Many people with multiple sclerosis experience bowel problems. One of the possible problems is constipation, when hard stools (poo or faeces) are passed less than three times a week.
There are many successful approaches to managing constipation and straightforward lifestyle changes to diet and exercise can make a real difference. There are also a variety of treatment options available and health professionals, including your MS specialist nurse, GP and continence services can work with you to find the ones that are right for you.
Multiple sclerosis can affect vision in several ways. Problems with sight can be an early symptom of MS.
Difficulty swallowing (also known as dysphagia) is a possible symptom of multiple sclerosis. Support is available to help manage the effects of swallowing problems.
Problems with how you speak can be a symptom of multiple sclerosis for some people. MS speech disorders include slurring of speech and problems with the quality of your voice (dysarthria) and difficulty remembering specific words (dysphasia).
A speech and language therapist may be involved in helping you cope with speech problems.
Foot drop, or dropped foot, is a symptom of multiple sclerosis caused by weakness in the ankle or disruption in the nerve pathway between the legs and the brain. This disruption means it is difficult to lift the front of the foot to the correct angle during walking. As a result, the foot hangs down and may catch or drag along the ground and can cause trips and falls.
Poor sleep is common in people with multiple sclerosis, with about 50% of people with MS reported to experience some form of sleep disturbance. Despite this being well known, sleep disorders are under-diagnosed and under-treated in people with MS.
Some people with multiple sclerosis find that they experience sudden episodes of uncontrollable laughing and/or crying at inappropriate times, or which are unrelated, or out of proportion, to their current mood.
This can happen if MS lesions have occurred in the areas of the brain that control your emotions. These excessive emotional symptoms are known by a number of names including:
Sexual difficulties are common in women with MS. Not all sexual problems will be as a direct result of multiple sclerosis and often result from a complex interaction of physical, social, psychological and emotional elements.
You may find it awkward or embarrassing to talk about sex, but there is support available. The key element in managing sexual issues is the willingness to discuss problems.