Early Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms
What are the early signs of MS?
Multiple sclerosis symptoms are unpredictable and can change or fluctuate over time. It is important to note that no two patients have the same experience with MS, so symptoms may appear different from one person to the next. The most common MS symptoms tend to indicate early signs of MS.
At what age does MS usually start?
People of any age can develop MS. However, people with MS tend to have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40.
Most of the signs and symptoms of MS below can be managed effectively with rehabilitation, medication and other strategies.
Most Common Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis can include:
- Fatigue may be the most prominent MS symptom.
- Numbness of the face, extremities or body is often the first symptom of MS.
- Pain is common in MS, with around 55% of people with MS citing chronic pain.
- Walking, balance and coordination problems can be helped by physical therapy and medications.
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction occurs in 80% of people with MS but can be managed successfully with medications and catheterization.
- Vision problems can present as blurred vision, poor contrast, pain, optic neuritis or other impairments.
- Dizziness and vertigo make people with MS feel lightheaded or unbalanced with a spinning sensation.
- Sexual dysfunction occurs due to damage in the central nervous system, as well as psychological factors and spasticity.
- Cognitive dysfunction includes problems processing information, learning new information, problem-solving, focusing and understanding the environment.
- Emotional changes can include mood swings, anxiety, laughter, crying or irritability.
- Depression is among the most common symptoms of MS and is more common with MS than in the general population.
- Spasticity includes muscle spasms in the limbs, most commonly the legs. Spasticity also refers to a feeling of stiffness.
Less Common Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
- Speech disorders, include slurring and dysphonia, occur later in the course of the disease.
- Swallowing problems, or dysphagia, occur due to damaged nerves in the mouth and throat.
- Hearing loss affects about 6% of people who have MS.
- Seizures have been reported in 2–5% of people with MS. Seizures are estimated to affect 3% of the general populations.
- Tremors and uncontrollable shaking can occur in various parts of the body due to damaged nerves.
- Breathing problems affect people who have weakened chest muscles due to MS.
MS Institute Information and Appointments
At Shepherd Center, multiple sclerosis treatment is specific to the individual’s needs and goals. Submit a request for more information about the MS Institute at Shepherd Center to learn about our MS treatment and services.
Call us directly to get specific information, schedule an appointment, or plan a visit:
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
New patients may also download a form, complete it and follow the instructions on the form for submitting it to the MS Institute.