6 Tips for Constipation Relief With MS
1 / 7 Help for MS and Bowel Issues
Multiple sclerosis (MS) can affect your whole body, from your head to your toes, and that includes your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. One common GI complaint is constipation, characterized by infrequent or difficult-to-pass bowel movements.
“About 40 percent of all MS patients suffer from chronic constipation, making this the most common chronic GI symptom in this population,” says David J. Levinthal, MD, PhD, a neurogastroenterologist and assistant professor in the division of gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania. “This rate is about three times as high as in the general population.”
Dr. Levinthal, who’s done research on GI issues in people with MS, says there’s likely a combination of reasons for it: a low-fiber diet, lack of exercise, dehydration, putting off having bowel movements, and medication side effects. But with a few diet and lifestyle changes, you may find constipation relief.