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Multiple sclerosis

16 Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

6. Bladder and bowel dysfunction

A dysfunctional bladder is another symptom occurring in up to 80 percent of people with MS. This can include frequent urination, strong urges to urinate, or inability to hold in urine.

Urinary-related symptoms are often manageable. Less often, people with MS experience constipation, diarrhea, or loss of bowel control.

7. Sexual dysfunction

Sexual arousal can also be a problem for people with MS because it begins in the central nervous system — where MS attacks.

8. Cognitive problems

About half of people with MS will develop some kind of issue with their cognitive function. This can include:

  • memory problems
  • shortened attention span
  • language problems
  • difficulty staying organized

Depression and other emotional health problems are also common.

9. Changes in emotional health

Major depression is common among people with MS. The stresses of MS can also cause irritability, mood swings, and a condition called pseudobulbar affect. This involves bouts of uncontrollable crying and laughing.

Coping with MS symptoms, along with relationship or family issues, can make depression and other emotional disorders even more challenging.

10–16. Other symptoms

Not everyone with MS will have the same symptoms. Different symptoms can manifest during relapses or attacks. Along with the symptoms mentioned on the previous slides, MS can also cause:

  • hearing loss
  • seizures
  • uncontrollable shaking
  • breathing problems
  • slurred speech
  • trouble swallowing

Is MS hereditary?

MS isn’t necessarily hereditary. However, you have a higher chance of developing the disease if you have a close relative with MS, according to the National MS Society.

The general population only has 0.1 percent chance of developing MS. But the number jumps to 2.5 to 5 percent if you have a sibling or parent with MS.

Heredity isn’t the only factor in determining MS. An identical twin only has a 25 percent chance of developing MS if their twin has the disease. While genetics is certainly a risk factor, it’s not the only one.

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