Constipation struggles

Hello all, my husband is suffering with dreadful constipation. Despite taking a sachet of Laxido twice a day and sennalise x 2 at night plus increasing roughage with more fruit, vegetables and flaxseed on breakfast cereal he still has days were he just can’t ‘go’ sometimes it can be three days before he’s able to. He was in hospital recently and they had to resort to giving him an enema…As if this isn’t bad enough and extremely stressful for us both, he can suddenly get the urge to go while we are out and about. This has resulted sadly in him not being able to hold on thus soiling himself. Not very pleasant for me as I then have to clean him…It’s now started to impact on our daily lives as I am on edge going out if I know he hasn’t been to the toilet before we go. I know there’s probably not much anyone can add but I’m desperate to hear from anyone who may have experience of this problem and how they resolved it. He drinks plenty of fluids as I know lack of hydration can exacerbate constipation. Thank you. Any advice would be most welcome.

Hi Jean1,

Wow, I am so sorry, that sounds terrible.

He is actually having well above the dosage of laxitives than he should, but still has the same situation.
Please understand I am not a MD but this makes no sense.
It honestly seems as if there is some sort of obstruction in his small or large intestine.
Even perhaps related to twisted bowels etc.
For him to be constipated for days then all of a sudden has diarrhea can only be as a result of some severe blockage that "unravels " at times.
Please go and see a gastroenterologist.
Or if you have definitely get a second opinion.

Hello CliveV, and thank you for your reply. I’ll mention that possibility to our GP asap. He’s always suffered from constipation even before his PD diagnosis. When he urgently needed to go the other day while we were out, it wasn’t diarrhea it was a normal stool. He simply couldn’t hold on until we got home…It seems like the muscles controlling his bowels are not working properly. But whatever the reason, it is of course very unpleasant and distressing when it happens. Jean

You don’t mention exercise, except when you say your husband sometimes has an uncontrollable normal stool when you are out, that is when he is moving. I have an exercise bike at home, and sometimes it is a great help to pedal for 5 minutes and then go to the loo. It would seem that using some muscles helps other muscles to get going! If stairs are not dangerous for him perhaps going up and down a couple of times would help, or hold onto a chair and march on the spot for as long as he can. I hope you find something that works for him soon.

Hello Mosie, thanks for your reply. I do say to him to move about more in the morning and he does try. We have steep stairs so I’ll suggest he try climbing up and down them too and marching on the spot. It’s just so frustrating as we’re both worried about going out if he hasn’t been to the loo beforehand. As I said he has plenty of fruit, seeds on his cereal and Laxido twice a day plus recently, sennasides at bedtime. I remember giving him quite a big portion of spinach once or twice and that seemed to help so I’ll try that again. It’s just so totally frustrating for something that should just be a normal bodily function after all… Jean

It’s a shame not to continue going out and about due to toilet worries. Would it help for him to wear incontinence pads when you’re leaving home. They are so much thinner and absorbent than they used to be and will make cleaning up after any accidents easier.

Hello again Jean1
Thought I would chime in again with my view. Constipation and bowel control can be an issue with Parkinsons and you have been given some good and sound advice.
As CliveV said I also think it is worth getting this formally reviewed not least so you have a clearer understanding of what is going on and hopefully be given advice on its management. This in itself may give you both more confidence in going out and about.
Mosie is also right, vigorous movement of some kind whether using an exercise bike or just moving to some upbeat music can set you off and Bridget’s suggestions of pads is also worth considering.
Most people don’t know that it can help to adopt a squat position on the toilet ie have your knees higher than your hips. You can actually buy squat stools but any small stool or similar would do.

And this is quite an informative article which may be of interest to you.

Hope you find a way forward with this distressing problem that you are both comfortable with so you can go out with more confidence.

Thank you Tot, some very useful info there. I never realised that using a stool can help or that the way you sit on in the loo can help with this stressful problem. Thanks again. Jean

You’re very welcome Jean1. It doesn’t seem to be widely known and doesn’t promise to solve the problem for all but it’s an easy and inexpensive option that I always think is worth trying.

My husband too suffers terribly with constipation. His regime that works most of the time is 6-8 prunes a day, 1 sachet of Cosmocol day and night, lots of water to drink and daily exercise - marching up and down on the spot is a familiar sight to me too as one of the participants mentioned !. We try and include an apple a day as well. Do you have a Radar key for disbled toilets and/or one of those hand cards available from the Bladder and Bowel Foundation asking for immediate**** access to a toilet - handy if you just need to use a staff loo somewhere.
We both send our sympathies - constipation is quite debilitating and not what you need on top of everything else.

Hello SittA, thank you for your reply. My husband has sachets of Laxido morning and night, I put flaxseed on his breakfast cereal and make sure he drinks plenty throughout the day. He has grapes, apple and a plum every day too! It’s a constant struggle and does impact on our day, especially if we are going out. I’m always hoping he ‘goes’ before we leave but it isn’t always the case. I have a radar key but not the other card you mentioned so will enquire about that. Thank you. Jean

Hello Jean1
I am wondering if it might be worth your husband having a complete review of his bowel issues as it is having such a big impact on both your lives. Don’t assume there is nothing that can done about this and is at least worth finding out. It sounds as if you are both getting more and more wound up about this and that can only make the situation worse. It may not solve anything but a review would hopefully give you both a better understanding of what is happening to your husband and how to manage it - and maybe there is a treatment that can help. Surely it’s worth finding out, after all you’ve nothing to lose and it may help.

Hello Tot, yes, I have now contacted the continence clinic and we will be seeing someone soon about these bowel issues. He has already had help and advice re his bladder and that’s not as much of a problem while out and about for obvious reasons… We also saw our PD nurse on Tuesday and I told her about it too. She has suggested things we are already doing really, i.e. adding more roughage to his diet, plenty of fluids, as well as using laxatives when needed. She also said try to do more via a natural source as overusing laxatives can make the bowel become lazy. It would appear to be an extremely common problem in Parkinson’s. And as you point out, (he and everyone else) has enough to cope with on a daily basis.
P.s. I have ordered a squatting stool and have got the bladder and bowel app on my phone now thanks to your useful and helpful info! Best wishes, Jean

Good luck with all that Jean1, it would be rough justice indeed if something couldn’t be done to make life at least a little easier for you both. I would be interested to hear how you get on when yoiu have time.

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