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More than 80% of people with Parkinson's experience constipation, and it can be an early sign of Parkinson's. When dopamine levels drop, the smooth muscle contractions throughout your digestive system slow down. This causes the colon to move stool through slowly, which can make it difficult to eliminate as it becomes dry or hard.

Constipation can become severe and induce a medical emergency. If you do not have a bowel movement (BM) every three days or experience fullness, discomfort, or abdominal pain, talk to your physician. Additionally, certain medications can worsen constipation. While there are medications that can aide with constipation, seeking natural remedies can be the optimal choice. This includes:

  • Seek out a variety of high-fiber foods such as beans, lentils, avocados, flax seeds, celery, broccoli, turnips, pears, peas, carrots, nuts, oats, barley and lettuce. If large amounts of raw fruit and vegetables are difficult to tolerate, consider dried fruits, hot prune juice, canned fruits, and soft-cooked vegetables.

  • Whole foods generally provide more nutrition rather than choosing fiber supplements that impact overall PD wellness. Adding a high-fiber cereal to your diet is important, but it should be started slowly and with small amounts. Large amounts may cause stomach cramps and excess gas, particularly in people who cannot exercise.

  • Stay hydrated to keep stool soft and smooth with a recommendation of 64 ounces of water every day. Increase your daily fluid intake, especially in hot weather.

  • Try drinking warm liquids, especially in the morning, as they can stimulate bowel movements. Some coffee and teas can improve constipation; however, caffeine intake should be monitored to prevent sleep issues.

  • Sugar free hard candy has also been proven to help ease constipation.

  • If changing your diet doesn't work, you may want to try an over-the-counter laxative or stool softener to ease movements.

  • Exercise regularly. 30 minutes of daily exercise keeps your gastrointestinal tract healthy.


Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's. Every Victory Counts, Your Go-To-Resource of Essential Information and Inspiration for Living Well with Parkinson's. Pages 84-85.  "Manual." Sixth Edition, 2021.

Marie, Liane Help for Constipation. Chapter 45. Page 133. The Complete Guide for People with Parkinson's Disease and Their Loved Ones. Purdue University Press, 2022.


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