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Multiple sclerosis symptoms

Multiple sclerosis (MS) usually starts with mild symptoms that may or may not get worse over time. Symptoms depend on which part of the central nervous system is affected and how much damage has occurred.

The most common symptoms are:

  • loss of control of the arms and legs leading to difficulty with walking, balance and coordination; muscle spasms and problems with weakness and coordination
  • tiredness
  • sensitivity to heat (a hot day or a hot bath, or even a hot cup of tea, can make symptoms worse)
  • other problems related to the nervous system such as dizziness, pins and needles, pain due to a damaged nerve, and problems with eyesight
  • problems with the bladder and bowel causing incontinence and/or constipation
  • changes in memory, in concentration, in reasoning, in emotions, or in mood (such as depression).

The symptoms of MS vary widely from person to person. They can also come and go in any one person. MS is unpredictable.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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