Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system damages the coating of your nerves in your central nervous system, as well as cells that produce these nerves. The cause is still unknown, but scientists are hard at work trying to determine why it happens and how to prevent it. There are multiple symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and we’re sharing eight common groupings of them.
Changes in Physical Performance
About 80 percent of people with MS experience fatigue or weakness. Some of this fatigue is due to other side effects preventing people from sleeping through the night, while another type of fatigue, known as lassitude, is directly related to the nerve damage of MS. Lassitude affects people daily, starting in the morning and growing worse throughout the day.
Changes in Mental State
Lesions in the brain, a result of damage from the immune system, tend to be responsible for mental changes. Some common effects of MS include loss of memory, short attention span, and a weakened ability to use and understand language.
Changes in Emotions
Depression is one of the common effects of MS, and it’s likely due to lesions in the brain. Other emotional changes, such as irritability and mood swings, likely stem from the stress of dealing with a life-altering disease.
Changes in Vision
Vision issues are common in people with MS due to inflammation affecting the optic nerves. Someone with MS might experience blurry vision, loss of vision, red/green vision switch, and pain when they look up or to the side.
Changes in Bladder Control
The central nervous system is in charge of certain bodily processes, one of those being urination. Disrupted signals between the brain and bladder can lead to incontinence or a frequent need to urinate.
Changes in Sexual Ability
It’s common for people with an MS diagnosis to have a hard time achieving sexual arousal. This might be because the central nervous system controls when you become aroused, and damage to it can prevent you from doing so.
Changes in Coordination
Additionally, the central nervous system plays a role in the way certain body parts work together to move efficiently, and the impact of MS can result in vertigo, dizziness, clumsiness, and difficulty walking.
Changes in Sensation
The central nervous system is also responsible for allowing people to feel different sensations. Nerve damage can result in sharp pains, numbness or tingling, muscle spasms, and chronic pain.
If you experience several of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician. They can help rule out other conditions that may be the cause and, if needed, recommend you speak with a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group neurologist for further testing and potential treatment.
Healthline | 6 Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Medical News Today | What are the early signs of MS?
National Multiple Sclerosis Society | What Causes MS?
National Multiple Sclerosis Society | Depression
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry | Depression in multiple sclerosis: a review
Healthline | MRI Images of Multiple Sclerosis Lesions
Multiple Sclerosis Trust | Bladder problems
National Multiple Sclerosis Society | Fatigue