Multiple sclerosis can have one of several forms and the symptoms of the disease depend on the affected part of the central nervous system.
MS has no pattern.
Every patient affected by multiple sclerosis displays a different set of symptoms, which changes over time, in terms of intensity and duration. MS also has no typical course. Most patients display more than one symptom of the disease and, although there are symptoms which are typical of many patients, no patient displays all symptoms.
- Blurred vision
- Double vision (diplopia)
- Inflammation of the optic nerve
- Involuntary eye movements
- Total blindness (rarely)
Problems with maintaining balance and movement coordination
- Loss of balance
- Trembling limbs
- Unstable walk
- Partial loss of control of limbs
- Lack of movement coordination
- Feeling of weakness: most commonly felt in legs while walking
Muscle tension disorder – spasticity
- Increased muscle tension and stiff muscles may adversely influence the ability to move
Changed perception of stimuli
- Tingling sensation
- Numbness (paresthesia)
- A feeling of burning heat
- MS is sometimes associated with chronic pain, e.g. trigeminal neuralgia (facial pain), other muscle pain
- Slow speech
- Mumbling speech
- Altered rhythm of speech
- Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia
Bowel and bladder dysfunction
- More frequent bowel movements, incomplete bowel movements, incontinence
- Problems with intestines: constipation, or less frequently – loss of control of intestinal function
- Decreased sexual drive
- Decreased sensitivity to touch and other stimuli
Oversensitivity to heat
- Heat exposure very often causes temporary aggravation of MS symptoms
Perception disorders and emotional disorders
- Loss of short-term memory
- Difficulties with concentration, evaluating the situation, and logical thinking
- Feeling of tiredness which is unpredictable and disproportionate to the activity performed. Fatigue is one of the most common and most burdensome symptoms of MS.
- While most symptoms are easy to notice, symptoms such as: fatigue, problems with memory and concentration often remain hidden due to the difficulties the patient has while trying to describe them to another person. Sometimes family and carers play down the importance of these signs and their influence over an MS patient, their professional work, social activity and quality of life.
If you experience these symptoms, talk to your family doctor. Medicines, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, occupational therapy may help eliminate or lower the burden of these symptoms.