November 29, 2023
Foods That Cause Diarrhea With Metformin

“Whoever said laughter is the best medicine, 

He hasn’t tried curing diarrhea with metformin”.

Diarrhea is one of the worst things that can happen to someone. This gastrointestinal disorder can cause dehydration and loss of body water.

A common side effect of this metformin is Summer Complain. Although this drug can cause loose motion independently of the food you eat. Certain foods can aid in triggering watery stools if not treated with great caution. 

This article below will discuss the probable food that can cause diarrhea with metformin.

What Is Metformin?

Metformin is an anti-diabetic medicine widely used to treat patients suffering from type-2 diabetes. This medicine has been used since the 1950s and is the most popular drug worldwide. 

More than 422 million people have diabetes, and it is estimated that more than 150 million people intake some form of metformin to treat this disease. 

This drug also can help obese patients without diabetes to lose weight more quickly than any other drug. 

What Are The Common Advantages Of Using Metformin?

Metformin treats type-2 and gestational diabetes or individuals at higher risk of diabetes. This medicine is also used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS.

This affordable drug is mainly prescribed for diabetic patients whose diet and exercise are insufficient to control their blood sugar levels. 

Metformin helps lower the sugar level by slowing and releasing glucose from the liver while increasing insulin sensitivity to reduce the amount of sugar absorption from food. 

Many people find this drug tolerable to improve their health but experience adverse side effects.  

Common Side Effects Of Metformin

There are some people for whom metformin may not be suitable. Therefore, it is widely recommended to take a doctor’s recommendation before taking this medicine. Here are a few people for whom metformin may not be appropriate, such as:

  • People have an allergic reaction to metformin or other medicine
  • Uncontrollable diabetes
  • Having liver or kidney problems 
  • Having severe infection
  • Had a recent heart attack
  • Having intense circulation or breathing difficulties
  • Drinking lots of alcohol

Metformin may cause mild to severe side effects such as

  • Muscle pain
  • Feeling cold
  • Breathing trouble
  • Feeling dizzy, headache, tired, or week
  • uncontrolled heart rate

The most widespread side effects of metformin may include:

  • Lower blood sugar
  • Nurse, or 
  • Diarrhea 

Diarrhea As A Side Effect Of Metformin

Diarrhea With Metformin

Diarrhea is one of the most common gastrointestinal side effects of metformin. Around 75% of people who take this anti-diabetic drug undergo mild to severe diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. 

The Danger Of Chronic Diarrhea

Chronic diarrhea is one of the worst side effects that never goes away when someone starts taking metformin. This type of Summer Complaint can last for three to four weeks, and a diabetic patient may lose stool three to four times a day. Therefore, they can have severe and life-threatening consequences if not treated with proper care. 

Chronic diarrhea can cause severe dehydration for adults and children and weak immune systems. Below we have outlined several symptoms of chronic diarrhea, such as

  • Abdominal cramps or chest pain
  • bloating 
  • nausea 
  • vomiting 
  • Fever 
  • Blood in the stool
  • Mucus in the stool 
  • And Urgent bowel movement

A diabetic patient who experiences polypharmacy is at a higher risk of chronic diarrhea from the side effect of metformin. In addition, patients may get the above symptoms upon the intake of metformin. Therefore, it is suggested to immediately consult a doctor upon the slightest sign of these symptoms. 

How does Metformin diarrhea occur?

For any medication, the body doesn’t recognize the medicine in the initial weeks. Therefore, your body tries to get rid of those drugs through frequent bowel movements in the form of loose motion.

This natural phenomenon of dealing with these gastrointestinal problems is ‘Detecting Unknown Objects.’ Hence, diarrhea is a neutral response for the body while consuming metformin. 

Another significant reason for metformin diarrhea is the food you eat before taking medicine. There is some known food to cause this side effect. However, these known foods may not directly cause loose motion while consuming metformin but may aid in triggering diarrhea. 

What Are the Common Foods for Metformin Diarrhea?

Foods That Cause Diarrhea

Doctors suggest that metformin should be consumed at most twice a day, after meals. Therefore, the meal plays a vital role in metformin diarrhea. 

Some common foods may aid in causing chronic diarrhea. In the following segment, we will discuss those foods in detail.

1. Fatty foods

Many people are more sensitive to fatty food than others. Consuming more fat-like food beyond your body’s needs will excrete from your small intestine to the colon. Here, these fats will break into fatty acids and cause diarrhea. 

It is always suggested by doctors to avoid trans and saturated fats while taking metformin. Saturated fats tend to trigger more diarrhea while reacting with metformin. Below is a list of some fatty foods that may aid in chronic diarrhea.

  • Fatty meats
  • Poultry skins 
  • Butter
  • Heavy Cream
  • Beacon
  • Soft cheese

2. Fructose

Overeating fructose will result in chronic diarrhea. It is said to be the chief sugar component. Fructose is abundant in honey and table sugar. It causes diarrhea upon excess consumption. 

According to a study at Harvard Medical School, 75 percent of people will be caught diarrhea upon excess consumption, i.e., 40 grams to 60 grams of fructose with metformin. 

Below, we have outlined the most common excess sources of fructose:

  • Table sugar 
  • honey 
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • Highly consented fructose fruits like apple 
  • And many more

3. Milk and Dairy products

Lactose is a surgery component found in milk and dairy products. People start to lose the ability to digest lactose as they age. This sugary component in milk causes lactose intolerance. It is found in a study that about 65 percent of adults are lactose intolerant.

The more you consume milky products before taking metformin, the more you get the chance of diarrhea. Thus it is highly suggested not to eat or drink any milky product before taking metformin. 

These foods are susceptible and may cause severe loose motion for diabetic patients. 

4. Sugar Substitutes

Sugar substitutes are known as artificial sweeteners. They are widely popular among patients with diabetes. But, studies found that these products rapidly ferment and can induce chronic diarrhea upon consumption before taking metformin. 

Experts suggest avoiding sugar substitutes altogether while taking the drug or taking it as low as possible. Below, we have outlined some popular products that contain high amounts of artificial sweeteners.

  • Diet sodas
  • Sugar-free chocolates and candies
  • desserts
  • Chewing gum.
  • Sugar-free cereals.
  • Low-sugar coffee creamer and ketchup

5. High FODMAP foods

FODMAP is also known as short-chain carbohydrates or sugar. These are foods that our small intestine absorbs poorly. These components are highly found in foods like Garlic, Onion, Avocado, white bread, meat substitutes like sausage, and many others.

As these foods contain high amounts of sugary substances, they may cause long bowel movements while consumed with metformin. Therefore, it is advised to consult a doctor before consuming high FODMAP FOODS with metformin or, if possible, consume as little as possible. 

Coffee and Caffeinated Products

Coffee is known to have a high amount of caffeine. This substance is also known as a gut stimulant that speeds up muscle contractions of the digestive systems.

Drinking coffee or taking caffeinated products with metformin may cause gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea. Therefore, doctors suggest not drinking coffee or taking caffeinated products with metformin. Below, we have outlined some caffeinated products which a diabetic patient may avoid with metformin.

  • Coffee
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Soda
  • Tea
  • Caffeinated supplements

7. Alcohol

One of the worst things a diabetic patient can do is drink too much alcohol while taking metformin. The body can’t eliminate lactic acid as one consumes too much alcohol. Drinking too much, especially when taking metformin, can cause lactic acid buildup. 

This buildup may cause severe damage to the kidney, liver, heart, and blood vessels, causing gastrointestinal disorders. 

The gastrointestinal disorder may cause fluttering feelings, nausea, cramping, sharp pains, or chronic diarrhea. Moreover, one may be required to be hospitalized. Thus, it is absolutely a ‘No’ to consume alcohol while taking metformin. 

8. Fried foods, Fast foods, and Spicy foods

One of the common side effects of these Junk and spicy foods is gastrointestinal disorders. In addition, taking metformin with these foods may cause nausea and stomach irritation, which can develop into chronic diarrhea. 

Thus, avoiding these foods can be a good option if one takes metformin medicine. 

How to Reduce the Risk of Metformin Diarrhea?

Severe factors can aid in reducing the risk of loose motion with metformin.

Metformin is the most common and beneficial medicine in treating diabetic patients. Below, we have outlined some top tips for taking metformin without risking chronic metformin diarrhea.

Take Your Metformin With Meals

Doctors suggest that taking metformin with a meal can reduce the risk of diarrhea than consuming it on an empty stomach. 

It is advised to take this medicine with high protein meals or snacks. Moreover, this drug has better tolerance in the evening before going to sleep. Therefore, consuming metformin after dinner is a smart option. 

Never Take More Than is Prescribed by Your Physicians

Metformin is a prescription drug. As discussed earlier, many complications and side effects are involved if proper caution is not taken while consuming the medicine. Hence, it is essential to follow the prescription prescribed by your doctor and to follow the rules prescribed.

Take a Break When Consuming This Medicine

It takes a lot to digest metformin. Therefore, stopping this medicine for a few weeks will aid in healing your gut and prevent diarrhea from coming back. However, it is always advised to talk to your physician before stopping this drug. 

Foods That Can Reduce the Risk of Diarrhea With Metformin

Some foods reduce the risk of watery stool with this anti-diabetic drug. Below we have outlined the foods suggested by experts to reduce the high risk of diarrhea with metformin.

1. Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are usually found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They are difficult for the body to absorb, thus slowing the release of glucose in the body. 

It is crucial to monitor your blood sugar level if you consume carbohydrates. This is because it can directly affect your blood glucose levels.

2. Starch-free Vegetable

Starch-free vegetables like broccoli and leafy green vegetables can slow down the carb metabolism reducing the risk of diarrhea. 

3. Healthy Fats

Healthy fats can reduce the risk of diarrhea. They are found in fish, nuts, and olive oil.

4. Moderate Fiber Initiate

Excessive fiber consumption with metformin can be harmful, while moderate intake can help to control the blood sugar level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should one stop metformin because of diarrhea?

No, one should not stop taking metformin because of diarrhea. However, with a doctor’s advice, patience may give a pause.

Does diarrhea from metformin cause weight loss?

Yes, metformin may cause weight loss. As this drug possesses several side effects, one tends to eat less food which aids in weight loss.

How long does metformin give you diarrhea?

There is no definite time limit for metformin diarrhea. This can start with a loose motion for a day or two and run for two to three weeks. 

Final Verdict

Metformin Diarrhea can cause severe damage to your body if not treated with reasonable care. In addition, the side effects of metformin can sharply increase if consumed with foods containing highly sugary products, saturated fats, caffeine, alcohol, etc.

Chronic diarrhea due to metformin needs to be treated as early as possible, and consult the doctor immediately. In addition, treating your lifestyle cautiously and eating a healthy diet while consuming metformin is always a wise option. A healthy diet for a healthy life should be the motto of every individual.