Gastrointestinal dysmotility in Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder with akinesia, rigidity, and tremor being its cardinal motor symptoms.

Recently, clinical and scientific attention has shifted to additional nonmotor symptoms that have been previously unheeded. Of these, constipation is particularly relevant occurring in up to 66% of all patients with Parkinson’s Disease, thus showing a much higher prevalence than the general population.

Underlying causes for constipation in Parkinson’s Disease are multifaceted and include physical weakness, reduced fluid intake and side effects of medication. Also, there is increasing evidence to suggest that the disease dysregulates the parasympathetic nervous system causing delayed colonic transit.

Non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease related to disturbed gastrointestinal motility occur in two-thirds of patients and may precede its clinical diagnosis. These manifest as dysphagia, nausea, heartburn, feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting and constipation. Furthermore, a sluggish small bowel with impaired digestion and poor absorption of nutrients and medications causes anorexia, weight loss and contributes to physical, psychological and social distress with a negative impact on Quality of Life. There are no satisfactory treatments for the gastrointestinal dysmotility symptoms of Parkinson’s’ Disease.

More than 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s Disease.


people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s Disease