Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a pretty horrific disease—while the cause is still unknown, it usually presents itself as a disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, as well as between the brain and body.
MS, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, affects around 2.3 million people in the world.
So how do you know if you have it? While MS symptoms are different for everyone and often unpredictable, there are several signs that could indicate you might have it. MS affects women more than men, so here are 9 symptoms that women can experience if they have it.
About 60 percent or more people with MS experience some form of cognitive or emotional distress. You might find yourself feeling out of sorts both mentally and emotionally, and those feelings might switch off abruptly. Depression, irritability, and uncontrollable laughing and crying are just a few of the drastic mood swings you might experience.
Weakness or stiffness.
Women with MS typically experience inexplicable weakness and stiffness in their muscles. People usually describe this sensation as heaviness or as if their limbs are too worn out. The legs are the body part that typically experience this the most, as well as the back.
A common, yet weird symptom of fatigue is feeling as if your body feels off on a sensory level. For instance, a blanket over your legs or putting on your pants might feel different and more uncomfortable on your skin than it used to. Sensations that once felt nice might make your skin crawl now.
You either have to go to the bathroom all the time, or down gallons of water in an effort to pee and don’t go for much longer than you ever have. If you haven’t peed in 24 hours, or if you’re running to the restroom constantly with a sense of urgency, you may have MS. About 80 percent of people with MS experience odd bathroom habits like these. In addition, these are sometimes accompanied by constipation, diarrhea, and uncontrollable bowel movements.
Some people experience optic neuritis when they have MS, which causes you to not fully be able to distinguish which color is which anymore. It can also cause partial blindness, color blindness, blind spots, or blindness only in one eye. If you see any kind of impairment such as these in your eyes, see your ophthalmologist immediately.
Pins and needles.
While your food falling asleep happens in everyone, people with MS experience this symptom for long periods of time in lots of different parts of their bodies. If your arms, legs, hands, or feet feel numb, or you experience burning, or tingly out of nowhere, you may want to see a doctor.
About 80 percent of people with MS suffer from severe fatigue and tiredness. The fatigue might be so bad that it interferes with work and daily life. Sometimes fatigue is the most prominent symptom of MS, though since fatigue is a symptom of many diseases, it’s not enough to diagnose yourself with MS completely.
Your period goes away.
While missing a few periods isn’t a huge deal, and can happen as a result of any immune system, people with MS can lose their period of months at a time. If Flo hasn’t paid you a visit in three months or more, see your OBGYN.
Do you find you need to put your head down in windy car rides, or feeling more dizzy than usual just walking up the stairs? Severe dizziness, a feeling of being lightheaded, and vertigo are common MS signs, especially in the beginning. They can also be a sign of inner-ear problems, anemia, low blood sugar, and low blood pressure, so it’s always good to get this checked out.
Could you or someone you know have MS? Do you or they have these symptoms?