Constipation is a common problem experienced by many people with Parkinson's disease. It can be a frustrating and uncomfortable symptom that can negatively impact a person's quality of life. Fortunately, there are ways to manage constipation and improve bowel function. Let’s explore some possible causes of constipation and I can give you some suggestions to try to get your bowels working more regularly.
Constipation in Parkinson's disease is caused by a combination of factors, including motor symptoms, medication side effects, and changes in the autonomic nervous system. The motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease can affect the muscles of the digestive tract, leading to slower digestion and reduced motility. This can result in stools that are harder and more difficult to pass. Medications used to treat Parkinson's disease can also contribute to constipation. Anticholinergic medications, such as benztropine and trihexyphenidyl, can slow down the digestive system, leading to constipation. Changes in the autonomic nervous system can also play a role in constipation in Parkinson's disease. The autonomic nervous system controls the involuntary functions of the body, including digestion. Changes in this system can lead to decreased bowel movements and constipation.
When Im working with my private clients I tend to recommend a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes, along with targeted supplements to improve bowel function. When these suggestion are put into action clients see quite noticeable changes for the better.
One of the key dietary changes is to work on increasing your fibr intake. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested by the body. Instead, it passes through the digestive system largely intact, adding bulk to the stool and promoting regular bowel movements. Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Dr. Hyman also recommends drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, which can help soften the stool and make it easier to pass. Are you drinking atleast 2L of water a day?
In addition to dietary changes I also recommend regular exercise as a way to improve bowel function. Exercise can help stimulate the digestive tract and promote regular bowel movements. Even light exercise, such as walking or yoga, can be beneficial for people with Parkinson's disease but you all know how important the ‘right’ kind of exercise is KEY to keeping your Parkinsons at bay.
Last but certainly not least are some targeted supplements that can help to improve bowel function One supplement that may be helpful for constipation in Parkinson's disease is magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in muscle relaxation, including the muscles of the digestive tract. Supplementing with magnesium can help promote regular bowel movements and improve your sleep so it’s a win a win. Consult a professional for the right dosage so you taking what you need for it to be effective.
Another great supplement is Vitamin C. This one helps to boost your immune system but it can also loosen your stools when taken in higher doses. This one you hav to play around with the amount as everyone can tolerate different amounts. However you can increase the dosage to bowel tolerance and then you’ll know what your lucky dosage amount it:)
Constipation can be caused by a combination of factors, including motor symptoms, medication side effects, and changes in the autonomic nervous system. To alleviate constipation I always suggest a holistic approach that includes dietary and lifestyle changes, along with targeted supplements. By making these changes, you can really improve your bowel function and enjoy a better quality of life.
You got this:)