Stomach Aches and Diabetes: What Gives?
There’s a lot to consider with chronic stomach pain, but please digest this—stomach aches aren’t normal.
Stomach irritation complaints are seemingly easy for healthcare providers to brush aside as insignificant. “Many patients go undiagnosed and undertreated because the gastrointestinal tract has not been traditionally associated with diabetes and its complications,” Clinical Diabetes tells us. And with 75 percent of all people visiting diabetes clinics complaining of gastrointestinal issues, there’s a common malady at hand.
Diabetes and the Gut
Diabetes is a complex condition that has the potential to wreak havoc on organs, including the bowel. The length of your diabetes diagnosis and how often your blood sugars are at a normal level impact bowel disease.
Healthcare providers are very tuned into exterior neuropathy and checking a patient’s feet because they are visible and measureable. When it comes to the bowel, it can be another story. The bowel is just as vulnerable to neuropathy, but it’s not easily seen or tested—every action in this area is invasive, meaning doctors must use instruments to look into your body. Neuropathy in the gut can slow down or speed up motility, the normal rate of contractions in the gut, resulting in gastrointestinal upset.
People with diabetes who are prone to stomach neuropathy have also been linked to a higher incidence of autoimmune gut diseases, and like it or not, autoimmune disease breeds more autoimmune disease.
When a patient mentions diabetes and gut symptoms, providers should pay attention.
Identifying the Culprit