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. You may have symptoms that 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 vision
- Double vision
- Loss of vision
- Changes in color perception
- Pain around the affected eye, pain with eye movement
- Muscle stiffness and spasms
- Muscle weakness
- Poor coordination or falling
- Trouble walking or maintaining balance
- Paralysis in one or more limbs
Bladder problems including:
- Incomplete emptying
Bowel problems, including
or, less commonly, incontinence
- Sexual dysfunction
- Forgetfulness, memory loss, or confusion
- Trouble concentrating or solving problems
Less common symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty swallowing
- Psychiatric disorders
- Euphoria or inappropriate emotional responses
- Breathing problems
Factors that may trigger or worsen symptoms include:
Internal or external heat, including:
- Hot weather
- Hot baths or showers
Multiple sclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated August 10, 2012. Accessed August 31, 2012.
Multiple Sclerosis Society. News item. Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Available at:
http://www.nationalmssociety.org/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=2568. Accessed August 31, 2012.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
website. Available at:
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/. Accessed August 31, 2012.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Available at:
http://nationalmssociety.org/. Accessed August 31, 2012.
Last reviewed September 2013 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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