Do you have MS? Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease affecting approximately 2.5 million people worldwide. Usually showing up between the ages of 20 and 40, it is up to three times more prevalent in women than it is in men, according to recent statistics. Yet, many women are not aware that they have the condition.
With multiple sclerosis, the immune system damages the coverings of nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. This can cause a variety of debilitating symptoms. MS symptoms aren’t always severe, though. They are often subtle and inconsistent, especially at the onset, causing common, everyday ailments. Thus, many women ignore them.
Look out for the following symptoms of multiple sclerosis…
Illnesses that affect the immune system, such as multiple sclerosis, are known to cause menstrual irregularities and amenorrhea. Amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual bleeding in women.
Missing a period from time to time usually isn’t cause for concern. This can occur for many reasons. But, if your cycle becomes irregular or you haven’t had a period of over three months, there may be a problem.
Sensory issues occur commonly with multiple sclerosis and can manifest in different ways. Some sufferers experience burning or crawling sensations, while others have to deal with pain in the body.
Involuntary muscle spasms and inexplicable weakness or stiffness of the muscles are other ailments that can affect people with MS. They often accompany pain and other symptoms.
As most people know, putting pressure on an arm or leg for extended periods of time cuts off circulation to the affected body part, resulting in a prickly pins-and-needles sensation. This is normal.
But, if you’re finding that your arms, hands, legs, or feet regularly tingle or go numb for no apparent reason, then it could be a sign that you have multiple sclerosis or some other underlying condition.
Clumsier than usual? Tripping or stumbling a lot lately for no reason? Don’t ignore it, as this is a sign that something could be wrong with the motor nerves in your central nervous system.
People often brush off their clumsiness and attribute it to having a bad balance, but this isn’t always the case. See a doctor as soon as possible if you’re constantly falling and dropping things.
Unstable moods and emotions can be caused by medications, sleep disorders, and various other problems, but it’s also a common symptom of MS. In fact, it affects around 60 percent of sufferers.
Women with emotional distress from multiple sclerosis can experience sudden mood swings, irritability, and uncontrollable laughing or crying fits. There may also struggle with depression.
Optic neuritis, wherein the optic nerve that carries light signals from the back of the eye to the brain becomes inflamed, is one of the primary symptoms of multiple sclerosis in women.
Inflammation of the optic nerve can make it difficult for sufferers to distinguish between colors and cause partial blindness. It can also cause pain or a pulling sensation during eye movements.
If you constantly forget birthdays or you keep losing your keys, then don’t worry. You probably don’t have Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, forgetfulness is a symptom of MS in younger women.
Short-term memory loss is common in women with multiple sclerosis and may accompany other cognitive problems, such as concentration issues and difficulty planning or processing information.
Bowel and Bladder Changes
Pay attention to bowel and bladder changes. When MS lesions delay or block nerve signals in the areas of the central nervous system that control the bowel, bladder, and urinary muscles, there may be symptoms.
Bladder dysfunction symptoms include incontinence, frequent urination, needing to go urgently, and being unable to. When it affects the bowel, there may be regular diarrhea and constipation.
Vertigo – the sensation of spinning or having your surroundings spin around you – is one of the early symptoms of MS in women. It typically occurs in bouts, which can last minutes or hours.
Extreme dizziness is a symptom in about 20 percent of women with multiple sclerosis. Often, it accompanies nausea, tinnitus or hearing loss, and trouble standing or walking.
Impaired Fine Motor Skills
Struggling to work your cellphone or computer? Trouble texting, typing, and performing everyday tasks that require fine motor skills is another early symptom of multiple sclerosis.
As the MS disease progresses, lesions typically develop that cause damage to particular areas of the nervous system. Manual dexterity may decline if a lesion develops on the back of the brain.
We all get them… those eventful days when you’re just totally wiped. But if you’re experiencing extreme exhaustion that goes on for weeks and affects your ability to function, then MS could be the culprit.
Fatigue from multiple sclerosis is often described as intense and overwhelming. It can occur without little to no activity and isn’t relieved by sleep. It also tends to get worse when the weather is warm.
Multiple sclerosis, like lupus (also an autoimmune disease), is known in the medical community as a masquerading disease because it mimics the symptoms of other, less serious health problems.
MS symptoms occur based on which nerves are affected. Therefore, it can cause a plethora of physical symptoms, one of which is malaise or a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or unease.