Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on what part of the brain, spinal cord, or optic nerves have been affected. Symptoms may last for a few days or be permanent. They may also improve and then come back months to years after they have initially occurred. In some cases, even though the initial symptoms improve, you may have permanent changes that your doctor is able to detect during your exam.
Central Nervous System
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The most common symptoms of MS include:
Numbness or tingling in the legs, arms, face, or extremities
Impaired vision in one or both eyes, including:
Blurred visionDouble visionLoss of visionChanges in color perceptionPain around the affected eye, pain with eye movementFatigueLightheadednessMuscle stiffness and spasmsMuscle weaknessPoor coordination or fallingTrouble walking or maintaining balanceParalysis in one or more limbs
Bladder problems including:
or, less commonly, incontinence
Sexual dysfunctionForgetfulness, memory loss, or confusionTrouble concentrating or solving problemsDepression
Less common symptoms include:
Slurred speechDifficulty swallowingPsychiatric disordersEuphoria or inappropriate emotional responsesHeadacheSeizuresTremorBreathing problemsItching
Factors that may trigger or worsen symptoms include:
Internal or external heat, including:
Hot weatherHot baths or showersFeverOverexertionInfection
Multiple sclerosis (MS). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116285/Multiple-sclerosis-MS. Updated March 4, 2016. Accessed September 13, 2016.
NINDS multiple sclerosis information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
website. Available at:
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multiple_sclerosis/multiple_sclerosis.htm. Updated November 19, 2015. Accessed September 13, 2016.
What is MS?
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
website. Available at:
http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS. Accessed September 13, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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