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9 Ways Multiple Sclerosis Affects Your Body From Head to Toe


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic illness that has many different symptoms as it can affect any part of your body. No two people living with MS will experience the same symptoms but here are some of the ways that the condition can affect you from head to toe, according to

Cognitive issues such as brain fog, memory and concentration problems are common for people living with MS and many experience vertigo or dizziness. In rare cases, patients may also suffer from tremors or seizures.

Vision problems are often one of the first signs of MS. Double vision, blurred vision and eye pain can come on suddenly but in most cases, they are temporary and are due to inflammation of the muscles around the eye and can be rectified with medication.

In rare cases of MS, damage to the brainstem may result in hearing problems or deafness. Again, the majority of cases are temporary but some may suffer permanent damage to hearing.

MORE: Seven strange and unusual multiple sclerosis symptoms

Mouth and throat
Around 40 percent of people living with MS may experience problems with speech, usually slurred speech or trouble articulating. Some may also have trouble controlling the volume of their speech. Rarer still, some people may experience problems with swallowing which can be serious as it can lead to choking. Speech and language therapists can help with both speech and swallowing problems.

Arms and legs
The limbs are most likely to be affected by multiple sclerosis, with patients suffering from a variety of ailments such as pain, numbness, and tingling. Both fine and gross motor skills are involved as hand-to-eye coordination may be affected and many will suffer from balance problems or have difficulty walking as the disease progresses.

Bladder and bowel
Nerve damage can lead to problems controlling the bladder and bowel. Bladder problems are extremely common in MS affecting around 80 percent of patients. Bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea and lack of bowel control can sometimes be maintained through diet and exercise but in some cases, medication or surgery may be required.

MORE: Vlogger explains how she overcame her bladder issues.

Reproductive system
There is no evidence that suggests MS affects fertility in men or women. And for women, many find that their MS goes into remission during pregnancy. However, between 20 percent and 40 percent will relapse after they have given birth.

Sexual dysfunction is common in MS, this could be due to a variety of reasons both physical and emotional. Nerve damage, fatigue, general pain and the effects of depression can all have an effect on a person’s libido. However, these can often be overcome with some medication or a little bit of planning.

Skeletal Structure
The regular use of steroids and lack of exercise puts multiple sclerosis patients at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Exercise is important to help keep bones strong and healthy and to avoid excess bone density loss.  People with multiple sclerosis are also more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, which plays a vital role in bone health.

Researchers have discovered that women with MS are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems than those without the condition. Regular exercise and a good diet are essential to help avoid problems such as stroke, heart disease or heart failure.

MORE: Important things to remember if you have MS.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Thank you for the information although being an MS sufferer for years I know and have all those symptoms that at one time I didnt know some were due to having MS. This information is brilliant and vital to us all, thank you for publishing this on here

    • Lucy Murphy says:

      I randomly had a toe nail completely come off last year and the same has just happened on another now too. Not sure if it’s related to ms though. I’d say I most likely bumped them off something and forgot about it.

      • Nicole Rodgers says:

        The same thing has happened to me. I haven’t started treatment yet, so that’s not the issue. I have just been diagnosed on 12-16-19, but the neurologist says I’ve had this for years due to the amount of lesions.

    • Yashira M Dean says:

      The exact same thing is happening to me as well. I have MS as well. I’ve been searching the web to see if others have the same side effects.

  2. elizabeth swan says:

    i am a mother of a 46 year old girl who has been gagged with a tablecloth by her carer partner in Edinburgh. When i searched for ‘is gagging someone with ms by carer a crime?’ i came across this site and then learned about the difficulty in breathing for a few sufferer. It was like a bolt of lightening which has given me the ammunition to save my daughter from this controlling carer.
    Its amazing how a door can be opened and light flood in at just the right moment.

  3. Kirsty says:

    Hi my name is Kirsty basically my body feels numb all and when I put My chin on my chest I get strange Sensations going down my legs to my feet

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