Both the autonomic and radiculoplexus variants of diabetic neuropathy can cause a patient to bloat or swell in their abdominal area. This symptom occurs because high glucose can easily damage the nerves that control the muscles responsible for moving food through the digestive tract properly. When these nerves in the abdomen become damaged and impair signals to the abdominal muscles, food will not move through the digestive tract as fast as it should. Consequently, food tends to sit in the affected individual's stomach for an extended period. When food sits in the stomach too long, bacteria in the food itself and the stomach begin to consume its rotting contents before it can be digested. This bacterial consumption creates byproducts, some of which are in the form of gas. The buildup of gas in the stomach and intestines along with the inflammation that results from gastroparesis causes the patient's abdominal area to appear swollen or abnormally full.
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