Something about PD that you may not know is that it directly damages the autonomic nervous system. This is the part of your nervous system that basically runs on autopilot. Your breathing, saliva production, tear formation, blood pressure regulation, heart rate and rhythm, digestion, etc are all controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Think fight or flight or resting and digesting and there you have it. When eating food and then digesting the smooth muscles in the gut rhythmically contract in a function called peristalsis. However, in a person with Parkinson's the muscles of the gut are inhibited and therefore do not contract efficiently. This slows down the flow of fecal matter in the small intestine and hence the colon. The stool then becomes dried out and harder, resulting in constipation. There are other factors that can directly make this worse or be secondary causes to constipation when associated with PD and that is what we will list next:
What can be done?
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Dr. Michael Hyland, DPT, CEEAA has been a physical therapist since 2012. He is a Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult and an expert in Parkinson's Disease. He owns Hyland Physical Therapy and Wellness in Broken Arrow, OK