The following are the most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS):
- Fatigue, also known as lassitude, is the most common symptom of MS. It may involve muscle weakness, mental fatigue, sleepiness or drowsiness.
- Visual problems in MS are common. Blurred vision, nystagmus (uncontrolled eye movements), temporary blindness -- usually in one eye -- and double vision are also common.
- Changes in cognitive function involve attention, concentration, the ability to understand or express language, and information processing speed. The most common symptom associated with MS is mild to moderate impairment of short-term memory.
- Dizziness can cause a feeling of being off balance, faint, or lightheaded. Vertigo may cause a person to feel that they or their surroundings are spinning.
- Sensory problems/pain can occur as a "pins and needles" sensation, numbness, itching, or burning. A stabbing or sudden burst of facial pain, known as trigeminal neuralgia, can also occur.
- Spasticity, also known as muscle spasms, usually affects the muscles of the legs and arms. It can cause stiffness and pain and may interfere with the ability to move the muscles freely.
- Depression is common among those with MS and research indicates that about half of people with the disease will experience a major depressive episode during the course of their illness.
- Bladder and bowel may cause frequency, urgency, dribbling, hesitancy, and incontinence. Bowel dysfunction may consist of constipation, diarrhea and incontinence.
- Gait impairment, or difficulty walking, including: extremity ataxia, such as shaky movements, tremors, swaying, staggering, loss of balance and coordination, or weakness.
- Speech and swallowing problems may include changes in speech patterns or slurred speech. Reduced muscle strength or coordination can also cause difficulty swallowing. This is known as dysphagia.
- Tremor refers to an involuntary, rhythmic movement of the arms, legs or head. Intention tremor refers to a relatively slow, back and forth movement of a limb engaged in purposeful movement, such as pointing the finger toward the nose.
- Changes in sexual function are also common in MS. A decrease or loss of sex drive, decreased or unpleasant genital sensations, and diminished capacity for orgasm may occur.
- Sensitivity to heat is common in MS and refers to a temporary worsening of symptoms that may occur when the core body temperature becomes elevated.
More Answers from Multiple Sclerosis Foundation