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Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Everyone is different. So although there are many common MS symptoms, every person with MS experiences them differently. This may be because the location of damage in the central nervous system varies from person to person and affects how symptoms of multiple sclerosis appear.

If you have MS, it's important to keep following your treatment plan as prescribed, even if you aren't experiencing symptoms. That's because MS could be causing damage to your central nervous system even if your symptoms are not apparent.

Whenever you feel your multiple sclerosis symptoms are worsening, or anytime you have questions or concerns, it's important to talk to your doctor.

Vision

About 66% of people with MS experience blurred vision or eye pain caused by optic neuritis. Gradual improvement often occurs over several weeks. Some people with MS may experience double vision or other visual symptoms as well.

Movement

Many people with MS lose muscular strength in the arms and legs as the disease progresses. This is because multiple sclerosis often affects the nerve fibers that control muscle movement. Damage from MS can also result in poor balance or coordination.

Sensory

People with MS may sometimes feel numbness, pain, tingling, burning, or cold in parts of the body, including the face. MS may also cause extra tightness or tension, known as "spasticity," in the back and leg muscles.

Bladder/Bowel

Many people with multiple sclerosis develop trouble controlling the urge to urinate or will be unable to completely empty their bladder. They may also experience problems with bowel control or constipation.

Sexual Activity

Having multiple sclerosis can cause some people to have problems related to sexual activity. Men with multiple sclerosis may find it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection. For some women, MS often causes a loss of sexual sensitivity, pain during intercourse, an inability to achieve an orgasm, or a reduction in naturally produced lubrication.

Fatigue

Many people with MS experience fatigue or tiredness. Since fatigue is a natural part of life, it can be difficult to connect with MS at first. However, fatigue from MS can often last for prolonged periods when even minor activities can lead to exhaustion.

Cognition and Mood

MS can trigger mental symptoms such as memory lapses, slowed thinking, and difficulty concentrating.

Some people with multiple sclerosis experience periods of depression that can be directly linked to physical changes in the brain that multiple sclerosis causes. Depression may also be an emotional reaction to having the illness and learning to cope with the symptoms of MS and the challenges they represent.

If you are experiencing feelings or symptoms of depression or hopelessness, discuss them with your doctor because treatment for depression is available.

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