Diabetic diarrhea

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2009 Oct;11(5):354-9. doi: 10.1007/s11894-009-0054-y.


Diabetic patients with diarrhea may present clinical challenges in diagnosis and treatment. Particular diagnoses are more prevalent in diabetic patients than in the general population. Medications are often a culprit for chronic diarrhea, and the medication list should always be carefully scrutinized for those with diarrhea as a side effect. In diabetic patients, metformin is a common cause of diarrhea. Diabetic patients are more likely to have associated diseases (eg, celiac sprue and microscopic colitis) that present with diarrhea as the sole complaint. Ingested sugar-free foods that may contain sorbitol or other agents can cause diarrhea in diabetic patients. Finally, diabetic enteropathy can itself cause diarrhea. The various etiologies can be diagnosed with a thorough history and appropriate diagnostic tests. This article focuses on the etiologies of diarrhea that are seen with higher incidence in diabetic patients.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Antidiarrheals / therapeutic use*
  • Celiac Disease / complications
  • Clonidine / therapeutic use
  • Colitis / complications
  • Diabetes Complications / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Complications / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diarrhea / drug therapy*
  • Diarrhea / etiology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Incidence
  • Loperamide / therapeutic use
  • Metformin / adverse effects
  • Octreotide / therapeutic use
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidiarrheals
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Loperamide
  • Metformin
  • Clonidine
  • Octreotide