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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

How to keep things moving: Dealing with constipation and Parkinson

Updated: May 12, 2023


Constipation is a common issue in Parkinson's with 63% of individuals with PD reporting this to be a non-motor sign of their PD. For some constipation can be present up to 10 years prior to the motor signs of PD.

The Bristol stool chart is a helpful guide for the state of your digestive system (see below). A good goal is to have your bowel movements be a type 3 or 4. This type of BM looks like a banana. Type 1 and 2 are linked to constipation.

Why does this occur in PD?

It is linked to bradykinesia - the slowing down of the gut muscles, inactivity, dehydration, and side effects to medications. Constipation is often seen when taking a high level of carbidopa-levadopa. When you are constipated you will often have to take a higher dosage of medication as your body is having difficulty absorbing the medication.

What can you do to get things moving?

Drink up - aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water

Eat fruits and veggies - aim for 6-8 cups / day

Keep moving - 30 minutes of movement / day

Reduce stress - Mindfulness or meditation daily

Try magnesium citrate- Before starting this consult with your medical provider. Magnesium citrate helps to bring water into your intestines and relax your bowels making it easier to have a BM.

These may look familiar. They are part of our 5 to thrive plan. Sign up for our email list to receive information on the importance of these along with a weekly tracking sheet to help keep you on target!

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