Unusual Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Aug 2, 2013 (updated Jul 3, 2014)
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Most people associate multiple sclerosis with such symptoms as loss of mobility, fatigue, and problems with speech. But there are other, less commons symptoms reported among MS patients, as well. Here are some of these less typical MS symptoms and their possible causes.
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Experts say 25 to 60 percent of MS patients experience tremors. These tremors often affect a limb, but some patients have also reported them in the head, torso, and even the vocal cords. Researchers say this symptom is often accompanied by problems with speech or swallowing, since the same nerves govern all of these activities in the body and damage to them can lead to many of these issues.
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A type of itching known as dysesthetic itching is sometimes seen in people with MS. This symptom is caused by damage to the nerves in the skin or the nerves that send signals to the skin. This damage makes the skin react with an itching sensation, even if there’s no physical cause for it. People who have dysesthetic itching should talk to their health care provider, since there are now medications approved to treat this problem.
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Around 5 to 6 percent of people with MS will experience hearing loss due to disease activity in the auditory nerve. But experts with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society say that because this symptom is so rare, MS patients who are experiencing hearing loss should see a hearing specialist to see if other factors could be causing the issue.
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The “MS hug”
Some MS patients experience a tight, painful sensation around the stomach or torso that is commonly called the “MS hug.” This symptom is a type of neuropathic pain triggered by a lesion on the spinal cord that causes the tiny muscles between the ribs to go into spasms. Some people say the pain causes them to have difficulty breathing, while others reported the discomfort was severe enough to make them believe they were having a heart attack.
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Damage to the sensory nerves between the brain and one or both eyes can lead to severe eye pain in people with MS. This pain, known as optic neuritis, may get better or worse over the course of the progression of MS, and it is often of the first symptoms people with MS experience. People who experience any pain in their eyes should have this problem checked out immediately by a health care provider.
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An unusual but serious problem that can come with MS is difficulty with swallowing. Like the other atypical symptoms, this issue is caused by damage to the nerves that control this action in the body. People with MS who suffer from this symptom may cough or choke on food or liquids. This can be dangerous because doing so can lead to pneumonia and other lung infections.