Why do some people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have speech problems?

Human speech ends with the mouth but starts with the brain. The lungs, vocal cords and tongue all play a role, as well as the lips, throat and jaw. That leaves several places along the way that speaking can get complicated when multiple sclerosis (MS) is involved.

“When there is damage to the nerves that stimulate the muscles, they may not work as quickly or precisely,” according to Bonnie Schaude, outpatient speech pathologist at the MS Institute at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga.

Speech symptoms with MS aren't about not knowing the right word, even though some people also could have speaking difficulties linked to cognitive issues.

Sometimes problems talking might be a side effect from medications, particularly those that cause a dry mouth. But more often, just as when MS hinders mobility, the muscles you use to speak simply aren't getting the message.

In addition, those same symptoms that play havoc with other parts of the body can show up in speech. Ataxia, muscle weakness and tremor all can come into play.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.