What Are the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?


Remember how I explained that the types of symptoms experienced with Multiple Sclerosis depends on where the lesions (spots on myelin sheath that are damaged) are located? This is a very important concept to understand. Every part of your body is controlled by the brain and spinal cord via a nerve. If the myelin is damaged along a nerve leading from your brain to your hand or if the brain itself has damaged myelin where the hand is ultimately controlled, then your hand won't function properly (for example). This could mean that you may experience something as mild as a sensory issue or something as severe as a motor issue, it all depends on where the damage is.

The most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are Fatigue, Numbness, Walking (Gait) Issues, Balance  & Coordination Problems, Bladder Dysfunction, Bowel Dysfunction, Vision Problems, Dizziness and Vertigo, Sexual Dysfunction, Pain, Cognitive Dysfunction, Emotional Changes, Depression, and Spasticity. - The National MS Society

Here is a list of various MS symptoms. This does not mean that if you have Multiple Sclerosis you will experience all of these symptoms nor does it mean you can only experience these symptoms, it is just a list of symptoms that can be associated with Multiple Sclerosis in some way shape or form. Some are common and some are a little uncommon. Theoretically, almost any neurological symptom is possible with Multiple Sclerosis but that does not mean it is likely. It is important to not blame everything you experience on Multiple Sclerosis as you can still get sick or injured just the same as anyone else meaning the symptom you are experiencing could possibly be the result of something unrelated to MS. If you are unsure, just ask your doctor!

Visual Symptoms
Optic Neuritis - Blurred vision, eye pain, loss of color vision, blindness
Diplopia - Double Vision
Nystagmus - Jerky Eye Movements
Oscillopsia - Oscillating vision.
Sixth Nerve Palsy - Weakness of cranial nerve VI 

Motor Symptoms
Drop Foot - Inability to lift toes while stepping causing foot to drag
Spasticity - Stiff/rigid muscles
Clonus - Muscular spasm involving repeated, often rhythmic, contractions.
Myoclonus - Sudden, involuntary, jerking of a muscle sometimes in response to a stimulus.
Hyperreflexia - Exaggerated reflexes
Poor Balance/Coordination - Difficulty maintaining balance without any form of dizziness
Poor Fine Motor Control - Difficulty writing or doing anything meticulous with the hands
Dysarthria- Slurred speech and related speech problems
Paralysis/Weakness - Inability to move a body part or inability to move body part with strength

Sensory Symptoms
Paraesthesia - Partial numbness, tingling, buzzing and vibration sensations 
Anaesthesia - Complete numbness/loss of sensation 
L'Hermitte's Sign - Electric shocks and buzzing sensations when moving head downwards 
Neuropathic Pain - Pain without apparent cause, burning, itching and electrical shock sensations 
Proprioceptive Dysfunction - Loss of awareness of location of body parts 
Trigeminal Neuralgia - Facial Pain 
Vertigo and Dizziness - Spinning rooms or the feeling of spinning

Cognitive Symptoms
Cognitive Dysfunction - Short-term and long-term memory problems, forgetfulness, slow word recall and poor problem solving skills
Depression - sad feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy
Insomnia - Inability to fall asleep
Dementia - Severe impairment or loss of intellectual capacity and personality integration
Mood swings - Extreme or rapid changes in mood
Anxiety - A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease
Aphasia/Dysphasia - Impairments to speech comprehension and production

Coordination Symptoms
Ataxia - Loss of coordination 
Intention Tremor - Shaking when performing fine movements
Dysmetria - Constant under or overshooting limb movements 
Vestibular Ataxia - Abnormal balance function in the inner ear
Dysdiadochokinesia - Loss of ability to produce rapidly alternating movements, for example to move to a rhythm  

Bowel, Bladder, and Sexual Symptoms
Urinary Urgency and Incontinence - Needing to urinate constantly or the inability to "hold it"
Urinary Hesitancy and Retention - Inability to initiate urination
Constipation - Infrequent or irregular bowel movements
Fecal Incontinence - Bowel incontinence 
Anorgasmy - Inability to achieve orgasm
Frigidity - Inability to become sexually aroused
Decreased Libido - Loss of interest in sex
Erectile Dysfunction - Difficulty or inability to maintain erection
Decreased vaginal lubrication - Vaginal dryness

Other Symptoms
Fatigue - Extreme tiredness
Uhthoff's Symptom - Increase in severity of symptoms with heat
Impaired Sense of Taste and Smell - Loss or change in taste/smell
Swallowing problems - Causes choking and difficulty eating/drinking
Inappropriately cold body parts - Body may feel warm but hands (for example) may feel freezing.
"The MS Hug" - Involuntary contraction of intercostal muscles (muscles between ribs)
   
Again, this list does not cover every possible symptom of Multiple Sclerosis, it is simply a list of the more typically documented MS symptoms along with a few uncommon symptoms. The chances of someone with MS experiencing all or even most of these symptoms is very unlikely.