Managing diabetic neuropathy complications

Diabetic neuropathy — a type of nerve damage that can occur over time due to high blood sugar in those who have diabetes — is a common, serious complication of diabetes. In addition to the pain that diabetic neuropathy can cause, it can also lead to other complications, such as problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart.

Specific treatments exist for many of the complications of diabetic neuropathy, including:

  • Urinary tract problems. Antispasmodic medications (anticholinergics), behavioral techniques such as timed urination, and devices such as pessaries — rings inserted into the vagina to prevent urine leakage — may be helpful in treating loss of bladder control. A combination of therapies may be most effective.
  • Digestive problems. Gastroparesis — a condition in which the stomach empties too slowly or not at all — can usually be helped by eating smaller, more-frequent meals, reducing fiber and fat in the diet, and, for many people, eating soups and pureed foods. Diarrhea, constipation and nausea may be helped with dietary changes, probiotics and medications.
  • Low blood pressure on standing (orthostatic hypotension). This is often helped with simple lifestyle measures, such as avoiding alcohol, drinking plenty of water and standing up slowly. Your doctor may recommend an abdominal binder, a compression support for your abdomen, and compression stockings. Several medications, either alone or together, also may be used to treat orthostatic hypotension.
  • Sexual dysfunction. Sildenafil (Revatio,Viagra), tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn) can improve sexual function in some men, but these medications aren't effective or safe for everyone. When medications don't work, many men turn to vacuum devices, or, if these fail, to penile implants. Women may be helped with vaginal lubricants.

For some people, these symptoms are mild; for others, diabetic neuropathy can be painful, disabling and even fatal. Work with your doctor to determine the best approach to managing your diabetic neuropathy complications.

May 07, 2014 See more In-depth

See also

  1. Abdominal pain
  2. Adult bed-wetting: A concern?
  3. Anhidrosis
  4. Anti-seizure medications
  5. Autonomic neuropathy
  6. Bell's palsy
  7. Bezoars: How do they happen?
  8. Bladder control: Lifestyle strategies
  9. Bladder control problems: Medications
  10. Bladder control problems in women: Seek treatment
  11. Carpal tunnel exercises: Can they relieve symptoms?
  12. Carpal tunnel syndrome
  13. Carpal Tunnel Tune-Up
  14. Chronic pain: Medication decisions
  15. Diabetic Gastroparesis
  16. Diabetic neuropathy
  17. Diabetic neuropathy and dietary supplements
  18. Types of diabetic neuropathy
  19. Diarrhea
  20. Erectile dysfunction dietary supplements
  21. Dizziness
  22. Ease the pain of diabetic neuropathy
  23. Electromyography (EMG)
  24. Erectile dysfunction
  25. Erectile dysfunction: Nonoral treatments
  26. Erectile dysfunction: A sign of heart disease?
  27. Erectile dysfunction and diabetes
  28. Erectile dysfunction treatment: How can your partner help?
  29. Erectile dysfunction medications
  30. Foot pain
  31. Gastroparesis
  32. 'Herbal viagra': Is it safe?
  33. Hyperglycemia in diabetes
  34. Hyperhidrosis
  35. Hypothyroidism: Can it cause peripheral neuropathy?
  36. Joint pain
  37. Joint pain: Rheumatoid arthritis or parvovirus?
  38. Nausea and vomiting
  39. Nerve conduction studies
  40. Numbness
  41. Numbness in hands
  42. Orthostatic hypotension (postural hypotension)
  43. Peripheral neuropathy
  44. Recreational ED drug use
  45. Sexual dysfunction
  46. Unexplained weight loss
  47. Urinary incontinence
  48. Urinary incontinence surgery in women
  49. Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  50. Vaginal dryness after menopause: How to treat it?
  51. Carpal tunnel symptoms: Role of nonsurgical treatment
  52. Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery: Immediate and long-term results