December 19, 2010
My Parkinson's Week (1) - Constipation, Insomnia and Fluid Intake
This week was an example of how constipation, insomnia and fluid intake have an interrelationship that I haven't figured out. In my past battles with insomnia (see base line posting on 12/12/10), I've always associated the insomnia with a feeling of tightness in the gut accompanied by constipation. Often when unable to get to sleep, I would get up in the middle of the night and consume great quantities of water and have a bowel movement and then I would be able to get back to sleep. My primary sleep aid during these struggles with insomnia was Tylenol PM.
Last week was an example of how all of this is interrelated. As I've noted in other postings, 5-HTP has alleviated the insomnia and the constipation and helped keep my weight under control. But I"ve wondered if the 5-HTP sleep was as solid as the Tylenol PM sleep. So I experimented with taking Tylenol PM rather than 5-HTP Wednesday night. I logged in seven hours of sleep without any pee break. But, as a result, I also had difficulty with bowel movements for the next few days which rarely happens with 5-HTP.
Another contributing factor here probably was my trying to follow the advice of my PT incontinence therapist who, correctly I'm sure, said that I should try cutting back on my breakfast-time fluid intake (two cups of coffee accompanied by a large tumbler of quinine water and fruit juice). I know this no doubt is a major reason for my late morning difficulties with incontinence. BUT I've found that lots of coffee and water first thing in the morning is what's needed to get my bowels working. I sometimes even supplement the coffee/water intake with a Diet Pepsi if needed to get things working. So when I cut back to one cup of coffee and no water supplement I no doubt contributed to the subsequent constipation.
Later in the week I tried a compromise by using a bigger mug for my one cup of coffee (this meant using 3 scoops of coffee rather than the 4 scoops used for two cups) and a smaller glass of quinine water and juice. I also decided to take an extra 50 mg of 5-HTP on Thursday night but I delayed taking it until a 4 a.m. pee break. This worked to get the bowels going again and, by not taking it at bedtime, I didn't have the Manic Morning that I'd experienced when taking 150 mg at bedtime.
I'm going to do some internet searches to see if this interrelationship of constipation, insomnia and fluid intake is experienced by others.