Many people with diabetes may also find that they have the additional issue of acid reflux. For some of these patients the reflux may be easily treated with dietary changes and PPI medications. Unfortunately there are some patients for which the standard treatment does not provide relief from the constant burning.
The mechanisms for this hard to treat acid reflux are directly related to the diabetes. If diabetes has gone uncontrolled for a long period of time the resulting high blood sugars can cause nerve damage to many parts of the body including the vagus nerve that controls the stomach and intestines. When the vagus nerve is damaged or not working the muscles of the GI tract will not move food through efficiently and it will "back up" digestion and slow stomach emptying. This condition is called gastroparesis.
Some of the additional symptoms of gastroparesis include: nausea, vomiting, feeling full quickly, bloating, weight loss, loss of appetite, stomach spasms and uncontrolled blood sugars. If you think that you may have gastroparesis caused by your diabetes please contact your doctor as soon as possible. They will need to manage the condition quickly to prevent additional complications from uncontrolled diabetes.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and graduate work in public health nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.