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9 Ways Multiple Sclerosis Affects Your Body From Head to Toe


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic illness that presents many different symptoms since it can affect any part of the human body. While no two people living with MS will experience the same symptoms, according to, there are some more common ways the condition affects the body.

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.

Interested in MS research? Check out our forums and join the conversation!

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 managed 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. Mr Clive Matthewson says:

    I was interested to read in your social clips that there is medication for my vision problems.
    My MS nurse at the hostpital which I attend told me there was no treatment for my vision issues,
    I would be interested in any further information which you could forward me.
    Can I also comment how interesting your MS mailshots are
    thank you for all your research etc.

  2. Jan Salerno says:

    I am a 79 yr old female. I have had balance & dizziness for 4-5 yrs. I also have bladder problems, speech & eyes are beginning to bother me. I have had 1 Lhermitte episode last wk. I am scheduled for an MRI in the coming weeks. I have has a triple bypass & 4 stents.
    I think I have MS. My Dr thinks I am to old to have MS.
    Can you have MS early & no symptoms at a later yrs.

    • Faye says:

      My doctor said the same thing to me. I’m 54 and was dinosed with MS 4years ago.
      So don’t stop un till u get a true answer.
      Yes u can have symptoms and not realize its. Faye from tx.

    • Kathy says:

      Go to a neurologist that specializes in MS. The MS society has a web site where anyone can put in there city & state to find a dr. Also can call them like I did & got several names in my small town & yes u could have been overlooked by all your drs over the yrs.

  3. Elizabeth Flores says:

    My 18yr old has been diagnosed with MS …WE have no idea What it is or what happens to people with MS.
    How do we get more information?

  4. Richard Dominique Joh says:

    I’ve been diagnosed with sclerosis. I’m afraid of the long term effect! And also I’m experiencing major symptoms already: sexual dysfunction;pain and numbness in legs causing difficulty in walking and occasional cramps in legs!

    • Daniel Viera says:

      I have had ms for 27 yrs. I have to walk with a walker with 4 wheels. I have numbness in most of my body (mostly on the right side). I want a cure period.
      Daniel V.

  5. Michelle Bennett says:

    2018 was diagnosed with ms..I’m 52 and afraid to get the infusion due to infection..haven’t had many good doctors and found out a lot of doctors don’t know much about ms..wish I had more support.

  6. Debra Evans says:

    I was told i have ms back in 2016 they think ive had it for years i fell in my drive way lost 70 percent of left eye and 30 percent in right eye they told me id not get it back ive got balance issue have trouble with legs but now its my arms it started in my left arm now its in my right arm the pain pills dont even help and i dont know what to do to make myself better have been going to the gym 4 times a week untill the pain got so bad with my arms can anybody tell me what i can do its been going on now for 3 months ..

  7. SARAH HUGHES says:

    I had an mri scan 4 months ago which showed up white spots on my brain, I was told the mri would be repeated, I get really bad back pain, pain at the top of my neck, at the minute i have a very sore foot that I cnt stand on it but i did not injure it, i have rang my gp who then just proscribed me paracetamol, I’m scared i have ms, i have had episodes that I’ve had very bad head ache were my speech was slurred and my vision n balance affected but we put down as migraine! Has anyone any advice I just wish I would be told either way if I have ms or not I know at this time because of the corona virus theres no appointments!! Thanks

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