Managing your life with MS isn't just about dealing with the symptoms you have right now. It's about thinking through what could happen in future -- the possible effects on your job, family, and finances -- and preparing for them.
Even if your symptoms are mild, planning can make you feel better and be more confident in your future.
"It's not bad luck to think about what you might do if your symptoms got worse," says Rosalind Kalb, PhD, a clinical psychologist and vice president of clinical care...
Whether you have a diagnosis or are worried about symptoms, know that MS doesn't have to control your life. You can work with your doctor to treat and manage your symptoms so you can stay healthy and continue to live the life you want.
No two people have exactly the same symptoms of MS.
You may have a single symptom, and then go months or years without any others. A problem can also happen just one time, go away, and never return. For some people, the symptoms become worse within weeks or months.
Common Symptoms of MS
These are the most common changes to the mind and body in someone with MS:
Unusual sensations: People with MS often say they feel a "pins and needles" sensation. They may also have numbness, itching, burning, stabbing, or tearing pains. About half of people with MS have these uncomfortable symptoms. Fortunately, they can be managed or treated.
Bladder problems: About 8 in 10 people have bladder problems, which can be treated. You may need to pee often, urgently, need to go at night, or have trouble emptying your bladder fully. Bowel problems, especially constipation, are also common.
Trouble walking: MS can cause muscle weakness or spasms, which make it harder to walk. Balance problems, numb feet, and fatigue can also make walking hard.
Dizziness: It's common to feel dizzy or lightheaded. You usually won't have vertigo, or the feeling that the room is spinning.
Fatigue: About 8 in 10 people feel very tired. It often comes on in the afternoon and causes weak muscles, slowed thinking, or sleepiness. It's usually not related to the amount of work you do. Some people with MS say they can feel tired even after a good night's sleep.