Gut/bowel/bladder stuff - PD or not PD?

I have recently been diagnosed with early stage PD with some of the classic symptoms - rest tremor, stiffness, slowness, balance etc - but my most current dilemma is gut issues. I feel full and tired when I eat (even small meals/snacks) and I have chronic constipation combined with urinary urgency (and some slight incontinence that I’m too embarrassed about to mention). My neurologist has suggested that this set of symptoms may not be part of the PD spectrum of things that go wrong.
So - when I read about symptoms on Parkinsons Uk etc there seems to be some evidence that it is a fairly common issue.
Anyone else have this problem - that is 1. the gut not working properly in various ways and also 2. where the neurologist thinks it’s not PD?

I’m a bit confused.

There are loads of non motor symptoms in PD. Constipation is really common. The medications can slow the emptying of the stomach. Urinary frequency andweeing at night are also fairly common.

I happily have avoided constipation so far. I get urgency and have to get up to wee two or three times a night. I get fuller quicker when eating but can still put away a decent amount of food.

Saying that Parkinson’s is not the only cause for any of these symptoms and if your neurologist thinks that they need investigating further then I’d go with what they say.

My mum had Parkinsons for 20 years and those were the symptoms that she experienced at the stage you are referring to. It was very similar to how you describe it. Hope you are able to find help to manage the symptoms and that you are ok

Thanks for your helpful reply. I was beginning to think that my symptoms could be something else on top of the PD.

the gut is heavily affected by parkinson’s. lots of neurons that are based in the gut (i.e., the core cell body is somewhere in the gut, not merely sending long axons there from the spine or the brain) die due to parkinson’s. it is believed by many researchers that parkinson’s often starts in the gut before traveling to the brain and spine. the transit of food through the gut gets much slower in parkinson’s, from the throat to the esophagus to the stomach, to the intestines (duodenum, ileum, jejunum, and colon), to the rectum. in particular, the colon slows down a LOT. typical colon transit times in people without PD are on the order of 1 (fast) to 2 (slow) days. colon transit times in people with PD go up a lot, and it is not unusual to see transit times of 5 to 7 days. needless to say, this often leads to horrible constipation.

parkinson’s is also associated with urinary problems. my impression is that the connections here are less clear than the connections between parkinson’s and gut/bowel problems.

sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Yes - thanks parkiejoe, I think my own researches are in accord. The gut motility issues are common in PD - but the plumbing needs a second look.

Appreciate you responding very much.


Hello again
I can confirm that they are both common Parkinsons related issues. My mum had a lot of constipation over the years and lots of urinary urgency too. This was in the fairly early stages of her having the disease but it continued throughout the 20 years as things progressed. The fatigue after eating is a common thing too. I hope you are doing ok