Bowel, bladder, mood, sleep issues all PD related?

I was diagnosed with PD 1 year ago at the age of 42 but I’ve had various symptoms that could be attributed to it going back many years. The question in my mind is, is it all connected to PD? Here’s a run-down of issues I’ve had in the last few months:

Waking up at 4 or 5 am and not being able to get back to sleep. Sleep issues go back many years. A few years ago had big problems with excessive daytime sleepiness.
Very irregular bowel movements. About 10 years ago I was told I had IBS. Had haemorrhoid banding this year.
Mood swings, feel OK most of the time but get very low about once a month. I was diagnosed with depression 20 years ago and take meds. Anxiety also an issue.
Need to pee often, especially at night, an off and on problem. I’ve always had a “weak” bladder.

So can I contribute all these things to PD?

I was diagnosed just over a year ago at 50 and can relate to almost everything you have said. So I would say yes definitley

All sounds familiar to me too.
Chuck in forgetfulness and light headedness as well for me

Forgetfulness, yes that too, I’m bad with people’s names, even with some people I have known for years, I get names muddled up and then I get anxious about saying the wrong name. I think my working memory has become affected too. Light-headedness too, I get orthostatic hypotension.

I want it to all be connected to PD then it would all make sense. At the same time I don’t want it to be. My symptoms are similar to yours, what lead to my diagnosis was I started dragging my right foot. A huge shock for me too, I could never have managed it.

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I used to skip with a rope for exercise…
I found that my right foot wouldn’t leave the floor

I don’t have so much trouble with my foot, in fact I bought a skipping rope this year to incorporate into my workout and it was a great idea. I just have lots of other annoying symptoms, like stiffness in my back.

It all looks very familiar to me too.
Haemorrhoids were banded a few years ago - that was fun!
Bladder problems were put down to an enlarged prostrate - benign so no worries there.
My voice hasn’t recovered from throat surgery 12 months ago. I think the lack of recovery can be put down to PD.
Lack of motivation on a regular basis.

PD has a lot to answer for…

I just watched a lot of the Invictus Games. That was motivational.


I am 53. I get all the same symptoms. Now struggling with swallowing. Can’t get off a chair unaided. Need sticks to walk…all PD…joy!!!

I’m sorry to hear that lennybear.
My bowels are irregular but not exactly constipated. I don’t got for 2 days, then I go, then about an hour later I need to go again, then again, like I can’t empty my bowels completely. Finally my bowels are empty, then the whole weird process repeats itself.

I have a similar experience as. For when I finally go, I was given a trick by a Prostate nurse specialist. The trick is to raise your legs when you are sitting on the toilet, so your knees are almost up to your chin (as if you were using an Asian toilet). This has the effect of straitening your colon, making it easier to pass the odd log. I use a stool designed for small children to use to reach the sink. It helps me. Do you find any correlation between your on/ off days and your bowel movements? It doesn’t appear to be so for me, but it might be too subtle for me to notice.

Hi David. Thanks for the tip. No, I don’t have on/off days, guess I haven’t progressed enough to that point. The only thing that points to me being “off” is my handwriting getting smaller. My bowels just seem to have a mind of their own. Maybe I need to make some changes to my diet which which is hard, discipline wise.

Reporting Non-Motor Symptoms

Long before I knew anything about Parkinson’s I had noted the following symptoms.

May 2002 I developed insomnia after taking Sertraline for only 13 days.

Then my GP gave me Amitriptyline for the insomnia which I took for only 2 days. A couple of months later I had pins and needles in my right arm [paresthesia]. I mentioned it to my GP and he dismissed it with the comment, “Your brain can’t possibly do that”.

October 2002 I saw a Movement Disorder specialist for the first time and as my abnormal involuntary movements continued to worsen in December 2002 I was given Sulpiride which I took for a couple of months.

By January 2004 I noted ‘mouth dribbling’ in my diary. February 2002 I reported this at my neurology appointment. It is there in the handwritten clinical notes, “Complaining of Siallorhea” [excess of saliva] but is omitted from the report.

By May 2003 I was feeling very fatigued. I mentioned this to the neurology assistant as she was filling in my DLA form [Disability Living Allowance]. To my dismay she dismissed this saying something like ‘that won’t count’.

Also May 2003 mentioned to Speech therapist my swallow affected [dysphagia]

June 2003 I was starting to cut down on benzhexol and started getting aches and pains in my back.

Then August 2003 very nasty pain in my chest. No one told me Benzhexol was an aNTI-PARKINSON DRUG. Movement disorder specialist dismissive of chest pain, “ I think it is very unlikely that the pain in your chest is due to Dystonia.” But doesn’t say anything about parkinsonism.

By August 2003 I was also reporting profuse sweating. The assistant was again dismissive, ascribing it to my excessive movements. No mention in the report.

Many Faces of Parkinson’s Disease: Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease Hye Mi Lee and Seong-Beom Koh J Mov Disord. 2015 May; 8(2): 92–97.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is considered a multi-systemic neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by a combination of motor and non-motor symptoms (NMS).

For a long time the main clinical focus in PD has been on the motor symptoms, however, there is increasing recognition that the clinical spectrum of PD is more extensive, also including NMS. NMS of PD comprised a variety of cognitive, neuropsychiatric, sleep, autonomic, and sensory dysfunctions.

Neuroanatomically, NMS may be subdivided into

cortical manifestations (psychosis and cognitive impairment),

basal ganglia symptoms (impulse control disorders, apathy, and restlessness or akathisia),

brainstem symptoms (depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders),

and the peripheral nervous system disturbances [orthostatic hypotension (OH), constipation, pain, and sensory disturbances]

International Multicenter Pilot Study of the First Comprehensive Self-Completed Nonmotor Symptoms Questionnaire for Parkinson’s Disease : The NMSQuest Study K. R. Chaudhuri et al., NONMOTOR SYMPTOMS AND PD Movement Disorders, Vol. 21, No. 7, 2006

Nonmotor symptoms (NMS) of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are not well recognized in clinical practice, either in primary or in secondary care, and are frequently missed during routine consultation

It has been reported that nonmotor symptoms of PD are not identified by neurologists in over 50% of consultations

and sleep disturbance in particular is not recognized in over 40% of PD patients.

Patients (with the aid of caregivers where necessary) completed the questionnaire while waiting to be seen by

the nurse practitioners or physicians. Average time taken to complete the questionnaire was 5 to 7 minutes.

On an average, most patients reported at least 10 different NMS. Three patients reported 20 NMS,

while two had reports of 24 and 27.

Below is a direct link to the Non-Motor Symptoms questionnaire on this website (PDUK). This can easily be cut and pasted this to a one page form to report your NMS symptoms.

I still wonder about this, particularly if my mood is and has been affected by PD. Somehow if true it’s very hard to accept.
With my bowel issues I believe it’s the PD. And I’m bleeding again from the rectum, it’s my hemorrhoids though I did have them banded.
With my sleep, is waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep caused by PD in some way? It could just be anxiety. Is anxiety caused by PD? I can certainly get anxious easily. I don’t handle stress well. Some of it is from my struggle to self-actualise. Perhaps PD has hindered that process. Perhaps it’s all connected.

Hello VW
All your symptoms add up. Mine were very much the same. I also had and still have Rem Sleep Disorder. Hemorrhoids I was told The sphinkter spasms and won,t relax. Try taking deep breaths and relax as much as possible on the loo.

The lack of sleep also adds to the mood swings. Try to do a little exercise 2 hours before bed and drink little just before bed. Catch 22 fluid helps with BM. But less fluid less visit to the loo. American and am learning different words in the Uk.

Life really becomes a ritual with Parkinson’s. If my wife and I go on a 5 day trip it sends me into a tis. Eat wrong, sleep different, slow as a duck on land, shake worse.

Parkinson’s club membership. Free to join. But who the hell wants to be a member. Tom PWP

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Hi @VW,

Yes, some people with Parkinson’s may experience anxiety, including feelings of unease, worry and fear. Anxiety may be related to changes in brain chemicals, which control and regulate your mood. Any concerns you have about living with a long-term condition may also cause anxiety. In the majority of cases, anxiety can be treated. And there are different things you can try to help manage your symptoms.

You may want to consider complementary therapies as way to help you relax. We have more information on this on our website here -

I hope you find this information helpful.

Best wishes,

I’ve been starting to feel more certain that my anxiety and my mood swings are a symptom of the pd. I find I have these mood swings and there’s no other explanation for them. I’ve had depression too and been treated for that in the past (well before the dx) but now it’s just mood swings. I’ll feel low for a day or two and then bounce back. The anxiety has been there a long long time.

So I would say the mood swings and the anxiety are my biggest non motor symptoms, followed by my bowels and my sleep. I had banding done but I must have another haemorrhoid because I’m still bleeding so back to the colorectal dr. Sleep is ok at the moment, I just find I wake up too early and can’t relax enough to go back to sleep.

Other only slightly annoying problems are bad short term memory and orthostatic hypotension.

Fatigue is not an issue for me, I find my energy levels have not changed at all, for now.

Hi @VW,

I think your observations are right, your anxieties and bowel issues definitely sound like symptoms of Parkinson’s. Have you raised this with your GP or Parkinson’s nurse? If not, I’d recommend that you speak to them about this so they can advise you on the kind of support that’s available to you. You can also speak to one our trusted advisers via our helpline to speak about your symptoms in more details, they can offer more information and support as well.

Do give us a call on 0808 800 0303 or email us at [email protected].

Best wishes,

Hi Reah
Thank you for your support. Yes I have raised all these issues with my GP and neuro. In fact they existed many years before my pd diagnosis. I have had specialised treatment for the anxiety but it has never really gone away. I have been taking Effexor for over 10 years now, it does help my mood. I have worked with a psychoanalyst too which was helpful.

Hi @VW,

I’m glad to hear that you’ve already spoken to your GP and neurologist. Unfortunately, a lot of treatments can be trial and error so it’s good that you’ve found the right medication that works for you. As mentioned before, our helpline is always here for you if you need additional support on this.

Best wishes,