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:
- Diminished vision
- Feelings of hot or cold
- Pins and needles
- Sensations resembling electric shocks
- Heightened sensation
- Weakness/tremors/dragging leg
- Gait problems
- Speech disorders
- Loss of balance/falling
- Altered hearing/taste
You can find more information below about these symptoms and what treatments and actions are available to improve them.
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
For people with MS, depression is the single most important factor affecting quality of life – even more so than disability or fatigue.
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 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.
MS cognitive symptoms refers to problems you may have with your thinking and memory. For most people with MS, cognitive symptoms are mostly mild.
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 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 are common with the general population, as well as in people with MS. Discover treatment options to improve your sex life and wellbeing.
MS hearing loss is very rare, but it is possible. If you are experiencing hearing problems, it may be linked to your MS. This is due to the damage of the auditory nerve pathways in the brain.
Swallowing problems when you have MS can cause anxiety, but rest assured that there are treatments available. It happens because the nerves that power the muscles are damaged by MS.
Foot drop is a common MS symptom in which there is a disruption in the nerve pathways between the lower legs and the brain. Fortunately, foot drop can often be managed with various treatments.
Tremors are a common MS symptom, often appearing alongside problems with coordination. An MS tremor is an involuntary shaking or trembling movement.
The MS hug can be a frightening and painful experience, but there are ways to deal with it. It can range from a mild ache to intense pain in the chest or ribs, anywhere between the waist and neck.