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What Are the Causes of Diabetes Stomach Pain?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Diabetes stomach pain might be caused by a number of complications, especially in patients who fail to control their blood sugar levels. Gastroparesis defines a condition when the stomach retains food too long, leading to stomach pain in some patients. Diabetic ketoacidosis refers to a metabolic disorder in type one diabetics that might produce stomach pain. Some patients who suffer diabetes stomach pain suffer from a central nervous system disorder of the intestinal nerves, which is more common in people with longstanding diabetes.

Gastroparesis may cause diabetes stomach pain from high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period of time. This condition occurs because food does not pass from the stomach properly, leading to vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain. Patients who also suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease might suffer frequent bouts of heartburn and gastroparesis. Treatment for this form of stomach pain might include eating smaller meals more frequently and avoiding fatty foods and a high-fiber diet, which seems to aggravate the condition.

Some doctors prescribe a liquid diet for this condition to give the intestinal tract a rest. Medication that helps the stomach empty faster might also prove effective, but some of these drugs come with troublesome side effects. In some cases, a gastric pacemaker to regulate activity in the stomach might help.

Another complication leading to diabetes stomach pain affects the metabolism in some type one diabetics. Diabetic ketoacidosis usually occurs with hypoglycemia when insulin levels are poorly controlled and do not meet metabolic needs of the patient. If not treated, this condition can lead to swelling in the brain, coma, and death. Signs of this disorder include stomach pain, vomiting, and nausea. Symptoms of brain swelling, which are more common in children, might produce headaches and trouble breathing.

About one-fourth of diabetics suffer from diarrhea, especially those who have lived with the disease a long time. A nervous system disorder or the rapid movement of liquids through the intestinal tract might cause repeated bouts of loose stools. When the nervous system is to blame, nerves that control the absorption, secretion, or movement of the bowels might malfunction. Depending on the nerves affected, diabetes stomach pain could arise from diarrhea or constipation.

Gastrointestinal problems commonly occur in people with diabetes. They might suffer from peptic ulcers, gallstones, or irritable bowel syndrome. Yeast infections typically infect the intestinal tract of diabetics who fail to keep insulin levels stable, leading to stomach pain in some patients.

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Discussion Comments

By anon926421 — On Jan 18, 2014

Diabetes is a pain, pardon the pun. I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at age 40 and looking back at it, I showed symptoms for a long time but nobody, including my doctors put it together. I was in the Army and aside from the pain was in really good shape. It wasn't until my daughter started to show some of the symptoms I had that the puzzle suddenly had all the pieces.

You should get your daughter tested as soon as possible. I have a lot of the issues associated with long term diabetes and they could have been mitigated with intervention and a correct diagnosis.

By candyquilt — On Feb 11, 2013

@alisha-- It's not possible to say anything without proper testing. You must take your daughter to the doctor as soon as possible. Those symptoms can be due to many different conditions.

Diabetes causes stomach problems, mainly due to ketoacidosis and rapidly fluctuating blood sugar levels.

Diabetes medications, especially medication used for type two diabetes, are also known for causing gastrointestinal problems like flatulence, stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea.

By discographer — On Feb 10, 2013

Diabetes runs in the family and my eight year old daughter has recently been experiencing some diabetes symptoms. She's complaining of abdominal pain, and is drinking more water than usual. She doesn't want to play with her friends as much and takes naps often.

I'm worried, could this be diabetes?

By SarahGen — On Feb 10, 2013

I get nausea and severe stomach pain when my blood sugar is too high. Whenever this happens, I know that I need to check my sugar levels and take more medication.

When my sugar goes back to normal, the nausea and stomach pains disappear.

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