Multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause a wide range of symptoms and can affect any part of the body. Each person with the condition is affected differently.
The symptoms are unpredictable. Some people's symptoms develop and worsen steadily over time, while for others they come and go.
Periods when symptoms get worse are known as "relapses". Periods when symptoms improve or disappear are known as "remissions".
Some of the most common symptoms include:
Most people with MS only have a few of these symptoms.
See your GP if you're worried you might have early signs of MS.The symptoms can be similar to severalother conditions, so they're not necessarily caused by MS.
You may experience:
Other problems that can occur in the eyes include:
Occasionally, both of your eyes may be affected.
Abnormal sensations can be a common initial symptom of MS.
This often takes the form of numbness or tingling in different parts of your body, such as the arms, legs or trunk, which typically spreads out over a few days.
MScan cause yourmuscles to:
MS can make walking and moving around difficult, particularly if you also have muscle weakness and spasticity (see above). You may experience:
Some people with MS experience pain, which can take two forms:
Some people with MS have problems with thinking, learning and planning known as cognitive dysfunction. This can include:
However, many of these problems aren't specific to MS and can be caused by a wide range of other conditions, including depression and anxiety, or even some medications.
Manypeople with MS experience periods of depression . It's unclear whether this is directly caused by MS, or is due to the stress of having to live with a long-term condition, or both.
Anxiety can also be a problem for people with MS, possibly due to the unpredictable nature of the condition.
In rare cases, people with MS can experience rapid and severe mood swings, suddenly bursting into tears, laughing or shouting angrily for no apparent reason.
MS can have an effect on sexual function.
Men with MS often find it hard to obtain or maintain an erection ( erectile dysfunction ). They may also find it takes a lot longer to ejaculate when having sex or masturbating, and may even lose the ability to ejaculate altogether.
For women, problems include difficulty reaching orgasm, as well as decreased vaginal lubrication and sensation.
Both men and women with MS may find they are less interested in sex than they were before. This could be directly related to MS, or it could be the result of living with the condition.
Bladder problems are common in MS. They may include:
These problems can also have a range of causes other than MS.
Many people with MS also have problems with their bowel function.
Constipation is the most common problem.You may find passing stools difficult and pass them much less frequently than normal.
Bowel incontinence is less common, but is often linked to constipation. If a stool becomes stuck, it can irritate the wall of the bowel, causing it to produce more fluid and mucus that can leak out ofyour bottom.
Again, some of these problems aren't specific to MS and can even be the result of medications, such as medicines prescribed for pain.
Some people with MS experience difficulty chewing orswallowing ( dysphagia ) at some point.
Speech may also become slurred, or difficult to understand ( dysarthria ).
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition which can affect the brain and/or spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance.
Read about the main symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), including fatigue, unusual sensations, difficulties with movement and vision problems.
Exactly why someone develops multiple sclerosis (MS) isn't known. It's not caused by anything you've done and it's not clear whether it can be prevented.
It can be hard to tell whether your symptoms might be caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) at first, as some of the symptoms can be quite vague or similar to other conditions.
There's currently no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), but it's possible to treat the symptoms with medications and other treatments.
You may have to adapt your daily life if you're diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), but with the right care and support many people can lead long, active and healthy lives.
Jo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after the birth of her son. She explains how it affects her body, her ability to move around and her family life.
Narinder Kaur-Logue has an aggressive form of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. She experiences debilitating fatigue on a daily basis and has regular relapses.
Leonie Martin, age 45, has relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.She explains how she learnt to manage her symptoms.
Sara was 22 when she was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Now 30, she talks about her life since.