Multiple Sclerosis - Symptoms

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

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What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis may be single or multiple and may range from mild to severe in intensity and short to long in duration. Complete or partial remission from symptoms occurs early in a majority of individuals with multiple sclerosis.

  • Visual disturbances may be the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but they usually subside. A person may notice a patch of blurred vision, red-to-orange or red-to-gray distortions (color desaturation), or monocular visual loss (loss of vision in one eye). Visual symptoms due to optic nerve inflammation (optic neuritis) in multiple sclerosis usually are accompanied or preceded by eye pain.
  • Limb weakness with or without difficulties with coordination and balance may occur early.
  • Muscle spasms, fatigue, numbness, and prickling pain are common symptoms.
  • There may be a loss of sensation, speech impediment (typically a problem articulating words), tremors, or dizziness.

Some people experience mental changes such as:

  • decreased concentration,
  • attention deficits,
  • some degree of memory loss,
  • inability to perform sequential tasks, or
  • impairment in judgment.

Other symptoms may include:

  • depression,
  • manic depression,
  • paranoia, or
  • an uncontrollable urge to laugh and weep.

As the disease worsens, individuals may experience sexual dysfunction or reduced bowel and bladder control. Heat appears to intensify multiple sclerosis symptoms for about 60% of those with the disease. Pregnancy seems to reduce the number of attacks, especially during the third trimester.

Return to Multiple Sclerosis

See what others are saying

Comment from: MAPLE, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 29

I was diagnosed in 1998, however, my physical trainer in 1992 said "you probably have multiple sclerosis." In 1997 I started to fall if I sprinted, I fell a lot. In 1998 the numbness and stuff started in my ankles; I had dismissed the weirdness in my feet and toes up to then. The practitioner in the office discovered in right then and there and off I went to specialists, who in my case, tested, diagnosed and gave prognosis, all the same day. No doubt I was afraid and didn"t know what to do. I was always very active physically and had a thriving business, which the symptoms were restricting me from effective results, so I had to stop and obtain disability when I realized this is a permanent condition, no medicine was going to fix. I then was prescribed Avonex, which resulted in 1st seizure of my life. Then I was switched to beta asarone, which was hell every other day, then to Copaxone, which I took until recently as I am no relapsing-remitting, just a slow progression of more intense symptoms. I had to stop driving, which was the final straw. I am a very independent and hands on person, in the beginning, I had to give up playing golf, my passion for years, and so, life goes on. There are people with lot more serious conditions than this, and honestly, I said thank goodness, that"s all it is when I was diagnosed. So when you start feeling sorry for yourself, think about the thousands of people suffering more than you are and be thankful, that"s how I see it; and I'll keep going until I totally cannot move by myself, good luck to all those blessed with MS, it could be a lot worse.

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Comment from: Sunny, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 30

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1994 at the age of 39; however, I had the first symptoms one year prior. My vision was blurred for three months. I had closed my fingers in my front door without realizing it. I knew then something was wrong. I called my primary doctor who examined me and then sent me to the hospital. An MRI was performed and I was diagnosed with MS. I have been on Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone and now Rebif.

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