Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a pretty terrible disease – while the cause is not yet known, it usually presents itself as a disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, as well as between the body and brain.
This disease affects around 2.3 million people in the world. So how do you know if you have it? While MS symptoms are different for everyone and often extremely unpredictable, there are several signs that could indicate you might have it. MS affects women more than men, so here are 9 symptoms that women may experience if they have it.
Around 60% or more people with MS experience some type of cognitive or emotional distress. You might find yourself feeling out of sorts both mentally and emotionally, and those feelings might switch off abruptly. Irritability, depression, and uncontrollable laughing and crying are just some of the drastic mood swings that you could experience.
2. Weakness or Stiffness
Women with MS usually experience inexplicable stiffness and weakness in their muscles. People usually describe this sensation as heaviness or as if their limbs are too worn out. The legs are the body part that typically experiences this the most, as well as the back.
3. Sensory Issues
A common, yet weird symptom of fatigue is feeling as if your body is off on a sensory level. For example, a blanket over your legs or putting on your pants might feel different and more uncomfortable on your skin than it used to. Sensations that once felt nice might make your skin crawl now.
You either have to go to the bathroom all the time or down gallons of water in an effort to pee and don’t go for much longer than you ever have. If you haven’t peed in over 24 hours, or if you’re running to the bathroom constantly with a sense of urgency, you could have MS. Around 80% of people with MS experience odd bathroom habits like these. Furthermore, these are sometimes accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, and uncontrollable bowel movements.
5. Vision Problems
Some people experience optic neuritis when they have MS, which causes you to not fully be able to recognize which color is which anymore. It can also cause partial blindness, blind spots, or blindness only in one eye. If you see any kind of eye impairment such as these, see your ophthalmologist straight away.
6. Pins and Needles
While everyone experiences pins and needles from time to time, people with MS experience it for long periods of time in lots of different parts of their bodies. If your arms, hands, legs, or feet feel numb, or you experience burning, or a tingly sensation out of nowhere, you should take a trip to your doctor.
Around 80% of people with MS suffer from severe fatigue and tiredness. The fatigue might be so bad that it interrupts work and daily life. Sometimes fatigue is the most prominent symptom of MS, though since fatigue is a symptom of many diseases, it doesn’t mean that you have MS.
8. Your Period Goes Away
While missing a period isn’t that big of a deal, women suffering from MS can miss their periods for months at a time. If you haven’t had a period in three months or more, see your OBGYN.
9. Dizzy Spells
Do you find that you need to put your head down in windy car rides, or that you’re feeling more dizzy than usual just walking up the stairs? Severe dizziness, lightheadedness, and vertigo are common MS signs, especially in the beginning. They can also be a sign of inner-ear problems, low blood sugar, anemia, and low blood pressure, so it’s always good to get this checked out.