MS Symptoms

Note: I am not a medical professional nor do I intend to provide any medical advice to anyone. Please see your family doctor or neurologist if you have any health care concerns. My intention is to provide accurate information from the perspective of an informed patient.

Note: As an MS patient you can experience several or very few of the symptoms listed below, they can also vary in severity, duration and recurrence. 

Note: Different people are likely to experience very different symptoms. Since no two people have exactly the same experience of MS, the disease course may look very different from one person to another.

Note: This is not a list of all my MS symptoms but a list of possible symptoms each MS patient can have.

Note: The majority of people with MS do not become severely disabled. Most people with MS learn to cope with the disease and continue to lead satisfying, productive lives.

Note: MS is not contagious and is not directly inherited.

National MS Society US


Autonomic nervous system problems  Blood pressure and heart problems; difficulty breathing and swallowing
Fatigue Physical and/or mental exhaustion
Gastroesophageal Reflux Acid reflux
Inappropriately cold body parts  
Sleeping Disorders   
Uhthoff’s Symptom Increase in severity of symptoms with heat
Anosmia; ageusia Impaired sense of taste and smell
  Epileptic seizures
Dysphagia Swallowing problems
Respiratory diseases Breathing problems

Cognitive Symptoms

Aphasia, Dysphasia Impairments to speech comprehension and production
Anxiety psychological stress, feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness
Cognitive dysfunction Short-term and long-term memory problems, forgetfulness, slow word recall
Dementia Serious loss of global cognitive ability

Sensory Symptoms

Anaesthesia Complete numbness/loss of sensation
L’Hermitte’s Electric shocks and buzzing sensations when moving the head
Neuralgia, Neuropathic and Neurogenic pain Pain without apparent cause, burning, itching and electrical shock sensations
Paraesthesia Partial numbness, tingling, buzzing and vibration sensations
Proprioceptive Dysfunction Loss of awareness of location of body parts
Trigeminal Neuralgia Facial pain

Visual Symptoms

Afferent papillary defect Abnormal pupil response
Diplopia Double Vision
Internuclear Ophthalmoplegia Lack of coordination between the two eyes, nystagmus, diplopia
Movement and sound phosphenes Flashing lights when moving eyes or in response to a sudden noise
Nystagmus Jerky eye movements
Ocular Dysmetria Constant under- or overshooting eye movements
Optic Neuritis Blurred vision, eye pain, loss of colour vision, blindness

Motor Symptoms

Dysarthria Slurred speech and related speech problems
Dysfunctional Reflexes MSRs, Babinski’s, Hoffman’s, Chaddock’s
Footdrop Foot drags along floor during walking
Hypotonia, Clonus Problems with posture
Muscle Atrophy Wasting of muscles due to lack of use
Myoclonus, Myokymia Jerking and twitching muscles, Tics
Paresis, Monoparesis, Paraparesis, Hemiparesis, Quadriparesis Muscle weakness – partial or mild paralysis
Plegia, Paraplegia, Hemiplegia, Tetraplegia, Quadraplegia Paralysis – Total or near total loss of muscle strength
Restless Leg Syndrome Involuntary Leg Movements, especially bothersome at night
Spasms, Cramps Involuntary contraction of muscles
Spasticity Loss of muscle tone causing stiffness, pain and restricting free movement of affected limbs

Coordination and Balance Symptoms

Ataxia Loss of coordination
Intention tremor Shaking when performing fine movements
Dysdiadochokinesia Loss of ability to produce rapidly alternating movements, for example, to move to a rhythm
Dysmetria Constant under- or overshooting limb movements
Dystonia Slow limb position feedback
Speech Ataxia Problems coordinating speech, stuttering
Vertigo Nausea/vomiting/sensitivity to travel sickness from vestibular ataxia
Vestibular Ataxia Abnormal balance function in the inner ear


Bowel, Bladder and Sexual Symptoms

Anorgasmy Inability to achieve orgasm
Constipation Infrequent or irregular bowel movements
Erectile Dysfunction Male and female impotence
Faecal Incontinence Bowel incontinence
Faecal Urgency Bowel urgency
Flaccid Bladder, Detrusor-Sphincter Dyssynergia Urinary hesitancy and retention
Frequent Micturation, Bladder Spasticity Urinary urgency and incontinence
Frigidity Inability to become sexually aroused
Retrograde ejaculation Ejaculating into the bladder

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© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

3 thoughts on “MS Symptoms

    1. Exactly! It’s scary reading those symptoms but I thought I’d make it clear that no two people are alike in MS and that you can have few or more symptoms. And that it’s not contagious. Had to cover the basics to reduce ignorant questions :D

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