Meralgia paraesthetica is a chronic and often very debilitating thigh pain that happens when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is either pinched or trapped in some way. There is no single cause for meralgia paraesthetica but it is usually caused by the stomach becoming enlarged and in turn putting pressure on the groin area. In fact there are 3 potential areas where the nerve can become trapped, with the areas next to the spinal column, within the abdominal cavity and where the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve leaves the pelvis. This is by far the most common site of entrapment and can cause significant levels of pain.
Often meralgia paraesthetica is attributed to being overweight or obese. This is because weight gain can result in the nerve becoming trapped. People who are overweight may also wear clothes that are tight and in turn the tight clothing can put pressure on the nerve.
However, if you have this condition then do not assume that it is because you are overweight. If you have diabetes, specifically diabetes mellitus, which is also referred to as type 2 diabetes, then you can also be at risk from meralgia paraesthetica.
The diabetes can cause nerve injury or neuropathic damage that in turn can lead to meralgia paraesthetica. People who have diabetes mellitus that is controlled by insulin may find that they put on weight. This puts them at greater risk because the weight can put pressure on the nerve, especially if it is carried specifically on the stomach area.
Living With Diabetes and Meralgia Paraesthetica
Advice varies on how to treat meralgia paraesthetica in diabetics, which is understandable because there is no one single cause. For example, a diabetic who wears a tight belt as part of a uniform may have meralgia paraestetica because of the tight belt, but if he is over weight, it could be caused by the excess weight, or it could be nerve damage specifically from the diabetes mellitus.
The important thing to ascertain is what is causing the meralgia paraesthetica in the first place and then tailor make a treatment regime for the individual patient. This is not a condition where one treatment option will suit all.
However, it is important for anyone with diabetes to try and manage the diabetes effectively and ensure that secondary conditions such as this paraesthetica are not allowed to gain a hold, or if they do that their effects are minimal.
Diet and Diabetic Meralgia Paraesthetica
People with diabetes often find it difficult to lose weight, but it is important to try and lose weight if you are overweight. Managing your diet can also be important. If you keep your blood sugar levels stable, then you will find that you feel better generally. In turn this can make it easier to exercise, to undertake walking or physiotherapy and so you are more likely to be able to lose a little weight. So diet can influence how severe the symptoms of meralgia paraesthetica are if you have diabetes.