Constipation is a common problem among people with Parkinson’s disease. It is the most commonly identified as the first symptom of PD.
Symptoms of constipation include:
Having fewer than three bowel movements per week
Passing hard, dry, or lumpy stools
Having to push or strain to have a bowel movement
Painful bowel movements
Feeling as though your rectum is blocked
Feeling as though your rectum is full even after having a bowel movement
According to a review in the Journal of Gastroenterology, constipation affects as much as 19% of the general population. According to the International Review of Neurobiology, up to 63% of people with PD experience constipation. It is one of the most common non-motor symptoms of PD.
Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is involved in controlling muscle movement. It sends signals that help your muscles move.
People with PD lack sufficient dopamine for the system to operate optimally. This makes it more difficult for the bowel muscles to push matter through the GI tract. This lead to constipation.
Recent research indicates that PD negatively impacts the physiology and function of the anus and rectum as well. This means reduced anal sphincter pressure. This makes bowel movements more difficult.