Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Diabetes: Prevalence, Assessment, Pathogenesis, and Management

If you haven’t measured something, you really don’t know much about it.

—Karl Pearson (attributed)

Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms represent an important and often unappreciated cause of morbidity in diabetes, although the significance of this burden across the spectrum of patients and the underlying pathophysiology, including the relationship of symptoms with glycemic control, remain poorly defined. The relevance of GI symptoms and the necessity for their accurate assessment have increased with the greater focus on the gut as a therapeutic target for glucose lowering. This review addresses the prevalence, assessment, pathogenesis, and management of GI symptoms in diabetes, beginning with broad principles and then focusing on specific segments of the GI tract. We initially performed a literature search of PubMed by using synonyms and combinations of the following search terms: "gastrointestinal symptoms", "diabetes", "prevalence", "pathogenesis", "diagnosis", and "management". We restricted the search results to English only. Review papers and meta-analyses are presented as the highest level of evidence where possible followed by randomized controlled trials, uncontrolled trials, retrospective and observational data, and expert opinion.

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