Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not the most comfortable topic, but.....

BOWEL DYSFUNCTION is common in multiple sclerosis with symptoms reported by approximately 60% of MS patients. Both constipation and involuntary bowel movements may occur with constipation being the more frequent complaint. Constipation can be reduced by following a stepwise process.

Bladder Management and Fluid Intake
  • If bowel and bladder dysfunction are both present, bladder problems should be addressed first. Many patients practice fluid restriction in an attempt to control distressing urinary symptoms such as frequency, urgency and incontinence.
  • Once urinary dysfunction is no longer a major problem, it will be possible to increase fluid intake in order to prevent desiccated stool, which is difficult to move along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and evacuate.
  • The generally recommended fluid intake is 2 Liters per day.
Diet-Fiber, Bulk Formers, and Concentrated Sugar Preparations
  • In addition to fluids, prune juice and/or dried fruits are the easiest, and often most effective dietary measures.
  • Sufficient dietary fiber is essential. If a high fiber diet cannot be achieved, bulk supplements such as Metamucil, FiberCon, Perdiem, or Citrucel can be used. One or two glasses of clear fluid (e.g., water, apple juice, broth, tea) should be taken with these agents for full benefit.
  • Liquid sugar concentrates are another natural intervention. They act by drawing water into the intestine, thereby softening the stool. Preparations include Sorbitol, Lactulose, and Golytely. Side effects are rare, and these agents are useful for long-term management.
Read this post in its entirety:

How to Manage MS-Related Bowel Dysfunction

Be sure to read the comment section for more discussion on the topic.


  1. Hi Lisa,

    Lentil soup and lots o0f tofu and tempe work wonders for me along wi0th eating fresh dates and figs.

  2. There is a newer med on the market called Amitiza that can be helpful with chronic constipation.
    I go to a fabulous bladder doc who is willing to help me with bowel issues too. He also has me take Senekot-S (1-tablet everyday). He has me keep a journal. At 3+ days I take milk of magnesia. On my new regimen (which was added to a diet high in fiber, fruits, veggies) I haven't had to go to the ER in months. (for bowel impaction)
    It is important to be empowered and self managing--talking about it isn't as mortifying as losing bowel control in the middle of a restaurant.

  3. Knock on wood, I have managed to keep my gut irrigated with enough water to stop my problem.

    And not with coffee or juices either.

    I discovered to my great discomfort that it has to be four glasses per day of just plain ol' pure water.

    Otherwise I'd spend half an hour a day, usually when I really needed to be somewhere else in a hurry, sitting on the throne grunting, straining and spending time in sheer misery.

    But with four glasses of water, I'm okay, without having to change anything else about my diet.

  4. Wow!! i just wrote a blog about this topic. I was starting to think I was the only MSer with this problem. I have recently found a few things that work for me. My Bowels completely shut down for months at a time. I was on everything you could think of including Amitiza that didn't do anything for me. The Doctors weren't sure how to assist me. I stopped all the meds they were giving for this problem. I started using Flax seed in oatmeal everyday and using a tea called Smooth Move it worked great I also now use a product called CALM that is helping a lot. I was always a believer that the Doctors knew best and not a believer in the all natural products. But I will swear by these products. They worked great and my bowels are now starting to work on there own but still needing a little assistance every couple days but at least I am not needing to wear maternity clothes because of how huge my stomach had gotten.