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Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS symptoms range from mild to severe. It depends on what part of the brain, spinal cord, or nerves in the eyes have been affected. Problems may last for a few days or be long lasting. The symptoms may also get better and then come back months to years after they start. Some people may have problems that get better and then have lasting harm that is found during an exam.

Central Nervous System.

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Common problems are:

  • Numbness or tingling in the legs, arms, or face
  • Problems seeing in one or both eyes:
    • Blurred eyesight
    • Seeing double
    • Loss of sight
    • Changes in how a person sees colors
    • Eye pain
  • Feeling tired
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle stiffness, spasms, or weakness
  • Poor coordination or balance, falling, or trouble walking
  • Not being able to move one or more limbs
  • Bladder problems:
    • Having to suddenly urinate (pee)
    • Having trouble urinating
    • Not being able to empty the bladder fully
    • Having trouble controlling urination
  • Constipation or, less commonly, incontinence
  • Sexual problems
  • Problems with memory, focus, or confusion
  • Depression

Less common problems are:

  • Slurred speech
  • Problems swallowing
  • Mental health problems
  • An overly excited mood or emotions that do not match a situation
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Tremor
  • Breathing problems
  • Itching

Things that may trigger symptoms or make them worse are:

  • Internal or external heat:
    • Hot weather
    • Hot baths or showers
    • Fever
  • Too much exercise or movement
  • Infection


  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/multiple-sclerosis-ms.
  • NINDS multiple sclerosis information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Multiple-Sclerosis-Information-Page.
  • What is MS? National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Available at: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS.


  • James Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.