Q. I am suffering from such severe diarrhea I am sometimes afraid to leave the house. I also have bad gas and bouts of abdominal pain. I suspect the metformin I take for diabetes, but my doctor says my symptoms are not from my medicine.

The Prevacid I take for my heartburn isn’t helping enough to justify the expense. I am also experiencing pain and tingling in my toes.

I need a remedy like cinnamon to help me control my blood sugar and foods that will help with my gas and heartburn. Please send me some information.

A. Metformin (Glucophage) can cause diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, flatulence and stomachache. Acid-suppressing drugs like lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec) or esomeprazole (Nexium) won’t solve the problem completely and may interfere with absorption of vitamin B12.

Metformin is also linked to reduced levels of vitamin B12. Because this vitamin is crucial for nerve function, deficiency can contribute to numbness, tingling or pain of the toes, feet or fingers, trouble walking, memory problems, depression, confusion and burning tongue.

Cinnamon shouldn’t be substituted for your diabetes drug, but it may be helpful. Another reader reports: “I have had type 2 diabetes for 12 years and started taking two cinnamon capsules with my supper about three months ago. My pre-breakfast blood glucose reading that used to average 155 mg/dl is now averaging 120. Cinnamon works!

“I also eat oatmeal with ground flax seed and oat bran for breakfast and my cholesterol is perfect. I take metformin, glyburide and Actos.”

Learn more about ways to control blood sugar naturally in our book, Best Choices from The People’s Pharmacy. It has¬†recommendations on foods to help control blood sugar, cholesterol and heartburn.

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  1. Carol A. C.

    You shouldn’t be afraid of diabetes it’s not a death sentence as long as you take good care of yourself you can live a healthy and long life. You have to keep trying meds until you find one that agrees with you… I have had type 2 for 15 years and have been on glucophage for all of those years, not the generic the brand name trust me there is a difference… anyway my doctor wanted to add other diabetes meds since my blood sugar was going over 7 AIC and I couldn’t tolerate any of them so I asked him to put me on insulin and he refused so I fired him and found myself a new doctor and she gave me the insulin… It’s a pen, the needles are so tiny you can hardly see them …. It’s the best thing I ever did for myself…I am feeling much better and I have great blood sugar now…
    I take lantus once a day and humalog with meals only when I need it plus glucophage made by Bristol Squib and Meyers… doctors swear that generic is the same as brand name but they need to educate themselves because I tried generic and I thought I was going to die… so do some reading on the internet, educate yourself as much as possible, remember knowledge is power and make your own decisions as to what you want to put in your body, after all it’s your body…
    I also take magnesium and chromium picolinate and my doctor put me on vitamin D which she said was very low and is a big contributor to out of control sugar… lately after 17 years with diabetes I was beginning to get tingling in my fingers and I started to take sublingual vitamin B12 and it worked wonders…. so everyone on here who has this neuropathy find yourself a good doctor who will listen to you and help you find a natural way to treat your neuropathy before it gets too bad and you cannot reverse it…

  2. SBPitts

    I have type two and I’m diabetic I take novolog 25 units before meals (fast acting)
    and check my blood sugar two hours later good to do.At night I take 100 units of Lantus– low my blood sugar in the morning to 120 which is great.
    Stay away from bread, meats are good, walk everyday take vitamin b12 and
    vitamins everyday I take V8j uice with my pills and cuts the taste and very good for you. I take orange juice when sugar is low. Have a small treat like a small cup of ice cream once in a while you deserve it. Relax and do not get up tight about being Diabetic, follow you Dr’s orders it’s very important.

  3. cavitta

    I am 42 years old and I was diagnosed with Diabetes 2 weeks ago and was immediately put on metformin. This is from a new doctor. She increased my simvastatin (cholesterol) from 5mg to 10mg then to 20mg in a matter of a few days. She also changed the dosage of my liprinosil and added a blocker. The simvastatin and liprinosil were changed on my first visit before any labs were done.
    The whole diabetes issue has been an emotional experience. I am now experiencing tingling in my hands and toes like crazy. I drink lots of water and my urine is now yellow. I go to the gym at least 5 times a week now and have lost some weight. I haven’t checked my blood sugar because we can’t get the meter to work. I meet with a family educator this Wednesday and see the doctor on Friday. I don’t think I will ever be able to prick myself as I hate needles and the sight of blood just about makes me faint.
    I could use all the help I can get. The nurse called me on a Friday while I was driving home from work to tell me I had this and I’m extremely devastated.

  4. Carol M

    In response to suffering from metformin. I finally changed Drs after 9 mo of suffering just like you, lost 13 lbs. My Dr sent me to a specialist for sigmoidoscopy to see if she could find the answer. Just before the procedure began he asked if I took
    metformin… said yes… he said to never take another one as long as I live as I had become allergic to it, had taken it for 3 yrs.
    I called my Dr and told her to change my medication and when she refused I immediately found another who put me on glimipiride.. never had all that suffering again. My appetite came back, I gained 12 lbs in 3 mo. I can’t express enough how it was the metformin and would tell anyone with a problem to stop it. The specialist even told me to put in on my allergy list so no one would ever give me one again. Drs are right most of the time, but they can be wrong, so be your own dr and listen to your gut feeling and follow it through.

  5. cb

    Thank you so much. This is what I’ve been looking for all my life. I am not diabetic. But my girlfriend is. I think that Cinnamon will help her.

  6. curious

    I haven’t started taking this medicine, but I am curious of taking this medicine when it states “liver problems”. My two tests showed my blood sugar was high and I am being tested again to rule if it’s diabetes. Well, my doctor prescribed this medicine, but I have a hemangioma on my liver and no, I don’t have any problems with the hemangioma. Is it safe for me to take, because the Dr said it’s ok? Also, does diarrhea start the same day you take the medicine or the medication has to get in your system good? I work a day shift, so will it be ok for me take this at night?

  7. B. Boop

    please give advice regarding natural remedies or treatment for diabetes and blood pressure-there are side effects noticed from metformin and lisinopril, or maybe just one of them–spouse is dizzy, had headaches (his whole head hurts). Wondering if due to medications… doctor is too quick with prescriptions!!

  8. Sheila

    One of the side effects of diabetes is gastroparesis with similar symptoms of gastrointestinal issues. Hopefully, you have a really good Gastroenterologist to diagnose you. While I am not Diabetic, I was diagnosed with severe gastroparesis with my stomach only emptying at nine percent. For years I tried various medications and thought I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Good luck.

  9. Kathy L.

    My Dr. has been trying to get me off shots for my diabetes. He tried Metformin extended. Then to lower my morning sugars more he wanted me to add regular metformin in the am. I could not take it. All the symptoms your reader listed, I had. When I stopped taking the regular metformin they all went away.
    But I have found I can take the extended with my evening meals and my morning sugars are down. Then in the morning I take a glipizide er. Between the two my sugars are staying way down and NO MORE SHOTS! So maybe the reader could ask the Dr. about the extended metformin. It sure works for me.

  10. Dru

    All of your symptoms may also be indicative of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. You should have serum antibody tests run to determine whether this is the culprit.

  11. PP

    Why not substitute almonds for prevacid. A few weeks ago, someone was saying that 6 almonds every evening fought off heartburn.

  12. L S

    I took Prevacid for heartburn. After about 4 mos I came down with acute diarrhea, which none of the doctors could find a reason for. I quit taking Prevacid and went back to omeprazole and in 3 days my bowels were back to normal. My diarrhea was so bad that I lost 35 pounds and couldn’t leave the house. Also my sister had the same problem with Prevacid. This is how I found out about my problem.

  13. lpc

    I took Zantac for years for hyper-acidity. When it did not suppress the acidity enough I was switched to Prevacid. Daily diarrhea was the result.
    I was put on Nexium and the diarrhea stopped. Just to test, a few weeks later I took a Prevacid and the next day I had diarrhea. Have you tried eliminating dairy from your diet?

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