Can Parkinson’s disease cause constipation, excessive salivation and problems with sleep?

Parkinson’s disease is recognized by all doctors as a disease affecting movement. But in addition to movement problems, patients can have many other problems (see list).

  • Difficulty in thinking.
  • Depression
  • Fatigue.
  • Pain in one part of body especially legs or throughout the body.
  • Dribbling of saliva from the mouth
  • Tingling and restlessness of the legs in the evening or at night.
  • Difficulty sleeping at night.
  • Vivid and fearful dreams.
  • Violent movements of hands and legs while sleeping.
  • Problems controlling your bladder, having to rush to the bathroom.
  • Constipation.
  • Difficulty in seeing things, especially on waking up
  • Feeling sleepy during the day.

These are frequently not recognized, even by physicians, and therefore left untreated. If recognized and treated (and simple treatments are available for many of these symptoms), their resolution can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life.

Non-motor symptoms such as problems with sleep are very common in Parkinson’s disease.

It is important that your doctor should think about other diseases too. For example if you have back pain, it is important that the doctor should think about arthritis of the back, if you have impotence your doctor should think about diabetes etc… but in many cases, no other cause can be found – these problems are due to Parkinson’s disease.

About 10-20 years ago, even doctors did not know about these complications of Parkinson’s disease. It is a matter of great pride for me that I had the opportunity to train under the world-famous Indian Professor who is at the forefront of research into these symptoms: Dr. Kallol Ray Chaudhuri at King’s College Hospital in London.