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MS in Women: Are There Specific MS Symptoms for Women?

Last updated May 20, 2022, by Marisa Wexler, MS

Fact-checked by Patricia Silva, PhD

FAQs about MS in women

Multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause a number of symptoms affecting daily life including fatigue, depression, pain, and muscle spasms. The disease affects each patient differently, and its impact on day-to-day life can vary based on the unique set of symptoms it causes. Compared with men, women usually have a better recovery after MS relapses and a slower rate of disability accumulation over time. Proper therapeutic care, support, and beneficial lifestyle changes can improve daily life for MS patients. 

Hair loss is not a symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS), and people with MS are no more likely to experience hair loss than the general population. Some medications used to treat MS may, however, cause hair loss as a side effect. Patients are advised to talk to their healthcare team if they experience unexpected hair loss.

The majority of women with MS experience some form of sexual dysfunction, with decreased libido and difficulty achieving orgasm being especially common. Some women with MS may experience reduced genital sensation, pain during sexual activity, and/or vaginal dryness.

MS can affect a woman’s sex drive. Most commonly, the disease is associated with decreased sexual desire. Hypersexuality — an unusual increase in libido — is not commonly reported in women with MS, though there have been scattered case reports of women with MS who experience hypersexuality associated with the disease.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects each person differently. In relapsing forms of MS, the prognosis of the disease is better for women than for men — compared with men, women tend to have an easier recovery after relapses and a slower accumulation of disabling symptoms. In primary progressive MS, however, rates of disability are comparable between men and women. Some studies have suggested that disabling MS symptoms have a larger impact on the quality of life and functional capacity in men, as men tend to view their own physical, psychological, and social well-being more unfavorably than women with MS with similar disability scores.

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 other 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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