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Constipation in Parkinson's Disease

by Erik Steel
  • Overview

    In Parkinson's disease, voluntary and involuntary muscle movements are lost or become impaired because of a lack of the neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) dopamine. Constipation is one of the effects of this disease.
  • Identification

    According to the Mayo Clinic and Merck Manuals, constipation occurs in Parkinson's disease because the muscles of the digestive system are working more slowly.
  • Features

    Merck Manuals reports that constipation can be worsened by the Parkinson's medication levodopa (used by the brain to produce dopamine) and by inactivity.
  • Similar Symptoms

    According to the Mayo Clinic, Parkinson's disease can also lead to both urinary incontinence and retention of urine.
  • Treatment

    The following are recommended by Merck Manuals to lessen constipation: eating high-fiber foods and drinking plenty of fluids, exercise and using stool softeners.
  • Warning

    The Mayo Clinic reported in 2009 that chronic constipation may be a risk factor for later developing Parkinson's disease.

    References & Resources