What is the most common bowel problem in multiple sclerosis (MS), and how is it managed?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Christopher Luzzio, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Constipation, the most common bowel problem in MS patients, may result from neurogenic bowel, immobility, or restricted fluid intake. The first step in management of constipation is to increase fluid intake to 8-10 cups daily and increase dietary fiber to 15 g.

Next, it is essential to establish a consistent bowel program time. A bowel program is most effective if done at least every other day and preferably after a meal, which takes advantage of the body's gastrocolic reflex. Sitting in an upright position, rather than lying in bed, permits gravity to assist in evacuation. The patient should also be involved in an exercise program, consisting of walking or simply performing chair exercises.


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