Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatments

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

Multiple Sclerosis MS picture

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms

Multiple sclerosis symptoms and signs depend on where the nerves are demyelinated and may include

  1. visual changes,
  2. numbness,
  3. tingling or weakness (weakness may range from mild to severe),
  4. paralysis,
  5. vertigo,
  6. erectile dysfunction,
  7. pregnancy problems,
  8. incontinence (or conversely, urinary retention),
  9. muscle spasticity,
  10. painful involuntary muscle contractions.

Quick GuideMultiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatment

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatment

What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that attacks myelinated axons in the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system), damaging or destroying the myelin and/or the axons (nerve tissue). The disease is often slowly progressive over many years (about 25 years) and is most commonly diagnosed in females ages 20 to 40 but may occur at any age and both genders. Individuals often suffer intermittent attacks followed by periods of symptom remissions. Attacks can last for days or months at a time followed by remissions; some individuals however, may continue to get worse without periods of remission. The goal of this article is to present and introduction to the various symptoms and treatments that can arise in individuals with multiple sclerosis.

What are the symptoms one may experience with multiple sclerosis?

Because the autoimmune inflammatory may attack some of the myelinated axons in the central nervous system almost anywhere, the location (and severity) of each attack can be different. Consequently, the symptoms of a MS attack may be quite variable from patient to patient and can appear almost anywhere in the body. The usual first sign and symptom is often a change in sensory perception (paresthesias) almost anywhere in the body. Other early common symptoms include fatigue, weakness, tingling, and blurred vision. Because of the highly variable symptoms this is a disease that is difficult to diagnose when symptoms first appear. The rest of the article will present symptoms that arise from various parts of the body that can be due to MS. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms described below can occur in other disease processes so it is important that MS is diagnosed by ruling out other conditions.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2016

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