Skip to Content

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Lee Health is starting to reschedule appointments, surgeries, and procedures that were delayed during the pandemic. You can be confident that we will provide the most exceptional care in the safest environment. Learn More

Keeping Control with Parkinson's Disease - Physical Therapy

More than 200,000 patients are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year. It’s a disease that affects a patient’s quality of life, including issues that patients might be too embarrassed to bring up to their doctor. Kristin Parisi, a physical therapist with Lee Health, says it’s important for patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease to know they are not alone. “Everybody thinks of physicality as far as movement getting out of a chair, being able to balance, but the inside of our body is slow to move as well when we have this type of problem. The gut and motility and the GI tract often slow down just like our muscles and our joints slow down as we age and then as we have this Parkinson’s disease.” And that can eventually cause patients to have urinary and bowel dysfunction. “The urinary dysfunction, it’s not so much of a slowing as the GI tract is, but it’s more along the lines of limited mobility and some people are having some trouble on getting to the bathroom in time,” said Parisi. It’s a problem that can happen early on in Parkinson’s disease. “The sooner that people address it, the more they will be able to have control over it and find ways to manage it,” she said. Physical therapists can work with patients on how to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, modify their diet and control their fluid intake. But getting patients to discuss the problem can be a little more challenging. “I think it’s a combination of it being a personal subject and then also people think it’s just part of the process. We’re getting older, we have this disease, let’s just deal with it, when really it’s something that can be managed,” said Parisi. If left unaddressed, it can greatly impact a patient’s quality of life, so don’t delay treatment. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit