Bowel Neuropathy? Huh? Really?

I ended-up in the emerg tonight, since I’ve been suffering from a severely bloated belly for the last 24 hours. This problem has been going on for 2 months, however recently in the past 2 weeks it has become an issue. When I bloat, I look like I’m 9 months pregnant and it is painful! I bloat from my belly button down to my pubic bone and it lasts for about 4 - 7 hours.

The strange thing about this bloating is it happens every day at 3pm and my sugars crash. I’ve made huge adjustments to my basal rates to accommodate this. I’ve changed my selections of food on a day-to-day basis. Changed my exercise patterns. Ensure I get my 8 hours of sleep. Life stress is low and sugars are usually quite normal between 5 - 7. When the bloating happens, instantly my sugars crash to 2.5 - 3.5. I’m trying my best to catch them before they crash, but it is hard to predict since the bloating is every other day and somewhat has a mind of its own.

At the hospital, they ran some blood work and everything came out normal. Kidney’s are fine, liver, bladder, etc… The doctor seemed stumped and as usual, blamed the diabetes. He said it is probably neuropathy of my bowels. Don’t get me wrong, it very well can be a diabetes problem, but I’m having a hard time believing that it is. Hence, why I’m asking all of you for your opinions/experiences.

I have no diarrhea or constipation. No gas. I eat about 40 - 70g of fiber a day. I am vegan, but I do take supplements (which have been the same brands for a few months) Geez…what else? They are doing an ultrasound sometime next week to rule out anything to do with my ‘girl parts’. I really thought it might be a certain food, or food combination, but after this week, I am really stumped. The sugar crashing is really driving me bonkers.

Anyone ever come across this? Any insight?

This sounds like gastroparesis, which is delayed stomach emptying. Gastroparesis is the result of damage to the vagus nerve which controls digestion. Gastroparesis is a type of neuropathy, though not of the bowels. Non-diabetics can have this, but it is related to diabetes. We’re so lucky:(

A high fiber diet is not good for gastroparesis since it slows stomach emptying even more. The reason for your low BG is because food is being digested a very slow rate. Gastroparesis is unpredictable & makes bolus timing very difficult. You can see a rise in BG many hours later when the food finally digests. Takes a lot of testing to know when food will hit & to avoid lows.

It can take some time, but can be healed with more normal BG.

I have gastroparesis & it sucks! The best thing to try is a lower fiber diet & easy to digest foods. No raw food. Well cooked food, small portions, chew very well, eat slowly. Moderate exercise after eating. Digestive enzymes may help. I tried liquid meals for dinner (evening meal is usually when gastroparesis is worse) for a while–protein shakes or soup.

Hope you’re feeling better soon! I know what you’re going through.

Hi I know exactly what is wrong with you as I just rec’d my diagnose yesterday Celiac when you have a flare up it is just awful and the reason you bottomed out is because the food is going through the small intestine too fast the only sure way to diagnose is ifyou have a egd done and the biopsy your villi in your small intestines. If they are flattened you have celiac and are suffering from malnutrition. you have all the symptoms. If you can not find a GI or acan’t afford GI then try a no gluten diet it will take a couple of months to calm down, but no harm no foul. There is no medicine for it. try over the counter Prilosec or equilavent until you are completely gluten free. (The no bread sucks.) Watch out fr you supplements because they can also contain gluten so do bocca burgers. Celiac is auto immune so is diabetes. so watch your thyroid too.

Thanks for the replies!

I’m actually a raw foodist, so I’m a wee bit unsure on how ‘not’ to consume fiber :slight_smile: My diet has been, for awhile, mainly raw veggies/fruit and nuts/seeds. I will eat fish/chicken/potatoes/rice on occasion. This would really suck if I am diagnosed with gastroparesis. I can see how it is a major lifestyle change and my heart goes out to you. I’m sure it was and still is a challenge for you Gerri.

I do not bolus a whole lot, since my meals are fairly low carb. I’ve lowered my basal tremendously in the past month too. I can tell you though, my sugars could be around 7.0 and if I bloat , regardless of eating/sleeping/exercise, within 30mins to an hour they will crash to 3’ish - this is with no bolus in my system. This is what I am finding very hard and almost unmanageable. I think I might have to take-out shares in Dex4 Glucose tabs soon, since I’m eating a bottle a day!

Gerri, when you were diagnosed with this, did you have the same kinda of problems? The 9-month preggo’s bloat? any sharp pains? low sugars? Did you find it took an abnormal amount of time to get your sugars back to normal? The doctor last night actually mentioned this too and I think this might be the case.

Does gastroparesis actually just happen this fast? Like within 2 months? I can honestly say, I’ve had a healthy digestion system and still do. I know my A1C has dropped a full point in two months, since the docs just ran another blood test to see. (from 8.1>7.1)

Celiac too might be the case, however I don’t eat anything with gluten (breads/pasta/processed foods), but you have raised a good point about supplements. I will have to research into that since that could be the case too. Plus, do a bit of googling today to learn more about Celiac.

Thanks everyone for the advice. I really appreciate it.

It’s been a challenge, more like a royal pain. I hope this isn’t what you have, but it sounds like the typical delayed stomach emptying symptoms. Not that I wish celiac on you, but that would be easier to deal with since you don’t eat gluten or processed foods to begin with. Gluten can also be in lipstick & is in glue (licking envelopes or stamps).

Other than pulverizing raw foods to make them easier to digest, not sure what else you could do. Nut butters are easier than whole nuts, juicing veggies would be good.

Sorry, not sure what you mean about having gastroparesis happening fast. Like most things, it’s damage that builds up over years similar to other neuropathies. Great work getting your A1c down! The good news is that getting it down further will greatly help.

I didn’t have terrible bloating like yours, but I felt queasy & uncomfortable after meals & had sharp pangs, unless they were really small meals. BG would plummet after meals (mostly dinner) & then huge spikes 5-7 hours later. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with those crazed readings. I didn’t have the gastric emptying study done because my endo said gastroparesis is too unpredictable to get definitive results & mine mostly happens in the evening, which is not when they test. So, it was diagnosed based on my symptoms. There are degrees & my doc said mine’s pretty severe.

Gastroparesis adds a new level to managing diabetes. I hear you! Who can bolus correctly when there’s no way to know when food will hit?

I’m on MDI. I take a half bolus 1 hour after eating. Then I take another half bolus 2 hours after eating. My endo switched me to Regular since it’s slower to act & lasts longer. That helped tremendously! I have Apidra to correct highs. What sucks is that I’m up way past when I should go to bed with constant testing because I never know what to expect. Guess we’d both be good candidates for a CGM.

Yep, when low it takes me forever to get BG up.

The endo questions if I actually have dawn phenomenon because it may be digesting overnight that’s responsible for morning highs. Guess it doesn’t matter because there’s not much that can be done either way.

I was eating high fiber & that was a mistake. The stomach pains were worse & digestion came to a halt. Though I’m not supposed to, I still eat salads because I love them. I just don’t eat them for dinner any more. I eat a lot of nuts also, but chew, chew, chew them. I hate mushy vegetables, but now they’re cooked more (not as much as I’m supposed to). Fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut seem to be easier since they’re broken down some so I’ve been brine pickling fresh veggies & also using pressed salads, which I like.

I thought I had a healthy digestion until this hit. Joked that I had a cast iron stomach & could eat anything.

Please keep me posted.

Although Celiacs is a possibility, it does sound more like gastroparesis. The proper way to diagnose that is with a gastric emptying test. You eat radioactive eggs and they follow them thru your digestive tract. If it is, you will need to change your eating habits and veggies are out, unfortunately. That was hard for me to handle because I pretty much ate nothing but salads. I actually just wrote an article about managing blood sugar with gastroparesis if you are interested.

Wow, a wealth of info! Thanks guys.

Gluten in lipstick and envelopes? My goodness that is crazy.

Gerri, juicing veggies is a good sign! We do that daily, so that does not sound too hard as a lifestyle change for me. However, I cannot even fathom not eating broccoli or carrots as often as I do. As for the gastroparesis happening fast, what I meant is that I’ve had no problems in the past in regards to bloating, pain and extreme low sugars. This all of a sudden just happened in the past two months and has progressively became worse day by day. I guess, I’m thinking that neuropathy of my stomach would have given a few more signs, like previous bloating, poor sugar control signs etc… if that makes any sense? I am holding on to the fact that most symptoms of gastroparesis (from what I’ve googled) do not match mine. I’m not feeling sick, heartburn, lack of appetite, pain in the upper stomach etc… I too, still believe I have a cast-iron stomach :slight_smile: lol, actually I’m now beginning to believe in miracles that my pancreas decided to wake-up after 20 years and start producing insulin somehow.

Kelly, radioactive eggs??? Oh man. Thanks for the link. I will certainly have a read.

Hey Emmy, a very good point. That could be. I know I am fine with my b12 and D since I just had it checked in Feb. I landed smack-dab in the middle and the doc seemed pretty happy with the numbers. I will have her check my iron, calcium etc… next time though. Thanks for the articles. I’m gonna have a wealth of information from all this.

Ty ty ty

Hey, its me again. I knew about the lipstick but not the envelopes :slight_smile: thanks for the info. Well Celiac isn’t fun either but I understand is that it is related to diabetes and yes it can happen fast - it happened in about two months as well. Couldn’t you track your ability to process foods with out a dr test? how about eating something like corn and timing that? It is a high fiber food and easily detected when digestion is complete and has carb for you to watch on your blood sugars. Just an idea. Let me know how it turns out! Wornout

I have gastroparesis – welcome to my world! As they have said it is one of those diabetic gifts – they can diagnose - first I had an endoscopy for a peek and then with a simple test, 2 hours in an xray machine with some funky eggs. I basically digest only 20% what a normal person does in 2 hours. I was able to tell them exactly when it started because of my BS counts. I’m sure it develops over time but my symptoms/log book and food journal made it easy to pinpoint. Bam, I was having problems. No warning signs. Because I wasn’t digesting my food, I crashed the same time every time - for me it was in the middle of the night - gastroparesis is indeed worst at dinner. I was tested for Celiac and it was negative - thank goodness. I already eat a low carb/no carb diet so I didn’t think it was a gluten problem but I have thorough doctors.

I started going to a gastro guy – they were great. I was put on meds to help with my digestion - one pill every meal. The diet they recommended was basically what I was already on - 5 small meals a day of 300 calories (small amounts) Mediteranean Diet. Because of that diet, I was already staying away from red meat and eating mostly veggies, fruits and fish. Its also why I did not (and you didn’t) have many of the usual side effects. I don’t have heartburn or pain or some of the usual symptoms you asked about. I didn’t have as severe a bloating problem. Anyway, I go with soup so you can have all your veggies - just soup is easier on me. Lots of V8 juice. I do well with soy and veggie burgers. I can’t just eat something when I feel low - I have to drink juice or who knows when I’ll digest the snack and the sugar will hit my system. I still enjoy my salads - just watch amounts.

I’m sure you’ll find the right balance for you.

My endo started me on totally different insulin. After the adjustment I wasn’t crashing every night. I have a different insulin for the day - three shots of Novolin R, one before each meal and a different insulin at bedtime, Levemir for the long stretch overnight. My A1C is 5. I don’t bolus – too unpredictable with gastroparesis. Diabetes is a little more interesting with each complication but you adjust and you survive. Because I have neuropathy (feet and hands) they check my B12 = monthly shots.

I hope some of this helps. You sound gastroparesis to me. If I missed any of your questions please ask! It sounds like we’re in the same boat. Good Luck!

I enjoyed your article. I’ve felt like the only one out there balancing gastroparesis and diabetes. I’m lucky that my endo had experience and as soon as it was confirmed we sorted it out, I have a gastro guy who works closely with him and all my meds seem to be working. Yep, the diet is different but doable. My A1C is 5 so yes, it can be done.

After reading the last answer I have to agree. It is not celiac although most of the symptoms are a like. I crash when I eat anything with gluten in it. Bedause is passes too fast. I don’t know what my D is but I already take B12 at night to help with restless legs/ nueropathy pain in my left leg. Well you hvae to admit that the life of a diabetic is never boring. :slight_smile: wornout

Gluten’s in the strangest things. Imagine looking for gluten-free, cruelty-free, additive-free lipstick:)

Yea, I agree that for it to be getting worse daily isn’t typical. Mine seems to have progressed more slowly & I’ve never had heartburn or lack of appetite. I mostly feel uncomfortable after eating, bloated (though not like 9 months preggo) & sometimes have stomach pains. The most telling thing is what BG does. When my stomach does empty, I can tell. It’s a strange feeling.

Good idea! It’s worth a shot. lol I actually have this one food we eat called ‘energy balls’ which are full of flax meal/seeds. That is a good evident food for sure.

I’m sure I will be waiting for a few weeks before I get these tests done and get referred to a GI. I live in Canada, so, hopefully by next year they will have an answer :slight_smile: (I’m trying to make a funny about our health care delays here)

Wow. Marcia, that explains a lot and I feel reassured now. I thank-you for sharing. I think I’m bent out of shape thinking that it must be something else since the symptoms don’t match, but after hearing your story, it makes a lot of sense now.

Time will certainly tell.

I’m actually doing better tonight. We went out and ate some healthy and yummy greek food which included some delicious cooked potatoes and a small serving of chicken and of course a big salad too. So far, no severe bloating and sugars are rocking at a steady 5.2 for the last 3 hours. 5 hours have passed since the last low and I still have 4 glucose tablets left in my bottle :slight_smile:

I suffer from bloated stomach where I feel and almost look 9 months pregnant at times. I am also a vegetarian with no fish, chicken, eggs, dairy, oils, etc. After many Dr. visits, I have gone to Activia for my stomach and probiotics to help out. I have suffered from anorexia and now bulimia and my Dr. thinks I have damaged the health bacteria cilias in the lining of my stomach and intestines so food doesn’t absorb. I have also been diagnosed with malnutrition and anemia. It is hard when you want to be thin and stay that way diabetic as it has changed my ability to diet like I was used to. I have had to go to soft foods such as applesauce, yogurts, etc. almost like eating babyfood to keep my stomach settled.

My friend is a T1 and had a bloated belly a couple of years ago.
It was gluten intolerance (coeliac’s disease), which is also an autoimmune disease (bit like T1)!

Ironically, I woke-up this morning and the first thought was probiotics. Odd. I’m just wondering if maybe my system is outta whack or something freaky like that. As you can see, I’m trying hard to think positive and believe this is something curable without a lifestyle change.

I had a dream that all the chia seeds I eat in a week had bloated my intestines. Go ahead and laugh if you must :slight_smile: I am.

So, with that said, Judith, I went and bought some Activia probiotic yogurt. I don’t eat dairy, but I will be damned that I will let this bloated belly win! I will give this a try for a few days and see if some relief can happen.

When I was a kid I thought seeds I ate would sprout inside me. I had dreams about flowers growing out from my belly button, which would be a nice thing. Must have been those magic bean fairy tales in my little head:)

Don’t mean to hijack the thread but I have been following - Does B12 and D help keep away neuropathy? If so, I going to buy some immediately. I am a vegan too and I am sure I am deficient in both.

Desdemona, You can buy Probiotics in pill powder form that are veg. I usually get the Power Dophillus by Country Life. It has helped with my stomach problems in my past and it also helped keep away yeast infections for some reason. I have also had a vegan non-sugar soy yoghurt that has Probiotics in it by Wildwood. But since you are in Canada I am not sure what you have up there.

I haven’t been taking it since I started the Metformin because I was wondering about any issues between the two - same thing with vitamins. I am not sure when to take them now that I am the meds.

I don’t eat it either Desdemona but there comes times when I actually listen to my doctor and he suggested both to me. My stomach is feeling better. Hope you get your answers soon.