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Author: Peggy Dunbar, Med, PDt, CDE
Source: Complications: Digestive Problems


Constipation is the most common digestive problem. Some estimates say up to 60 percent of people with diabetes may have reported bouts of constipation (constipation is generally considered less than three bowel movements per week).

Constipation appears to be more common in inactive people and is not, contrary to popular belief, a normal part of aging. If constipation persists, talk to your diabetes educator or physician. Some medications cause constipation (including some antacids, calcium and iron supplements, some antihypertensive medications, etc). Treatment should include an assessment and discontinuation of unnecessary medications, a diet high in fiber, adequate liquids, normalization of blood glucose and regular activity. When a high-fiber diet is not well tolerated due to other symptoms of gastroparesis, or when constipation is persistent, laxatives may be prescribed.

What and when you eat is extremely important when you have diabetes, and when your digestive system is disrupted, control becomes very difficult. Treatment should be started as soon as possible when digestive problems arise. Remember, however, that bowel changes should be carefully monitored by your diabetes management team.