8 Less Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

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by Marta Ribeiro |

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) results when the body’s immune system starts to attack and destroy myelin, the protecting coating on nerve fibers in the brain and/or spinal cord of the central nervous system. Common symptoms of MS include fatigue; numbness and tingling of the face, body, arms and legs; muscle spasms; walking difficulties; bladder problems; bowel problems; vision problems; and cognitive changes.

But there are some less common symptoms of MS that you should know about. Here are eight lesser-known potential signs of MS:


Speech problems could happen in approximately 25 to 40 percent of multiple sclerosis patients. Problems with speech may show during a later stage of the disease course, and during periods when patients experience an extreme level of fatigue. Stuttering is also a speech issue that can occasionally occur.

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Difficulty swallowing, called dysphagia, is a serious result of nerve damage. It can occur if there is nerve damage to any part of the brain that controls swallowing or if there is damage to the connections between the brain and the spinal cord.

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Tremors, or shaking uncontrollably, may happen in several parts of the body. This is a result of damaged areas along the complex nerve pathways that are responsible for coordinating movement.

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Seizures are the result of abnormal electrical discharges in an injured area of the brain. They are estimated to occur in 2 to 5 percent of people with MS.

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Trouble breathing may occur in people with damage to the autonomic (automatic) nervous system, which is responsible for our breathing without us even thinking about it. Weakness can occur in the ventilatory muscles of the chest or abdomen.

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Itching, also called pruritus, is not the kind of itching people without MS feel. MS patients describe the itching as “pins and needles,” burning, stabbing, or tearing pains.

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Headaches are not a common symptom of multiple sclerosis, but some reports suggest that people with MS may experience an increased incidence of certain types of headache, such as migraines.

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About 6 percent of patients with multiple sclerosis complain of impaired hearing. Hearing loss can occur, but it is rare.

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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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