Multiple Sclerosis - Symptoms

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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 about 70% 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.

Fifty-percent of 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: Melissa, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

My symptoms started when I was 23. I had tingling in my right foot and it felt very heavy. I had a hard time walking. I also had some dizziness. Doctors didn't know what it was, so they diagnosed me with possible mild Guillain-Barre syndrome. Then 2 years later, the same thing happened, only worse. I was referred to a neurologist, had an MRI and was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RR-MS).

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Comment from: Kathy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 01

I knew that in my early 30"s I had multiple sclerosis (MS). It was in the 80s and for nearly 10 years I heard all kinds of garbage from doctors. My first cousin had it and I knew her symptoms. I had tingling in my hands and feet and then nerve throbbing. I took two chemotherapy level treatments of an old steroid and developed diabetes. I tried one of the new drugs and it didn"t work. But since 1997 I have been on Copaxone. In the last year the numbness is more severe and symptoms are increasing but I keep hoping and keep moving. I do not wish MS on anyone else but it has made me a better person. I am grateful that I can still walk and drive.

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