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A Guide to Multiple Sclerosis

People with multiple sclerosis can experience a number of symptoms of varying severity in varying cycles. Symptoms often come and go—you feel yucky, you feel better, then, pow! You’re back to feeling awful again, sometimes with the same symptoms, sometimes with a whole new set. Each cycle of this debilitating disease can last months or even years.

The symptoms experienced by people with multiple sclerosis range from mildly annoying to utterly disabling. And because nerves in any part of the brain or spinal cord may be damaged by the disease, people with multiple sclerosis find that symptoms occur in many parts of the body.

Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis:

• Fatigue
• Numbness
• Walking (gait), balance, and coordination problems
• Bladder dysfunction
• Bowel dysfunction
• Muscle spasms
• Vision problems
• Dizziness/vertigo
• Sexual dysfunction
• Pain
• Cognitive dysfunction
• Emotional changes/anxiety
• Depression
• Spasticity
• Sleep issues
• Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)
• Weakness

Less-common symptoms of multiple sclerosis:

• Speech disorders
• Swallowing problems
• Headache
• Hearing loss
• Seizures
• Tremor
• Breathing problems
• Itching

Multiple sclerosis symptoms can be exacerbated by heat. Small increases in temperature (internally or externally) can trigger or worsen MS symptoms. Many MS patients have learned to avoid the sun or hot baths because of this feature of the disease.

People with MS also find their symptoms are especially unforgiving in the late afternoon, when fatigue sets in, so many find that’s a great time to take a nap in an air-conditioned room.

Of course, the above symptoms can be indicative of many health problems, but any prolonged indication of a neurological disorder should be treated by a doctor.

Read more about Multiple Sclerosis:
Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis: What Does It Mean?
New Research + Clinical Trials for MS Patients
Multiple Sclerosis & Pregnancy

Multiple Sclerosis mom stories: 
MS, Two Kids, and an Online Startup
A Mom with MS: Keep on Moving
The Personal Story of a Mom of Twins Diagnosed with MS

References and Further Reading


About the Author
Gretchen Heber is an autoimmune mom and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in online media. She has also worked with several daily newspapers across the United States, serving as a graphic designer, writer and editor.

This blog post was originally published by, written by Gretchen Heber, and first published on Aug 22, 2013.

This post contains the opinions of the author. Autoimmune Association is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances. Autoimmune Association does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website. Your use of the website is subject to our Privacy Policy.

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