How Does Diabetes Cause Diarrhea? – Top 5 Treatments for Diarrhea

How Does Diabetes Cause Diarrhea? Research reveals that neuropathy can be responsible for diarrhea from diabetes. Neuropathy is pain and numbness from damage to your nerves. This disrupts the proper functioning of your bowel system. The specific term is autonomic neuropathy and this can occur when the nerves that help to control your body wind up being damaged.

Woman on the Toilet
Woman on the Toilet

Diabetes and Diarrhea

Most folks have experienced diarrhea and it’s no fun but it is part of your body’s reactions and just part of life. Researchers suggest that neuropathy may be a factor between diabetes and diarrhea. The fact is that when you have diabetes your nerve fibers get damaged from the high blood glucose numbers.

Diarrhea is no picnic and it’s not the topic you really want to discuss but it’s a part of life that you have to deal with. It’s believed that neuropathy is a connection to diarrhea and diabetes. The common complication of diabetes is in fact neuropathy. But that does not mean that it’s a certainty to happen. Strict blood glucose control can aid in preventing neuropathy but you have to be diligent in checking your numbers daily too.

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Symptoms and Causes of Diabetic Diarrhea

*Autonomic neuropathy– Long term complication of diabetes known as autonomic neuropathy when your nerves become damaged. Normally your nerves will transport information from your brain to your organs and tissues and in return send the signals back to your brain again to be sure that everything functions as it should be. When you are experiencing diabetic diarrhea it’s because your gastrointestinal tract has damaged nerves and this condition results in heading to the bathroom quite often.

Under normal circumstances most of the symptoms you experience happen at night time and the reason for this is that your nervous system is responsible for keeping your bowels stay calm when you’re asleep. Once your nerves become agitated, then it’s a different story.

*Medications such as Metformin- I can attest to this because too high a dosage of Metformin gave me diarrhea. But I still have to take it in a lower dosage along with another medication. This seems to be okay now but I think once you experience this you can’t help, but think that every time you get diarrhea that can it still be from the Metformin or not. It just could be that only some have this happen to.

*Celiac disease- This condition is when you have a sensitivity to gluten. You get a reaction with your immune system whenever you consume gluten in foods such as barley, rye, and wheat. I don’t have celiac disease thankfully, but I know from people who do that the small intestine is where the immune reaction occurs and proceeds to damage the lining of your intestine. This in turn leads to fatigue, anemia, weight loss, bloating, ad malabsorption of nutrients that are essential for your body.

*Pancreatic issues- Your pancreas is responsible for producing insulin and with type 1 diabetes it isn’t producing any insulin and type 2 diabetes it isn’t producing enough. It also release enzymes that aid in the digesting of your food. The hormones that it produce in your bloodstream help to control your blood glucose levels. When you aren’t getting enough of these enzymes, it can lead to weight loss, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

*Malabsorption of bile acids- Bile acids are normally stored in your gallbladder. In your digestive system, you can experience a condition by irregular processing of bile acids which can be a result of symptoms of diarrhea. Your gall bladder releases bile acids to aid in breaking the fats down in the foods you consume. This helps your body to better absorb them. So this condition of of the malabsorption of bile by your intestines unsatisfactorily has the bile being flushed into your large colon and this is what produces the watery stools and diarrhea.


*Bacteria overload- This is a particular complication for those folks with diabetes who need the requirement of higher levels of insulin in order to properly control their symptoms of diabetes. Normally without being a diabetic, a person who is healthy does not have a larger than normal amount of bacteria in their small intestine with comparison to their large intestine.

But with a diabetic condition a person may have an excess of bacteria growing if their feces travels too slowly through the small bowel.  The result from this is abdominal discomfort, that full feeling in your stomach, and watery diarrhea that can occur rather frequently.

So What Can Cause Diarrhea Other Than Diabetes? 

  • Certain diseases including Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease.
  • Three illnesses including food poisoning, viral infection, and bacterial infection.
  • Having lactose when you are lactose intolerant.
  • Sugar alcohols in large quantities such as Sorbitil that is used in sugar free products.

Normally with diarrhea if it’s an illness then it won’t last long as you get rid of the virus or whatever is causing the diarrhea. With autonomic neuropathy, the nerves that are damaged affect every nerve that is responsible for controlling all your body’s automatic functions including sweating, your heart rate, and of course the functioning of your bowels.

There are a great deal of patients (approximately 75%) who go to various diabetes institutions for general symptoms regarding their gut. The fact is that diabetes is the cause in your body starting from your mouth all the way to your anus. This is why so many reports from folks with diabetes are experiencing diarrhea. Generally a visit to the doctor isn’t necessary for a bout with diarrhea. It’s only after it doesn’t seem to subside that you may want to visit your doctor.

The Best Tips to Prevent Diarrhea

*Drink clean water only- I am a fanatic about this. I only drink filtered but mostly bottle water. It’s a big chance you take when you drink contaminated or dirty water. When I was a kid we always drank tap water and I’m amazed that I didn’t get sick from it, or did I? Tap water may be disinfected with chemicals such as chlorine but it’s not the case in other countries. Contaminated water can not only give you diarrhea, but it can be responsible for a host of other diseases and viruses.

Washing Hands
Washing Hands

*Wash your hands- I am more fanatic about this. I wash my hands about a thousand times a day. I use hand sanitizer as well when I don’t have access to soap and water. Getting an infection from a parasitic, viral, or bacterial microorganism is just about the most common cause and reason for severe bouts of diarrhea.

If your hands are contaminated, then is the most common way to transmit infections into your body. I always tell my kids to never touch their hands to their face after touching things that are contaminated. So always wash them before your meals and after using the bathroom. It’s the best thing that you can do to prevent contamination and diarrhea.

*Avoid foods that provoke diarrhea- There are certain foods that can create issues in your stomach such as pain, cramps, and irritation that bring on diarrhea in folks with diabetes and sensitive digestive systems. These are mainly the foods to avoid when you’re a diabetic. Some of these foods you should avoid are fried fatty foods, high fructose foods, spicy sauces, and sweet baked goods. It’s also advisable to stay away from carbonated beverages, coffee, and caffeine.

*Food poisoning- This is something you obviously do not want to experience. It is horrible to say the least! Now you may not have total control of this if someone else is preparing your food but with preparing your own food you should make sure that your food is thoroughly cooked to avoid contamination and wind up with food poisoning.

I never eat meat that isn’t cooked because raw meat should be disinfected and cooked in pressure cookers, frying pans, and barbecue grills that have been thoroughly cleaned. Microwaves are not acceptable because they don’t get rid of the bacteria. So I would avoid them if possible.

*Fresh fruits and vegetables- Fresh produce should never be eaten before the preparation of washing it completely because of the possible bad things in the soil such as E.coli and other bacteria and parasites that could contaminate the food.Wash and soak thoroughly before consuming. It’s very important!

5 Most Beneficial Remedies for Diarrhea


1) Medications over the counter- There are many over the counter medications made for treating diarrhea. These are used for temporary conditions. For more chronic and severe cases, you’ll want to consult your physician. You can use any one of the following but not for more than two weeks: Imodium, Kaopectate, or Pepto-Bismol.

2) Probiotics- These good bacterias help to maintain your intestinal tract and produce an environment that is very healthy for your gut. These probiotics are microorganisms that are live and contained in foods such as: yogurt, dark chocolate, pickles, kefir, cottage cheese, and aged cheeses just to name a few. The good bacteria in your system aid in the protection against infection in your intestines.

3) Foods to avoid- I mentioned this before, but I just wanted to clarify that greasy and fried foods are just not what a diabetic person can tolerate very well at all. But in addition to that there are high fiber foods too that can increase bloating. I’m not saying to not eat your fruits and vegetables so if any of these vegetables don’t cause diarrhea problems for you then keep on consuming them. Some of these are: broccoli, milk, prunes, ice cream, alcohol, beans, sugar substitutes, cauliflower, peas, and coffee.

4) BRAT foods- I always remember my doctor talking to me about the BRAT foods when I had diarrhea. These are the foods that you should be consuming to alleviate your symptoms of diarrhea. It will help to prevent your health from getting any worse. They also help to “firm” your stool up. They include: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. A few other foods that your body can tolerate are: Baked chicken(no skin), baked or boiled potatoes without skin, oatmeal, and chicken soup.

5) Stay hydrated- This is vital to staying healthy when you have diarrhea. You can become dehydrated very quickly when you have diarrhea and it can even be fatal in older aged adults and in young children as well. Pedialyte is excellent for young children and infants with diarrhea.

For adults there are drinks for rehydrating that are over the counter and sports drinks that help with mild cases of diarrhea. You must avoid any sodas, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, or milk.

Folks, I cannot stress enough that everything you do when it comes to your health should be discussed with your doctor. It’s common sense. They know what’s best for you. don’t assume anything.

Medical disclaimer
The information that I provide on my website is purely based on my own personal experience and subsequent research into the diabetes disease. It is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Care and investigation should always be sought from an appropriate health care provider. I am happy to discuss my own symptoms, diagnosis and history of my diabetes disease but want to stress that I am not medically trained in any way. All opinions on my website are my own. I have created this site as a way to share information and experiences.


How Does Diabetes Cause Diarrhea? Well, we now know the answer to that question. Diarrhea is usually not serious, but just knowing the symptoms and what can do when you have diabetes on top of it should make it a bit easier for you. I hope this has helped you!

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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.

12 thoughts on “How Does Diabetes Cause Diarrhea? – Top 5 Treatments for Diarrhea”

  1. Wow this is really interesting. My husband is diabetic – age 57 – and he’s only suffered from diarrhea only a few times in our 30 year marriage. I wasn’t even aware that this was an issue for diabetics but perhaps that’s because he’s a Type 1 – insulin dependent – and maybe it doesn’t apply to his type. Do you know if this is a common occurrence in Type 1? Diabetes is such a tough disease and being married to one isn’t so easy either so I’m hoping for a no answer.

    • Hi Lynn,

      That’s pretty amazing that your husband has only suffered from diarrhea only a few times in all those years. 

      But the fact of the matter is that it can and does affect people with either type of diabetes. The interesting fact is that type 1 diabetics have a higher chance of developing celiac disease and that’s when diarrhea becomes more prominent.

      I’m not a doctor but if your husband was going to contract celiac disease I think he would have done so long ago. I would consult with his doctor though and find out to be sure.The doctor would have the answer for sure.

      Thank you for your comments!


  2. Valuable information for a specific problem. I have a grandmother that struggles with this problem and I can’t wait to share this website with her. It is important to understand the link between diabetes and diarrhea and you explain it well. Even better, you offer information on tips that can help with this uncomfortable problem.

    • Hi Jodi,

      There are so many issues related to diabetes and diarrhea is one of them.

      I guess it’s not something most people want to talk about.

      But there are ways to control it by controlling the diabetes too.

      The more you know, the better and easier it is to address.

      Thank you for stopping by! 🙂



  3. Very useful information presented on diabetic diarrhea. I wasn’t aware of bacterial overload being a cause of diabetic diarrhea – learned something new. I can definitely see how autonomic neuropathy can play a role in this issue though – agitated or damaged nerves in the bowels or intestines can definitely send the wrong signals and can cause many trips to the bathroom. Nicely presented information on the causes of diabetic diarrhea, as well as, means of preventing diarrhea overall (most certainly, frequent hand-washing is definitely one of the best things you could do to prevent diarrhea).

    • Hi, It’s no fun with diarrhea no matter what the circumstance is. There are a lot of different reasons for diarrhea.

      But when you have diabetes, you want to make sure that it isn’t coming from the diabetes.

      The best way to avoid diarrhea is through the tips presented.

      See your doctor regularly too.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Hi Issie, I think that everyone suffers from diarrhea at some point in their lives. Our digestive tracts can get messed up and often we don’t know why. I also believe in probiotics because they are good for our system. It’s great to know what remedies you have to treat diarrhea.Thank you!

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