There are many symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including tremors, problems with memory and thinking, stiffness, and pain. Another possible symptom of Parkinson’s disease is constipation.
If an individual has Parkinson’s disease, it may cause them to experience constipation. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects the nervous system.
In this article, we discuss the link between Parkinson’s disease and constipation, how Parkinson’s disease affects the digestive system, how constipation can manifest, and more.
Constipation often occurs before the onset of motor symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease can affect the ANS, which can cause it to function improperly. As a result, the intestinal tract can slow down, leading to constipation.
Certain Parkinson’s disease medications may also cause constipation, including:
Parkinson’s disease can affect the digestive system in a number of ways.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in controlling muscle movement in the body. It can stimulate muscles in the digestive tract to help the digestive system function.
Parkinson’s disease can lead to dopamine deficiency, which can cause a person’s digestive system to slow down or function inefficiently. This in turn can result in constipation.
Gastroparesis is common in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and can cause a person to develop symptoms
Also, Parkinson’s disease can impact the muscles involved in chewing, swallowing, and speaking.
Common signs and symptoms of constipation
There are a number of possible treatment options for constipation due to Parkinson’s disease. Below are some that a person may wish to consider.
Dietary and lifestyle changes
- adding more fiber to their diet
- staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other liquids
- engaging in regular physical activity
- establishing a routine and, if possible, attempting to have a bowel movement at the same time each day
Medications to treat constipation
Individuals may also take medications for constipation. However, a person with Parkinson’s disease should consult a doctor first.
Common medication treatments for constipation
- bulk-forming laxatives, such as psyllium (Metamucil), methylcellulose (Citrucel), and polycarbophil (FiberCon, Konsyl)
- milk of magnesia
- stool softeners, such as Colace and Docusate
- lubricants, such as mineral oil
- stimulants, such as Correctol and Dulcolax
One of the most common laxatives doctors use to treat chronic constipation, such as that in people with Parkinson’s disease, is polyethylene glycol, an osmotic laxative.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that can benefit a person’s health. They are present in the digestive system, but people can also add them to their diets by eating certain foods and taking supplements.
Probiotics can be an effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease-related constipation.
The authors of a
The study found that multi-strain probiotic treatment was effective at treating constipation in people with Parkinson’s disease. Not only did it alleviate constipation symptoms, but it also led to improvements in stool consistency and quality of life.
There is no specific method for preventing constipation resulting from Parkinson’s disease.
However, a person may try some of the following methods to reduce their risk of developing constipation:
- eating a balanced diet rich in fiber
- drinking 48–64 ounces, or 6–8 cups, of water per day
- exercising regularly, preferably every day
- drinking warm liquids, particularly in the morning
- drinking warm prune juice
- adding prunes to their diet
- increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables they consume
- incorporating bran cereal into their diet
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk to stools and helps prevent constipation.
Insoluble fiber plays a role in helping prevent constipation, and therefore, a person with Parkinson’s disease may want to add more insoluble fiber to their diet.
Foods that contain insoluble fiber include:
A person should aim to consume 20–25 grams of fiber per day.
Evidence suggests that low fluid intake can increase a person’s likelihood of developing constipation.
Some Parkinson’s disease medications can also raise an individual’s risk of becoming dehydrated.
As people with Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk of constipation, it is important that they drink enough fluids.
The Parkinson’s Foundation suggests that those with Parkinson’s disease drink 6–8 cups of water daily to help keep constipation at bay.
Bowel training and optimal toilet habits are an effective method of reducing the risk of constipation. By training the body to have a bowel movement at the same time each day, it is possible for a person to establish a more regular bowel movement routine.
One way of doing this is by trying to have a bowel movement
It is also important that people with Parkinson’s disease give themselves enough time to have a bowel movement. They should use the bathroom as soon as they feel the need to go and should give themselves time to relax and not feel rushed.
Individuals with Parkinson’s disease may also find it beneficial to relax their muscles and put their feet on a footstool to feel more comfortable when on the toilet.
A person should also try pushing from their waist and avoid holding their breath and straining when on the toilet.
Complications of chronic constipation include:
If a person has Parkinson’s disease and is experiencing constipation, they should seek guidance from a healthcare professional.
A doctor will suggest dietary and lifestyle changes that may help with constipation. They may also prescribe suitable medications.
A person should contact a doctor right away if they have constipation and the
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that causes symptoms such as tremors, stiffness, pain, and cognitive impairment. Constipation is another possible symptom of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease can affect the ANS, which plays a role in regulating the digestive system. By impacting the ANS, the condition can cause digestion to slow down, resulting in constipation.
Some Parkinson’s disease medications may also cause constipation.
In order to treat their constipation, a person with Parkinson’s disease should add more fiber to their diet, drink plenty of water and other liquids, exercise regularly, and try to establish a regular bowel movement routine.