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Bladder and bowel problems in Parkinson's

Person with Parkinson's talking to a specialist

People with Parkinson's may be more likely to have problems with their bladder or bowels than people of a similar age without the condition.

However, not everyone with Parkinson's will experience these symptoms.

How can bladder and bowel problems affect people with Parkinson's?

I have a problem with urgency, I have to go to the loo very quickly and can't wait. I have been taught about things like pelvic floor exercises.

Linda, diagnosed in 2002

Parkinson's symptoms, such as slowness of movement and rigidity, can affect the muscles in the bowels.

Having Parkinson's can also mean that the messages from the brain to the bladder may not get through properly.

This can cause:

  • nocturia - the need to urinate several times during the night
  • an overactive bladder with the need to pass urine more often and quickly
  • constipation

Constipation can make people feel unwell or lethargic and can be painful.

What can you do to help?

You may find it helpful to keep a diary of your bladder and bowel habits for a few days before you see your healthcare professional.

Mel, Advisory Nurse, Parkinson's UK

Increasing the amount you drink and how much fibre you eat, eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise, will stimulate your bowel to help prevent constipation.

A dietitian can advise you on what foods to eat.

If you have bladder problems, it's important not to cut down on how much you drink. It won't help and could leave you dehydrated. Some people find cutting down on fizzy drinks, caffeine and alcohol helps.

What treatment is available?

There are many different ways of managing the symptoms so they don't rule your life. Plenty of professional help is available and your GP can refer you.

Help and support