Bowel symptoms are a fairly common symptom for people with MS. Most individuals experience constipation or slow bowel, while a much smaller group report bowel incontinence (loss of bowel control) and diarrhea. These symptoms occur in MS when nerve impulses going to the intestinal tract are interrupted or delayed.
Treatments include behavior modification techniques such as drinking more fluids, establishing a schedule, increasing fiber intake, and exercising. Several medications are also available to assist with these symptoms. Those with MS who are having bowel symptoms are strongly encouraged to consult with a gastroenterologist who is experienced with treating individuals with MS.
How MS Affects the Bowel
Behavior Modification to Treat Bowel Issues
Medications for Bowel Problems
Updated in November 2023 by Dr. Barry Hendin, MSAA Chief Medical Officer
Original content by Marie A. Namey, APN, MSCN