Symptoms of MS

Multiple sclerosis can cause a wide variety of different symptoms. They may even mimic other diseases, because:

  • Different parts of the brain control different neurological functions
  • The spinal cord transmits impulses to and from the brain in a variety of ways
  • As MS lesions can affect different parts of the brain and spinal cord, symptoms vary markedly from person to person

There is no real difference between MS symptoms in women and men. Also, two people with MS rarely have the same symptoms. Many people experience a variety of symptoms before a firm diagnosis is made. If you believe your symptoms may indicate MS, consult a doctor.

The most common symptom of MS is profound fatigue, but others may include:

You can find more information below about these symptoms and what treatments and actions are available to improve them. 

Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of MS and is an extreme form of tiredness. Read more for tips on managing it and to feel better

Depression

For people with MS, depression is the single most important factor affecting quality of life – even more so than disability or fatigue.

MS Spasticity

MS spasticity can cause any muscle in your body to feel difficult to move, tight, stiff and heavy. Find out about trigger factors and management strategies.

Vision problems 

Vision problems caused by MS can vary and can be caused by lack of coordination in the eye muscle or damage to the optic nerve. 

Walking (Gait) Difficulties  

Problems with gait can be a common MS mobility issue, however here is some advice about ways to improve this. 

Tingling & numbness

Abnormal sensations of numbness, pins and needles and tingling are common in MS, and are part of a group of symptoms called paraesthesia. 

Cognitive Symptoms

MS cognitive symptoms refers to problems you may have with your thinking and memory. For most people with MS, cognitive symptoms are mostly mild.

Bladder Spasms & MS

MS bladder spasms are related to urinary incontinence. MS can cause a mismatch of signals between the brain and spinal cord which can affect bladder function. 

MS Vertigo

Vertigo makes you feel like you are moving and spinning – even when you are still. This can make you feel nauseous and unsteady walking and can lead to falls.

Bowel Problems

Bowel problems may be hard to talk about, but with the right information and support, you can successfully manage the symptoms with little impact on your daily life (if at all).

Sexual Problems

Sexual problems are common with the general population, as well as in people with MS. Discover treatment options to improve your sex life and wellbeing.