Unfortunately, because there is no single test for multiple sclerosis, the diagnosis can be overlooked, delayed, or even inaccurate, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. However, information is difficult and, if used well, it can diagnose this disease at a very early stage. Knowing the symptoms of multiple sclerosis in women can help you take action and be prepared by realizing something is not right.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a central nervous system disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. According to the National Institutes of Health, MS mainly blocks messages flowing between the brain and body, often causing vision problems, muscle weakness, coordination problems, numbness, and thinking or memory problems. Worldwide, there are 2.3 million people with MS, according to the National MS Society. There is no cure for the disease, but treatments and disease-modifying treatments can slow or delay the progression of symptoms.
While 15 years may seem like a long time to go undiagnosed, this is entirely possible because MS symptoms can be difficult to detect. According to neurologists at NYU Langone’s Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center, most of the symptoms are non-specific, meaning that many symptoms are not only seen in MS patients. However, if one or more of the symptoms that can be common with other diseases are seen, it is necessary to see a specialist at an early stage. In this article, there is information about Ms disease, which is common with other diseases in women, and its symptoms.
In the diagnosis of Ms disease, there are some symptoms that may be common with other diseases, but will aid early diagnosis for Ms. These symptoms can be listed as follows;
Normally, there is a tingling sensation like a needle sticking only when you put pressure on the leg for too long and temporarily cut off blood flow. However, if the arms, legs, hands or feet are numb, a burning sensation is experienced, or tingling is noticed anywhere, this may be a sign of Ms.
Chronic fatigue: On days that do not coincide with the menstrual period, fatigue may be experienced for some reasons. However, sudden bouts of fatigue that last for weeks and impair the ability to function normally on a daily basis may be an indication that MS is destroying nerves and fibers in the spine.
Fatigue: In MS patients, their fatigue is high, which makes even simple tasks difficult. Often the state of fatigue is disproportionate to activity, does not relax with sleep, and worsens with excessive exercise.
Menstrual irregularity and cessation: A disease that affects the immune system, including multiple sclerosis, can cause amenorrhea or its loss. It is not important to miss a menstrual period every once in a while, as everything from stress to travel and flu can temporarily affect the reproductive system. However, if the menstrual cycle passes for more than three months in a row or if the menstrual cycle becomes irregular, it is necessary to consult a specialist.
Difficulty swallowing and speaking: Problems with speech and swallowing typically coexist, according to the National MS Society. (their medical names are actually dysphagia and dysarthria). When it comes to speaking, damaged areas of the brain can affect speech patterns and cause your voice to be hoarse or more nasal. The brain also largely controls swallowing (tbh, the brain controls almost everything), and failure to swallow properly could certainly be a sign of MS disease.
Loss of balance: It is normal to have loss of balance and clumsiness in some periods. However, Ms People often think their balance is bad. However, weakness in one or both limbs can be a sign of a problem with motor nerves.In this case, loss of balance, stumbling, or frequent falls for no reason, this may be a sign of Ms and a specialist should be seen.
Mood changes: About 60 percent or more of those diagnosed with MS experience some form of cognitive or emotional distress, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Association. MS patients may suffer from memory impairment, difficulty with depression, irritability, sudden mood swings, and uncontrollable episodes of crying or laughter.
Sensory problems: Sensory problems are an odd but common sign of multiple sclerosis. Patients often report that their body feels different from one part to another, at a sensory level. For example, when they put on their shirts, they feel a different way of slipping over their chest than when they are sliding over their stomachs. Half of people diagnosed with MS have chronic pain, often accompanied by involuntary spasms, unexplained weakness, or muscle stiffness. It is often described as heaviness or the limb feels worn out. While the legs are often the first limb to bear the burden of muscle pain, the back is also a typical problem area.
Difficulty in distinguishing colors: If people who previously had a good eye for distinguishing colors see a decrease in these abilities, this may be a sign of Ms. This is called optic neuritis and is caused by loss of insulation around the optic nerves in the brain; this is one of the primary symptoms of multiple sclerosis
Blindness: MS can also present as partial blindness, color blindness, blind spots, or blindness in just one eye. Some people describe it as looking at a smudged contact lens or looking through a screen or water. It may also be associated with pain or pulling sensation during eye movement. The onset of MS-related vision problems is usually slow because the deterioration of the eyes occurs over time. Optic neuritis can also occur on its own, not necessarily associated with multiple sclerosis, as a result of an infection, a vitamin deficiency, or other autoimmune diseases.
Forgetfulness: Early onset Alzheimer’s disease may be suspected if there are signs of forgetfulness, such as forgetting the birthday of your closest loved one or friend, losing keys five times a week, and rinsing the same clean laundry twice. However, Alzheimer’s is extremely rare in young women. In addition, short-term memory or other cognitive problems may be MS symptoms in women.
Excessive urination: There may be different reasons for urinating. However, after other causes have been excluded, especially if there is still frequent urination, this may be the hallmark of multiple sclerosis. However, any major change in urinary frequency can be a symptom of MS in women and is often the way people are diagnosed, and sometimes the other way around. Sometimes even waking up with the urge to urinate at night can be seen. Dysfunctional bathing habits and bowel problems occur in about 80 percent of people with MS, and urinary incontinence is often accompanied by constipation, diarrhea, and uncontrollable bowel movements.
Dizziness and nausea: One of the earliest symptoms of MS in women is extreme dizziness or lightheadedness caused by nerve damage that damages the motor, sensory, and coordination systems. This may cause the person to be confused, unsteady, dizzy, and even nauseous.
Losing fine motor skills: One of the first things that is often observed in MS patients is the inability to text, use a cell phone or tablet, or perform other movements that require fine motor control. As multiple sclerosis progresses, it can cause lesions or areas of damage to the nervous system. If a lesion occurs in the back of the brain, it can damage your dexterity.
Difficulty in sexual arousal: Sexual arousal begins in the central nervous system, so the brain must send messages to stimulate and stimulate the genitals. But in MS, because the brain-body connection is not working properly, it may not receive the message that the body is ready to act, according to the National MS Society. Sexual problems are actually quite common among women with MS, with 72 percent of female patients affected by sexual problems, including vaginal dryness along with decreased sensation (or painfully increased sensations) in the vaginal or clitoral area.
Inability to distinguish between hot and cold: It has been stated that the inability to sense temperature changes when touched is another symptom of MS-induced nerve damage. It is often beneficial for those who experience this condition to see a specialist.
Multiple sclerosis is considered one of the ‘great masked diseases’ along with lupus because its symptoms can very easily be mistaken for other causes or illnesses. No two patients may show the same symptoms, as symptoms depend entirely on which nerves are affected. For many women, this means that they only get the correct diagnosis of MS after their doctor dismisses everything else. Fortunately, an MRI scan can detect obvious “lesions” of the disease, so don’t hesitate to get tested for it.
Writer: Ozlem Guvenc Agaoglu