You gave the reader all the necessary ideas about the disease. Constipation is a disease. 

    You have comprehensively explained the issues of prevention and everyday behavior of the patient. 

    I respect your professional ethics.You have not consented to the recommendations of drugs. 

    Your article is valuable and I will put it on my personal mailing list. Thank you. Mark

    • Hey Mark 🙂

      Thank you so much for saying! I always try and cover everything when it relates to diabetes and blood sugars.

      Constipation is not something anyone wants to go through but especially when diabetes can cause it.

      As with treating diabetes, I don’t recommend medications if natural ways can be used to treat a situation such as constipation.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

  3. Hello and thank you fro this informative and thorough review. I had an amazing time reading it. I really like your writing style. This is my first time on your blog and let me tell you, it is definitely not the last. I had constipation problems when I was younger and let me tell you, this thing is so annoying. 

    This was caused because of my unhealthy diet and also genetics. At least this is what the docotors said. However, when I finished adolescence this problem slowly started to go away. I started getting more exercise and I started eating different food and more healthier food. 

    These two combined gave me the results I needed.

    Thank you so much.


    • Hi Strahinja 🙂

      Thank you so much for saying! Constipation can be one very annoying condition, especially if it’s from diabetes. Nobody wants to experience this.

      I feel for you for going through this as a child.

      And it always about unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise a lot.

      Sometimes it seems we have to learn things the hard way. It’s good that you are okay now.

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. This was such an informational read and I can’t thank you enough! I’ve read another of your posts before (I think it was about a home-made granola bar for diabetics) and glad that I stumbled across your website again doing my research.

    You may have read my comment before, but my grandfather has had diabetes for a few years now and I do my research to be able to help him ease the side effects and take the meds necessary. He is old now though and he hates the meds, so regulating his blood sugar through dietary means is what we are looking at right now.

    He DOES get constipation so I hope your tips are going to help him in that regards. He does eat quite a bit of red meat and as per your article, this is something to avoid. I will definitely advise him to reduce the amount of red meat in his diet and to see if that helps.

    Again, thank you!

    • Hey Reyhana 🙂

      Thank you for saying so! My goal is to provide as much helpful information to my readers.

      The goal here is to lower blood sugars the natural way but there are so many other things that can be affected by blood sugars and diabetes and constipation is one of them.

      I do remember you mentioning your grandfather and yes red meat should try and be avoided. I hope he also follows other suggestions here.

      Thank you for your time! 🙂

  5. As someone who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, I am always on the look out for tips to help manage it.  I have’t experienced constipation from it, but its just another thing to add the laundry list of ailments cause by this disease.  Thanks for the tips on dealing with constipation should it come up, I have already adjusted my diet quite a bit so that may help ward off constipation.  Thanks for the article, it was very informative.

    • Hey Mike,

      With type 2 diabetes there are so many changes you experience and have to make.

      Constipation is just another issue that can arise with diabetes.

      Diabetes may or may not be the cause of constipation but if it is, you’ll now know what to look for.

      And of course diet has so much to do with constipation, diabetes or not.

      Appreciate your thoughts! Thank you 🙂

  6. So, I do have a friend that has diabetes and would like to tell him about the Glucocil you have linked. I was thinking that you would have mentioned them in the main page, but I did choose to hit the link and learn about it some. It would appear that these blood sugar stabilizers are a pretty good way to help people with diabetes. I pretty much knew most of the issues about constipation, but you are very informative, thank you.

    • Constipation can happen to anyone regardless of diabetes or not. But I wanted folks to know the symptoms of constipation relating to diabetes. Thankfully I do not get constipated very often.

      As far as Glucocil goes, it’s the only product that helped lower my blood sugars fast and continues to do so. I take 2 in the morning and 2 at night and I couldn’t be happier!

      Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  7. Wow… Thanks for this fantastic information. This is the best my eyes has seen today. So diabetes can cause constipation? I have bookmarked this link. I’ll forward it to guys around that have diabetes. You are a life saver. Thanks for the recommendations of the kind of food to avoid to prevent constipation. I’ll definitely spread these words with you.

    • Diabetes can possibly cause constipation but you will know from your symptoms. It’s possible that you could be constipated and not from diabetes either.

      In any event, nobody wants to be constipated so following a healthy diet and keeping your blood sugars normal are the best things you can do to avoid constipation.

      Thanks for spreading the word! 🙂

  8. Very Informative article !!  I am just wondering, once your body gets to the point of diabetic neuropathy, do the natural methods for relieving constipation that you mention still work ( ie. more water, bran, fresh vegetables,, etc), or would you suggest looking into prescription medication?  Also, in your research did you find that by keeping blood sugars low even if you had diabetes, you keep diabetic neuropathy from occuring ? – Thanks, Pattie

    • Hi Pattie 🙂

      Thank you! While I am not a doctor, I do believe that the methods for relieving constipation still stand. I always try and treat things the natural ways which is what my website is about.

      As far as medications go, that’s up to you and your doctor. I’m not saying medications aren’t necessary because diabetic neuropathy is something that isn’t easy controlled.

      And once you have neuropathy, it doesn’t just go away. As far as constipation goes, I would keep track of the symptoms and follow a healthy diet and exercise because that’s the best thing that any of us can do.

      I appreciate your insight! Thank you 🙂

  9. This is a really interesting article, thanks for writing it. I have a question, is constipation caused by your eating habits, or is it caused by diabetes itself. I know these two things overlap but I was just wondering whether the constipation is actually caused by the disease itself, or whether the junk food is causing both diabetes and constipation.

    I guess it doesn’t really matter because the way to fix either of those problems is to have better eating habits either way, but I just thought it was an interesting thought…

    • Hey Joe, 

      You’re right on with what you asked. Constipation can most certainly be caused by your eating habits and/or diabetes as well.

      Unhealthy eating is what can lead to type 2 diabetes which can also bring on constipation.

      It can be a catch-22 situation but the best thing you can do is follow a healthy diet and check in with your doctor on a regular basis.

      Thank you for your interests! 🙂

  10. Hi, 

    I really enjoyed reading this. You explained all of the aspects through thoroughly and I feel like I now have a very comprehensive understanding of constipation and diabetes. I didn’t know that diabetes could cause constipation until I read this. I also didn’t know how many foods affected it. Thank you for sharing with us all 🙂

    • Hi Celeste 🙂

      Since diabetes is a disease that can cause so many issues, I wanted folks to know that it can cause constipation as well.

      Of course there are many other issues that can cause constipation, but it’s always good to know that if it’s diabetes and not food that you ate that caused it, then it’s best to make sure your blood sugars are in the normal range.

      Thank you for sharing! 🙂


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