Many people with long-term high blood sugar experience the same “unpleasant” bowel problems “at night”.
Brief bouts of diarrhea are common, but when fecal incontinence chronically occurs late at night, it may have a more serious cause. Sometimes chronic high blood sugar causes permanent damage and irritation to the small intestine. In many diabetic patients, this is the main cause of their “nighttime” diarrhea.
Numerous studies have identified diabetes as a trigger for diarrhea, along with several other gastrointestinal (digestive) problems.
Some research suggests that loose stools are common among those who have had diabetes for some time.
“Over time, people with diabetes can develop neuropathy due to high blood sugar levels,” explains the Cleveland Clinic.
“Neuropathy can lead to problems with the way food and fluids pass through the colon. It also affects how your digestive system works.”
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The health authority continues: “Sometimes people with diabetes-related diarrhea also experience fecal (intestinal) incontinence, especially at night.
“This is because nerve damage (neuropathy) due to diabetes affects the anal sphincter. The anal sphincter is a muscle that opens and closes to allow excrement to pass out of your body.”
Nocturnal diarrhea was investigated by a group of journalists in 2016 who reported their findings in the journal Diabetes Therapy.
In the introductory paragraph, it was stated that “Enteropathy is a lesser known gastrointestinal manifestation of diabetes and can be considered as symptoms affecting the colon.”
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“The clinical picture includes diarrhoea, constipation and fecal incontinence, which can often be nocturnal.”
The scientists continued: “The nature of the symptoms associated with diabetic enteropathy can by definition be both distressing and often multifaceted.”
They added that overt steatorrhea, which describes an increase in fecal fat excretion, has also been noted in a minority of patients.
Autonomic nerve dysfunction is a key causal factor in enteropathy in people with diabetes.
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However, some other factors may also play a role in enteropathy, such as altered secretion of gastrointestinal hormones, inflammation, or genetic predisposition.
All of these problems tend to be exacerbated when blood sugar levels in the body are high and should therefore be the direction of medical practitioners seeking to diagnose the condition.
Although autonomic neuropathy is considered a long-term risk for diabetes, prediabetic patients are also at risk.
In prediabetes, blood sugar levels are slightly higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
An increase in blood sugar during these preliminary stages can lead to the development of other complications, such as insulin resistance.
Insulin is critical in helping the body move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells so the body can use it as energy.
Thus, the detection of the disease in these initial stages is the key to removing the diagnosis of diabetes.
However, if the body cannot use blood glucose, this is a clear sign that a diagnosis of diabetes may be imminent.
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