Living with Multiple Sclerosis is not easy. MS patients may experience a very good day today but unexpectedly, face symptoms the next day. Some Multiple Sclerosis symptoms are common in many patients, such as fatigue, pain, tingling and numbness, sexual dysfunction, bowel and bladder dysfunction, and mobility issues, whereas others are rare and may surprise patients. We describe 8 such uncommon symptoms that may shock you.
“What’s surprising about MS symptoms is that they can affect different functions that people rely on every day in their lives,” says Rosalind Kalb, PhD, a clinical psychologist and a consultant to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). “Some are physical, some emotional, and some intellectual. We tend to focus on the ones we can all see, but many people may be living with a variety of symptoms that just aren’t apparent.”
1. Cognitive Problems
MS patients can have cognitive issues which can include memory problems, difficulty in paying attention, and language issues. Impaired thinking is also found in some patients in which they face difficulty in choosing appropriate words to say, forgetting things or tasks to be done, and slowed thinking.
2. Body Twitches
Body twitches are also an uncommon symptom of MS. Patients report twitching and muscle spasm especially in limbs but sometimes they may also experience them in the head, trunk, and even in their vocal cords.
3. Hearing Problems
Another very uncommon problem is hearing problem. Hearing problems occur due to damage to the brain stem. People may hear a ringing bell or don’t hear anything at all. Deafness due to MS is rare. This symptom of MS is very rare. If you experience this problem, it is highly recommended that you talk to your neurologist and an audiologist.
4. Vertigo/Balance Problems
Vertigo is a common symptom of MS. In vertigo, the patient feels light headedness, dizziness, fainting, or off-balance. Dr. Kalb defines vertigo as, “When you have a vertigo episode, you feel as though the room is spinning around you. To experience how vertigo feels like, spin round and round, then stop. Now the world is spinning? Multiple Sclerosis patients with vertigo feel similar to what you are feeling now. Vertigo can make you off-balance and you may injure yourself.”
To treat vertigo, first visit an otolaryngologist, fancy name for an ENT specialist. If you are certain that your vertigo is because of MS, then visit your neurologist as early as possible. We don’t recommend any drug; it’s the doctor’s job.
To improve your balance and coordination, you may want to start easy exercises for MS patients.
5. Speech Disorders
When the nerves in your brain that control speech, and also those in the spinal cord are damaged, speech problems are experienced. Patients experience mild to severe speech problems depending on which part of the brain is affected and how much it is damaged.
• Nasal-sounding speech
• Trouble changing tone of voice
• Slurring words which usually happens because of weak tongue, lip, and mouth muscles.
6. Hot Feet
Some patients with MS report that their feet get hot immediately or experience extreme pin prickling sensation in their feet. The patient describes it as their feet are on fire. This symptom usually gets worse while lying.
7. Swallowing Difficulties
Some MS patients face trouble swallowing food and drinking liquid. This condition is called ‘dysphagia.’ Patients will have varying degrees of this problem; some have mild whereas some have severe issues.
Following are the most obvious symptoms of this problem:
• A feeling that food is lodged in your throat
• You cough or choke when you eat
• You get a lot of lung infections, like pneumonia, that you can’t explain
One of the biggest issues you may face, as a result of swallowing issues or dysphagia, is you might take the food to your lungs through the windpipe instead of your stomach through the esophagus, which can cause pneumonia or abscesses.
Because of this difficulty in eating and drinking, you may want to eat or drink as little as possible. You will face malnutrition and dehydration. A person can also inhale small amounts of food or liquids without being aware of it. This is called silent aspiration.
MS can damage the nerves responsible for communication with the skin. This damage can cause you to feel itchy despite any sign of irritation. The itching with multiple sclerosis also called the MS itch or Pruritus comes suddenly with great intensity but is temporary and lasts for seconds to minutes. It gets worse when you try to scratch. Any skin cream or herbal product won’t help because the problem is neurological.
Which of these Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms have you experienced? Let us know in the comments section below.