Multiple Sclerosis: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Rabia Akram, MD Written by - Dr. Sannia Sanadi


Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a persistent neurological condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. It has a wide spectrum of symptoms and varies widely in intensity from individual to individual. Individuals with MS should engage closely with medical professionals to build an appropriate treatment strategy that suits their unique requirements and manages the progression of the illness. Early detection and management can aid in alleviating symptoms and stop the disease’s development. 4 Overview| Researched based study from National MS Society

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a persistent neurological condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. It has a wide spectrum of symptoms and varies widely in intensity from individual to individual.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a type of autoimmune disease. When you are suffering from these diseases, your body’s immune system attacks normal cells in an inappropriate way. External factors may also be involved. We do know that the illness impacts more women than males, that there is a familial association with MS, as well as that you are more likely to have the condition if you reside in a section of the globe where MS is more frequent. Nerve communications from the central nervous system to other parts of your body are interfered with when the myelin sheath is damaged. The injury may affect the spinal cord, brain, and vision. 1 Overview | Researched based study from Cleveland Clinic


What Causes Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

Experts are still unsure about the root cause of multiple sclerosis. Factors that may precipitate MS include: 4 Causes| Researched based study from National MS Society

Environmental Factors

  • Although the exact origin of MS is unknown, scientists are discovering more regarding environmental variables that increase the likelihood of acquiring MS. 
  • MS is not caused by a single risk factor. 

Vitamin D Deficiency

  • There has been increasing evidence that vitamin D has a significant role in MS. 
  • Low blood vitamin D levels have been scientifically recognized as a risk factor for MS development.  
  • Vitamin D, is known to enhance immunological function and may aid in the prevention of immune-mediated disorders such as MS. 
  • Vitamin D administration is being studied for the prevention and treatment of MS. 
  • Consult a physician if you have any queries about whether or not you should take supplements.


  • Several studies have found that obesity among children and adolescents, particularly in females, increases the chance of acquiring MS later in life. 
  • Being overweight in young adulthood may raise the likelihood of having MS. 
  • Obesity may also lead to inflammatory and increased MS activities in people who already have MS.

Faulty immune response

  • A faulty immune response in MS promotes damage and inflammation to the brain and spinal cord. 
  • The aberrant immune reaction involves many distinct cells.
  • B cells and T cells are the two key kinds of immune cells: T cells are activated in the lymphatic system and enter the brain and spinal cord via blood arteries in MS. T cells that enter the brain emit substances that induce swelling and damage. This causes myelin, nerve fibers, including the cells that produce myelin to be damaged. T cells also aid in the activation of B cells. T cells can reduce or eliminate inflammation. 


  • The proof that smoking contributes to MS is also rising. Smoking enhances a person’s likelihood of acquiring MS and is linked to more severe illness and faster disease development. 
  • Fortunately, there is research showing that quitting smoking, whether before or following the beginning of MS, is related to lower development of impairment.

Gene mutations

  • Having an immediate family member with MS raises the likelihood of developing the condition. 4 Causes| Researched based study from National MS Society


Signs & Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Nerve injury can occur in the central nervous system. As a result, MS symptoms can manifest in different parts of the body. 3 Symptoms| Researched based study from Mount Sinai Health System

Muscular symptoms

  • Loss of equilibrium – Problems with balance and motion.
  • Spasms of the muscles
  • Numbness
  • Unusual sensations
  • Having difficulty moving your arms or legs
  • One or more limbs or legs tremble.
  • Arms or legs are weak.

Nervous symptoms

  • Attention deficit, poor judgment, and loss of memory
  • Reasoning and solving issues are difficult
  • Feelings of melancholy or depression
  • Problems with dizziness and balance
  • Hearing impairment

Sexual problems

  • Erection difficulties
  • Vaginal lubrication problems

Ocular problems

  • Dual vision
  • Discomfort in the eyes
  • Uncontrollable eye motions
  • Loss of vision

Bowel and bladder symptoms

  • Stool incontinence and constipation
  • Difficulties urinating
  • Urge to urinate often
  • Urge to urinate strongly

Tingling, weakness, or pain

  • Facial ache
  • Muscle spasms are excruciatingly painful
  • Arm and leg tingling, creeping, or burning sensation

Problems with speech and swallowing

  • Speech that is slurred or is hard to comprehend
  • Eating and swallowing difficulties. 3 Symptoms| Researched based study from Mount Sinai Health System

Life Expectancy

Multiple Sclerosis Life Expectancy

  • People with MS had a life span that was only around 6 to 7 years, which is lower than the average person.
  • It was discovered that the life span of persons with MS is growing at the same pace as the overall population.
  • Overall, persons with MS had a seven-year lower lifespan than those who did not have MS. 5 Life Expectancy| Researched based study from Multiple Sclerosis Trust


Foods to Avoid for Multiple Sclerosis

What should I avoid with multiple sclerosis?

The following foods should be avoided:

  • Milk, cream, melted butter, frozen desserts, yogurt, cottage cheese, and whey powder are all dairy products that must be avoided.
  • Chips, biscuits, dark chocolate, snack bars, and oil-popped popcorn.
  • Mayonnaise, coconut oil, palm seed oil, and unidentified vegetable oils.
  • Meat.
  • Doughnuts, cakes, pastries, French fries, fried or crumbed fish or poultry, spring rolls, and dumplings.
  • The burger, fried chicken, sausage, and chicken wings are popular fast-food items.
  • Egg whites. 6 Foods to Avoid| Researched based study from Overcoming MS


What is the Best Way to Treat Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is no longer a treatable condition. Effective techniques can help change or delay the progression of the disease: 7 Treatment| Researched based study from National MS Society

Taking care of symptoms

  • The signs and symptoms of MS are caused by the interruption of nerve impulses, which vary based on where the injury has occurred. 
  • Symptoms of multiple sclerosis can be effectively treated with a multifaceted treatment strategy that combines medications and rehabilitation techniques.

Giving emotional support

  • Emotional and physical health are also addressed in comprehensive therapy. 
  • In addition to identifying and treating the sadness, anxiety, and other psychological conditions that are frequent with MS, mental health experts offer support and information.
  • Neuropsychologists diagnose and treat cognitive issues. 

Exacerbations must be treated

  • An aggravation of MS is triggered because of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord (CNS), which damages myelin and delays or stops nerve impulse transmission. 
  • Most flare-ups, on the other hand, persist from just a few days to many months or even weeks. 
  • Exacerbations can range from moderate to severe, interfering with a person’s ability to perform both at home and at the workplace. 
  • To minimize inflammation, severe flare-ups are often treated with high-dose steroids.

Rehabilitation to improve function

  • Rehabilitation programs are designed to assist you in enhancing or preserving your capacity to operate successfully and securely at home and work. 
  • Rehabilitation specialists concentrate on general health and energy management, as well as accessibility and mobility issues, speech and swallowing issues, and memory and other mental abilities. 
  • Rehabilitation is a key component of providing complete, high-quality treatment to persons with MS at all phases of the illness. 7 Treatment| Researched based study from National MS Society

How do you stop multiple sclerosis pain?

Drugs are frequently an effective aspect of pain management. Pain patches that give pain relief can also be utilized. Other pharmacological treatments can be given topically to the skin wherever the pain is felt. 8 Treatment | Researched based study from MS Society

Drug treatments for MS pain:

  • Steroids
  • Opioids
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Capsaicin cream
  • Analgesic painkillers

Non-drug treatments for MS pain:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Tai chi, Pilates, acupressure, deep relaxation, meditation, or hypnotherapy surgery are examples of alternative and complementary treatments.
  • Physiotherapy
  • Surgeries are typically utilized when other techniques have failed 8 Treatment | Researched based study from MS Society

Healthy Habits

What are the Healthy Habits for Multiple Sclerosis Patients?

Healthy habits that might help your condition are:

Eating a nutritious diet: 

  • Intake of a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruit, whole grains, good fats, and lean protein. 
  • Limit your consumption of added sweets, bad fats, and processed food items as well.

Stress control: 

  • Stress may have physical as well as mental consequences. 
  • It can also disturb sleep.
  • Develop techniques to cope with stress, such as meditation, mindfulness, physical activity, and consulting with a counselor or psychologist.


  • Regular physical activity is important since having multiple sclerosis may lead to muscular weakness, problems with balance, and trouble walking
  • Aerobic exercise, strengthening exercises are all necessary for maintaining overall health.

Avoiding smoking and reducing alcohol consumption: 

  • Smoking and drinking have been related to aggravating MS symptoms and may hasten the disease’s development. 1 Healthy Habits | Researched based study from Cleveland Clinic


Frequently Asked Questions About Multiple Sclerosis

Q. What can MS patients eat?

Foods that could be included by MS patients are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fish and seafood
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Dairy alternatives like soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk
  • Seeds and nuts – Consuming nuts and peanut butter in moderation is advised
  • Egg whites are okay to consume, however, egg yolks must be avoided owing to their high saturated fat content. 6 FAQs| Researched based study from Overcoming MS

Q. How serious is multiple sclerosis?

  • Even though the illness is chronic and fatal, life expectancy might be average or almost normal. 
  • Most persons with MS are energetic and work with little difficulty. 
  • However, because of advancements in therapy, the majority of individuals with MS will be able to live full, functioning, and active lives. 
  • Taking action to maintain your well-being and way of life can help you get better long-term results. 
  • Between episodes, most persons recover back to their normal or near-normal function. 
  • The loss of function worsens over time, with fewer improvements between bouts. 2 FAQs| Researched based study from Johns Hopkins Medicine

Q. Can I live on my own with MS?

  • While there may be a lot for women to consider when diagnosed with MS it can be a scary illness for anyone, especially women.
  • But with appropriate treatment people with MS are becoming more capable of living healthy and happy lives. 9 FAQs | Researched based study from Penn Medicine


Multiple Sclerosis: Follow Appropriate Treatment

Multiple sclerosis is a central nervous system illness that affects the brain, the spinal cord, and optic nerves. These kinds of attacks cause inflammation as well as harm to your nerve cells’ myelin sheath, which covers and protects them. Some folks may just be slightly impacted. Others may lose their ability to see properly, write well, talk clearly, or move. Early symptoms may include eye issues, difficulty walking, and tingling sensations. People are affected differently by MS. However, typical issues include difficulty moving and thinking, as well as urinary and bowel incontinence. Medications and rehabilitation can assist in maintaining or restoring function. 2 Conclusion| Researched based study from Johns Hopkins Medicine

Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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