Helpful articles on aspects of living with PD


In a recent survey it was found that 64% of people with Parkinson’s disease suffered with an altered bowel habit, and of these, 88% suffered with constipation. With PD there tends to be a general slowing down of the body’s movement e.g. in walking, in blinking. The same applies to the movement of the bowel, known medically as  “PERISTALSIS”.

Being constipated can cause a considerable amount of distress for the person concerned. It causes other symptoms like nausea, abdominal pain, bloating of the abdomen and a general feeling of being unwell. Constipation can mean different things to different people in the sense that everybody’s bowel pattern is different. It might mean to one person that they have not had a bowel motion in 1-2 days or it could be up to 5 days to one week. On the other hand it may also mean that the motion or stool is very dry or hard and difficult to pass even if the person has a bowel movement every day. Since Sinemet and Madopar are absorbed in the gut, the medicine has to leave the stomach before it can be absorbed. If you are constipated there is a chance that your Sinemet may not be absorbed properly, and in this way you will not get its full benefit.

Top Tip
When it’s time to take the next tablet, instead of just taking sips of water with each tablet, take ˝ a glass – a full small glass of water. The amount of fluid soon mounts up if you are taking tablets 4-5 times daily.

When the constipation gets severe it generally causes abdominal pain. This is caused by the bowel going into spasm – colic. This can cause a lot of discomfort.

While you are suffering with constipation, you might even start to get some diarrhoea. This is called overflow diarrhoea, where the loose stool in the upper bowel passes around the hard constipated stool in the lower bowel and hence you have diarrhoea.


§         Firstly it is healthy to drink plenty of fluids per day. It is recommended that at least 2-3 litres of fluid is taken in daily - any type of fluid will do but water is best.

§         Try drinking Prune juice or eating prunes or any type of fruit with your breakfast.

§         Increase the amount of Fibre in your diet - cereals, vegetables, beans and fruits.

§         Exercise – try to keep fit and active - long periods of immobility increase the risk of constipation.

§         Gentle laxatives – taking Milpar 10-20mls twice to three times a day will slowly and gently relieve constipation.

§         Glycerine Suppositories - 1 or 2 of them placed in the rectum will help to relieve the discomfort and make you go.

§         Senekot tablets or liquid taken at night will work very well, as the effect works overnight so that the bowel moves the next day.

§         Microlax or Toilax enemas - 1 or 2 of them given per rectum will be very effective and should relieve the constipation and cause a bowel motion within 10-15 minutes.

Please consult your doctor before taking any of these medicines

  • A regular self-abdominal massage can be very effective in promoting the wave of movement in the bowel/colon (peristalsis).

  • Interestingly, cells in the brain of individuals with Parkinson’s, and nerve cells in the colon of people with complicated constipation share one thing in common – a lack of dopamine.