Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (abbreviated MS, also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata) is an inflammatory disease that affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other. There is no known cure for MS. In this category you'll find information about MS symptoms, treatment and more.

1,496 Questions
Multiple Sclerosis

How do ms effect a man sex life?

Before I answer this, remember that you can talk yourself into impotence! If you expect problems with your sex life and start watching for them, you can actually create the problems.

MS (multiple sclerosis) attacks the body's nervous system. There's no way of predicting exactly what nerves will be affected. For example, some people lose control of their lower limbs, some people experience numbness in various areas of the body. The most common effect is sudden, extreme fatigue that can make sex exhausting.

Unfortunately, loss of erotic response can also be a side effect of some of the drugs used to control the symptoms of MS.

The National MS Society has some literature about sex and MS. Please don't be afraid to talk about this with a medical professional and your partner. If MS (or anything else) has affected your sex life, talking to your partner is a good first step: you share the problem, and you have to work together to find solutions.

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Multiple Sclerosis
Medical Terminology

What is mild diffuse cortical atrophy age appropriate?

AnswerCortical (brain-related) atrophy means wasting away and decrease in size of gray matter of brain. Diffuse means the wasting is generalizedGeneralized anxiety disorder, not confined to one particular area. Age related may mean the result of aging (over 55-60).
Multiple Sclerosis

What are the symptoms of Multiple sclerosis?

MS is an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system, mainly the structure that covers the neurons, myelin. This doesn't allow proper neural function leading to multiple neurological symptoms. MS usually appears in the thirties, but there have been cases of children with the disease, and is more common in women. It is a degenerative disease with no known cure and many suggests it has a possible heredetary link. Early initial diagnosis is hard to achieve due to the multiple, very general symptoms. It is when symptoms become evident that it's possible to diagnose with proper imaging procedures of the brain and other tools used in diagnosis. In MS, a brain scan will reveal plaques of dyemylination ("myelin corrosion") very characteristic of MS. Treatment is mainly delivered to slow progression and targets the immune system to prevent and suppress the attack to our own neurons.

Sings and symptoms include:

  • Muscle or motor symptoms, such as weakness, leg dragging, stiffness, a tendency to drop things, a feeling of heaviness, clumsiness, or a lack of coordination (ataxia).
  • Visual symptoms, such as blurred, foggy, or hazy vision, eyeball pain (especially with movement), blindness, or double vision. Optic neuritis-a sudden loss of vision and eye pain-is a fairly common first symptom, occurring in up to 25% of those who develop MS.
  • Sensory symptoms, such as tingling, a pins-and-needles sensation, numbness, a bandlike tightness around the trunk or legs, or electrical sensations moving down the back and legs.

Less common early symptoms include:1

  • Balance symptoms, such as lightheadedness or dizziness, and a spinning feeling (vertigo).
  • Bladder symptoms, such as an inability to hold urine (urinary incontinence) or to completely empty the bladder, or a loss of bladder sensation-an inability to sense that the bladder becoming full until there is a sudden, urgent need to urinate.
Advanced symptoms

As MS progresses, symptoms may become more severe and may include:

  • Increased muscle problems, such as weakness, leg dragging, clumsiness, or lack of coordination.
  • Stiff, mechanical movements (spasticity) or uncontrollable shaking (tremor), which may make walking difficult. A wheelchair may be needed some or all of the time.
  • Pain and other sensory symptoms.
  • Incontinence or, less often, an inability to urinate (urinary retention).
  • Constipation and other bowel disorders.
  • Male erectile dysfunction (impotence) and female sexual dysfunction.
  • Cognitive and emotional problems, which are common in people who have had MS for some time.
  • Cognitive problems, such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, reduced attention span, or difficulty finding the correct words.
  • Emotional symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and anger. A rare symptom is excessive cheerfulness that seems inappropriate.
  • Feeling very tired (fatigue). This can be worse if symptoms such as pain, spasticity, bladder problems, anxiety, or depression make it difficult to sleep.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a degenerative disease that can present with several different systems. These may include numbness, tingling, blurred vision, and loss of balance. The symptoms are caused by damage to the myelin covering of the nerves leading to poor transmission of nerve signals.

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Multiple Sclerosis
Lyme Disease

What is foci of T2 hyperintensity in the subcortical and periventricular white matter?

This phrase is a statement that would be used by a radiologist when reviewing the results from a MRI. Breaking down the phrase by individual parts:

T2 - An indication of the type of scan that was done. In a T2-weighted scan, areas that are fluid-filled appear bright, while areas that are fatty appear dark. A T1 scan would show the opposite results.

Hyperintensity - An indication of a bright region on the scan.

Foci of T2 Hyperintensity, therefore, means "focal points, or concise areas, of very bright spots."

Subcortical and periventricular white matter - These are locations within the brain. Regions of the brain are categorized by color (white matter or grey matter) and location (cortical, or related to the cortex, subcortical, or below the cortex, etc).

The statement, therefore, means "white spots on a MRI scan at certain locations within the brain."

This statement alone does not indicate any particular disease is present. It is a piece of information that a neurologist would use to help determine whether or not someone had a certain disease or condition. There are many conditions or diseases which can cause white spots on the brain; only a neurologist can sort through the possibilities and determine what caused these white spots.

Multiple Sclerosis

Can MS be mistaken for Epilepsy by doctors?

They are very different conditions. A good doctor would not confuse them.

Multiple Sclerosis

Who is the patron saint of multiple sclerosis?

There is no designated patron against multiple sclerosis but there are patron saints against neurological disorders St. Bartholomew the Apostle and St. Dymphna.

Multiple Sclerosis
Sugar and Sweeteners

Does aspartame cause multiple sclerosis?

No other consumable substance on the face of the earth has been studied more than aspartame. Over 30 years and over 200 scientific studies (the REAL kind, with words like "double-blind," "placebo-controlled," and "randomized" in their titles) have proven, re-proven, and reaffirmed, that aspartame is safe.

Researchers have spent a great deal of time reviewing every claim by people who believe that aspartame causes everything from MS (which, by the way, no one knows the cause, and has been documented for over 200 years, LONG before aspartame was even invented) to migraines and bulging eyes. Not a single claim of any cause has panned out under true scientific scrutiny. If you do have "proof" that aspartame causes any sort of disorder, look through your proof and see if there are any scientific studies that were done. Scientific studies use the big words above -- randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blind. Those tenets of a true scientific study ensure that there is no bias in the group and that the substance is tested against a "placebo," or a control substance. In essence, if there is no appreciable difference between the group which took the tested substance and the group which took a placebo, you can say that the substance did not appreciably contribute to those people developing the symptom in question.

Now, to more of the scientific detail. Aspartame is a compound made of two ingredients: aspartic acid, and phenylalanine. When aspartame is consumed, it is broken down in the body into three components: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. These three substances are then absorbed by the body and used in natural body processes, the same way your body uses those three substances when they are derived from food. None of the components of aspartame, nor aspartame itself, builds up in the body. The amounts of the three substances derived from aspartame are far smaller than you would get from food as well. For example, if you were to have a glass of tomato juice, you'd get about six times the methanol than you'd get from an aspartame-sweetened drink of roughly the same size. A glass of skim milk would give you six times the phenylalanine and thirteen times the aspartic acid you'd get from an equivalent aspartame-sweetened drink.

In short, hundreds of scientific studies over the past three decades have all resulted in the same outcome, and the same conclusion: aspartame is safe.

Cold and Flu
Multiple Sclerosis

Is ms contagious?


Multiple Sclerosis

Who was the first case recorded with Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) was first diagnosed in 1849. However, the earliest known person with possible MS (symptoms described were similar to MS) dates all the way back to the fourteenth century in Holland. Visit

Multiple Sclerosis

Is it safe to have coffee enemas for multiple sclerosis?

Whether or not you have MS does not affect the safety or efficacy of a coffee enema. It does present some unique challenges though:

  • One of the noted problems with coffee enemas is that people put the coffee in too hot. MS patients may have limited nerve response from the bowels, so the chance for scalding the colon and/or rectum could be increased
  • Low motility could cause the enema to remain in the colon longer than intended, increasing the risk of conditions like caffeine overdose and enteric septicemia.

Coffee enemas are widely disputed as having little more benefit than a traditional saline enema, and actually can impose greater risk than a traditional enema.

Multiple Sclerosis

How does multiplisclorosis affect a person?

Multiple Sclerosis causes problems with nerve communication along the central nervous system. Basically, the signals have a tougher time getting from the brain to where they are intended, and back again. Most common affects of MS:

Bladder Dysfunction

Bowel Dysfunction

Changes in Cognitive Function, including problems with memory, attention, and problem-solving

Dizziness and Vertigo

Depression and other Emotional Changes

Fatigue (also called "MS lassitude")

Difficulty in Walking and/or Balance or Coordination Problems

Abnormal sensations such as Numbness or "pins and needles"

Sexual Dysfunction


Vision Problems (Optic Neuritis)

Less common symptoms include:


Hearing Loss



Speech Disorders

Dysphagia (Swallowing Problems)


Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a serious chronic and progressive illness affecting your body's nerves that can render a person disabled. It affects the brain and spinal cord resulting in loss of muscle control, vision, balance, numbness or thinking ability.

AnswerIt effects the central nervous system -- the brain and spinal cord. It attacks the myelin covering of the central nervous system, causing inflammation and often destroying the myelin in patches. MS has defined attacks followed by complete or partial recovery. It is difficult to diagnosis the future progression of this disease or specific symptoms to the patient.

MS can occur at any age and is usually diagnosed through the ages of 15 - 40. It is 3 times more likely to occur in women than men and is more common in people of Northern European background.

Symptoms of MS vision disturbances, extreme fatigue, loss of balance, problems with coordination, stiffness of muscles, speech problems, bladder and bowel problems, short-term memory and partial or complete paralysis. Not all people with MS will experience all these symptoms and the symptoms will improve during periods of remission.

Scientists do not know what causes MS, but many doctors believe it's an autoimmune disease. The body's immune system malfunctions and starts attacking the myelin which protects the central nervous system. There is also evidence that MS may be triggered by a common virus and some individuals are more susceptible to developing MS re genetic factors. There is absolutely no evidence that MS is a directly inherited disease.

MS is diagnosed in most people with the relapsing-remitting form of MS. Over time some people in this category develop secondary-progressive MS while others may have mild attacks but do not worsen and are considered to have benign MS.

There are successful medications for both relapsing-remitting MS and secondary-progressive MS. The treatments have been shown in clinical studies to actually modify the course of the disease and it can decrease the frequency and severity of MS attacks, reduce the number of MS lesions in the brain and slow down the progression of disability. It's important that therapies which are available are taken for the MS symptoms of spasticity, bladder problems, pain and fatigue.

MS is not contagious nor directly inherited although research studies are suggesting that genetic factors make certain people more susceptible to developing MS.

It is said that there is a cure such as: Repairing damaged myelin and nerve fibers to find a way to stop the damage and stimulate myelin regrowth. The other important research is the repair inured nerve fibers. Virus research is making great progress. Significant progress is being made in understanding how genes may contribute to the development of MS and that research is the largest in the world and in Canada. Since the 1980s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to see into the living brain and to detect MS lesions. MRI allows for faster diagnosis of MS and faster evaluation of potentially useful MS therapies.

Multiple Sclerosis

How does heat affect multiple sclerosis?

MS patients who are exposed to heat see a temporary worsening of their symptoms; removal from the heat causes the symptoms to subside.

Before MRIs were being used to more conclusively diagnose MS, doctors would sometimes place patients in a hot tub: if their symptoms got worse, and then subsided following removal from the tub, doctors would suspect MS as the cause.

It is important to note that the temporary worsening of symptoms caused by heat does not affect disease progression and does not cause earlier onset of disease progression.

Conditions and Diseases
Multiple Sclerosis

What causes heaviness in my legs?

Poor circulation perhaps?

what would cause my legs to feel heavy and have trouble standing up from a sitting position

Multiple Sclerosis

What bodily functions is not affected by metabolism?

hair growth

Multiple Sclerosis

Who first discovered multiple sclerosis?

Based on historical records, the earliest written record of someone with MS-like symptoms was Lydwina of Schieden, Dutch patron saint of ice skaters, in 1400. However, it was Dr. Jean Martin Charcot who first categorized, described, and documented the disease in 1868. Charcot, professor of neurology at the University of Paris, wrote the first complete description of MS and the changes in the brain which accompany it.

Multiple Sclerosis

How is interferon beta-1a administered to patients with multiple sclerosis?

For use in multiple sclerosis, interferon beta-1a is injected into the muscle (intramuscular injection), and beta-1b is injected just below the skin (subcutaneous injection

Multiple Sclerosis

What is a part of a neuron affected by multiple sclerosis?

the myelin sheaths. The disease is classified as demyelinating , which is also known as the degeneration of the myelin structures in the neuron.

Multiple Sclerosis

Can you be predisposed to multiple sclerosis?

While we still do not know what exactly causes MS, we do know that there are some people who seem to get MS more frequently than others. We know this through epidemiological studies, or the study of disease patterns over time within a culture. The National MS Society reports the following epidemiological findings about who gets MS:

  • SEX: Females are two to three times more likely to develop MS than males. Scientists believe that one's tendency to develop MS therefore has some hormonal connection.
  • FAMILY HISTORY: Statistics show that the chance of the average person in the United States developing MS is about 1 in 750. But close (first-degree) relatives of people with MS, such as children, siblings or non-identical twins, have a higher chance, anywhere from one in 100 to one in 40. It's not all genetic, though, and you can see this through the "identical twin" example. If one identical twin has MS, the other twin (who has the identical gene structure as the twin) has only a 1 in 4 chance of developing MS. If it were all genetic, the unaffected twin would have a 100% chance of developing MS instead of the 25% chance they exhibit today.
  • ETHNICITY: MS is more common among Caucasians (particularly those of northern European ancestry) than other ethnic groups, and is almost unheard of in some populations, such as Inuits, Yakutes, Hutterites, Hungarian Romanis, Norwegian Lapps, Australian Aborigines, and New Zealand Maoris.
  • GEOGRAPHY: MS occurs with greatest frequency in higher latitudes (above 40° latitude) away from the equator, than in lower latitudes, closer to the equator. This may have something to do with vitamin D production in the skin, and the vitamin's prophylactic effect on the development of MS. The exact details about vitamin D's involvement with the prevention of MS, however, is still unclear. Additionally, moving from one geographic area to another seems to alter a person's risk of developing MS. Studies show that families and their children will assume the new risk level (higher or lower) of the area to which they move. Those who move before age 15 generally take on the new risk themselves. Those who move after they are 15 may not see the new risk appear until the next generation.
  • INFECTIOUS TRIGGER: Scientists have been searching for years for an infectious agent that might trigger MS. While many different viruses have been suggested, including rabies, herpes simplex virus, measles, corona virus, canine distemper virus, HTLV-1, Epstein-Barr virus, among others, none has yet been confirmed. Chlamydia pneumoniae, a bacteria which 90% of the population has been exposed to over their lifetime, has also been suggested but never proven. Although no trigger has yet been identified, most MS experts believe that some infectious agent is involved in initiating the disease process.
Multiple Sclerosis

Can chemotherapy cause multiple sclerosis?

I've never heard of that. In fact, chemo is used as a treatment for MS.

Multiple Sclerosis

How much more dangerous would Swine Flu exposure be to someone with multiple sclerosis who is on a monthly infusion of Tysabri?

The question is less like how much more dangerous the exposure would be, it is how much more likely is someone taking Tysabri to catch the virus.

Users of the immunomodulating drugs such as Rebif, Betaseron, Copaxone, Avonex, or Tysabri are not any more susceptible to dangers from viral or bacterial infections than someone without MS.

Tysabri is a monoclonal antibody which acts as an immunosuppressant in humans. This means that it suppresses, or dampens, the immune system's responses, which leaves the body more vulnerable to infections of any kind, viral or bacterial.

This also means that, all things being equal, if there are two people exposed to swine flu (or any flu for that matter), and one is on Tysabri, the person on Tysabri would be more likely to actually contract the flu than the person not on Tysabri.

For the person on Tysabri who otherwise has a normally-functioning immune system, the body should be able to handle the infection; however, as with any infections while on Tysabri, it is important to let your doctor know right away. There are several antiviral medications which appear to be effective against the swine flu virus; treatment should probably start as soon as practical.

Multiple Sclerosis

Why do i get light headed nausea hot flashes and it come and goes?

If you have Fibromyalgia, Lupus or MS light headedness, dizziness and nausea are not uncommon. Medications you are taking can also cause these symptoms. You should be checked out by your doctor for any other potential causes.

Multiple Sclerosis

What is the Scientific name for multiple sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is the scientific name. MS causes many scars on the tissues of the nervous system, and so the name Multiple Sclerosis. The word sclerosis is derived from the Greek word skleros, which means hard.

Multiple Sclerosis

Who does Multiple Sclerosis affect?

The central nervous system. 'Central nervous system' answers what MS affects, but not who. It affects between 2 & 3 times as many women as men, & usually (but not always) starts in early adult life: 20's, 30's or 40's. The incidence increases the further away from the equator you live There is a slightly increased chance of getting MS if a close relative has it, but this only raises the odds to around 1 in 100 rather than 1 in 700 for the rest of the population.

Multiple Sclerosis

What are the symptoms and prognosis of multiple-sclerosis?

Many MS patients are temperature sensitive. In hotter weather or during a period of raised body temperature, their MS symptoms worsen. Most frequently, vision is affected and muscle weakness occurs.

About two-thirds of MS patients experience pain at some point during the course of the disease and 40% are never pain free. MS causes many pain syndromes; some are acute, while others are chronic. Some worsen with age and disease progression. Pain syndromes associated with MS are trigeminal (facial) pain, powerful spasms and cramps, optic neuritis pain, pressure pain, stiffened joints, and a variety of sensations including feelings of itching, burning, and shooting pain.

The Lhermitte's sign can occur, which is actually more of a symptom than a sign. A tingling or electric-like sensation down the back and legs is felt upon flexing the neck. The symptom is non-specific, but occurs more frequently in MS than in any other condition and provides an important clue to the correct diagnosis.

Urinary incontinence affects up to 90% of people with multiple sclerosis and usually occurs before major physical disability is apparent. Bladder problems are due to plaques in the spinal cord. If demyelination occurs in both controlling pathways, the bladder will neither store urine nor empty it properly. Constipation affects about 40% of people with MS. Bowel incontinence and urgency of defecation can also occur in about half of people with MS.

Fatigue is a common complaint in MS. Characteristics of fatigue include muscle weakness, coordination problems, ataxia, transient deafness, changes in taste or smell and numbness of the extremities. Spasticity occurs in up to 90% of MS patients and it can be painful and distressing. Spasticity is characterized by weakness, loss of dexterity, and the inability to control specific movements. It is usually more severe in the legs and torso.

Sexual dysfunction is common among people with multiple sclerosis. If MS damages the nerve pathways from the brain to the sexual organs via the spinal cord, sexual response can be directly affected. Physicians and people with MS often neglect to deal with this aspect of the disease, and both treatments and strategies for success are available.

Depression is common in MS; some studies show that over 50% of people with MS have depression at some point in their lifetime. There is also an increased risk of suicide. If depression is present, it should be treated prior to initiating MS therapy. Depression in those with MS is treated in the same way as the general population.


It is generally very difficult to predict the course of MS. The disorder varies greatly in each individual, but most people with MS can expect to live 95% of the normal life expectancy. Some studies have shown that people who have few attacks in the first several years after diagnosis, long intervals between attacks, complete recovery from attacks, and attacks that are sensory in nature (i.e., numbness or tingling) tend to fare better. People who have early symptoms of tremor, difficulty in walking, or who have frequent attacks with incomplete recoveries, or more lesions visible on MRI scans early on, tend to have a more progressive disease course.

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