Medical News Today: Signs and symptoms of MS in women

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that interferes with the flow of information in the central nervous system. It causes a variety of symptoms and can affect women differently than men.

Researchers do not know what triggers multiple sclerosis (MS). Once it develops, the disease causes the immune system to destroy a type of tissue called myelin that insulates nerve fibers.

Without enough myelin, it is difficult for the nerves to transmit and receive signals properly.

MS randomly affects nerves in the brain, spinal cord, and eyes, meaning that it can cause a wide range of unpredictable physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that vary from person to person.

In this article, we discuss some of the most common symptoms of MS and explain why women might experience symptoms somewhat differently. We also cover diagnosis and treatment.

Effects on the body MS <br>Image credit: Stephen Kelly, 2019</br>
Image credit: Stephen Kelly, 2019

MS in women

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), at least two or three times more women than men receive a diagnosis of MS.

Overall, MS seems to affect men and women similarly. However, a doctor cannot predict which symptoms someone with MS will get, the severity of the symptoms, or the progression of the disease.

The reason for this is that the disease attacks the myelin randomly, and the nerves that it affects can differ from person to person.

Although men and women with MS often experience similar symptoms, certain factors, such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, may influence MS symptoms in women.

Symptoms of MS in women

The symptoms of MS in women are similar to those in men, but they can include additional issues due to hormonal changes.

MS can also affect female sexual health and bladder function differently.

MS symptoms in women include:

1. Vision problems

For many people, a vision problem is the first noticeable symptom of MS.

MS can cause various vision problems, which include:

  • blurred vision
  • poor color vision or contrast vision
  • painful eye movement
  • blindness in one eye
  • a dark spot in the field of vision

People with MS develop vision problems either because their optic nerves become inflamed or because they have nerve damage in the pathways that control visual coordination and eye movement.

While vision problems due to MS can be scary, most either resolve without treatment or are highly treatable.

2. Numbness

Numbness in the face, body, arms, or legs is another common symptom of MS, and it is often one of the earliest symptoms of the condition.

The numbness can range from mild and barely noticeable to severe enough that it interferes with everyday activities, such as holding objects and walking.

Most periods of numbness from MS resolve without medication and do not become permanently disabling.

3. Fatigue

woman asleep on the sofa due to fatigue which is an MS symptom
Fatigue is a common symptom of MS.

About 80 percent of people with MS experience fatigue or unexplained exhaustion.

Sometimes, the cause of fatigue relates to another symptom of MS. For example, people with bladder dysfunction may sleep poorly because they have to wake throughout the night to go to the bathroom.

People with MS who have nocturnal muscle spasms may not sleep well, leaving them feeling tired during the day. MS can also increase the risk of depression, which can cause fatigue.

Another type of fatigue that seems to be unique to MS is called lassitude. A person’s fatigue may be lassitude if it:

  • occurs daily
  • worsens as the day goes on
  • happens in the morning, even after a good sleep
  • worsens with heat or humidity
  • interferes with daily activity
  • is unrelated to physical impairments or depression

4. Bladder problems

Bladder problems affect at least 80 percent of people with MS. These issues occur when scars on the nerves impair nerve signaling that is necessary for the function of the urinary sphincters and bladder.

MS can make it difficult for the bladder to hold urine and may reduce the amount that it can store, causing symptoms such as:

  • more frequent or urgent urination
  • hesitancy starting urination
  • frequent overnight urination
  • being unable to empty the bladder
  • being unable to hold urine or having urine leaks

5. Bowel problems

Many people with MS experience bowel problems, such as:

Bowel problems can make other MS symptoms worse, especially bladder problems, muscle stiffness, and involuntary muscle spasms.

Researchers think that people with MS have problems controlling their bowels because of the neurological damage that the condition causes. Some people with MS may also have trouble controlling their bowels when they are constipated.

6. Pain

Some research suggests that 55 percent of people with MS experience clinically significant pain, while 48 percent live with chronic pain. Women with MS may be more likely than men to experience pain as a symptom of this condition.

Acute MS pain seems to be due to problems with the nerves that help transmit sensations in the central nervous system.

Some of the acute pain symptoms that have an association with MS include:

  • Trigeminal neuralgia, a stabbing pain in the face that people may confuse with dental pain.
  • Lhermitte’s sign, a short sensation resembling an electric shock that moves from the back of the head down the neck and spine, usually after bending forward.
  • The MS hug, a stabbing, squeezing, painful, or burning sensation around the torso or in the legs, feet, or arms.

Some of the symptoms that people with chronic MS pain may report include:

  • burning
  • aching
  • pins and needles
  • prickling

Many people with MS also experience chronic pain as a secondary effect of the condition. For example, it could be due to:

  • compensating for gait changes
  • muscle stiffness, cramps, and spasms
  • incorrect use of mobility aids
  • muscle changes from mobility loss

7. Cognitive changes

More than 50 percent of people with MS experience changes in cognition, which means that they may sometimes have trouble:

  • processing new information
  • learning and remembering new information
  • organizing information and problem-solving
  • focusing and maintaining attention
  • properly perceiving the environment around them
  • understanding and using language
  • doing calculations

The cognitive symptoms of MS are typically mild to moderate and only affect a few aspects of cognition.

In rare cases, people with MS may experience disabling cognitive problems.

8. Depression

support network
For people with MS, clinical depression is a common symptom.

Clinical depression is one of the most common symptoms of MS. Depression is more common in people with MS than in people with other chronic health conditions.

While almost everyone experiences periods of sadness or grief, clinical depression refers to depressive symptoms that last for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Some of the symptoms of clinical depression include:

  • loss of interest in everyday activities
  • increase in appetite or appetite loss
  • sadness
  • irritability
  • insomnia or excessive sleep
  • fatigue
  • feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • behavioral changes
  • thoughts of death or suicide

Clinical depression can also worsen other MS symptoms, including:

  • fatigue
  • pain
  • cognitive changes

9. Muscle weakness

Many people with MS experience muscle weakness. This symptom is due to damage to the nerve fibers that help control muscles.

People with MS may also experience muscle weakness because a lack of use has led their muscles to become deconditioned over time.

MS-related muscle weakness can affect any part of the body. It can be especially challenging for people with MS to walk and stay mobile when muscle weakness affects their legs, ankles, and feet.

10. Muscle stiffness and spasms

MS can cause spasticity, which is muscle stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms in the extremities, especially the legs.

Some of the signs and symptoms of spasticity include:

  • tightness in or around the joints
  • painful, uncontrollable spasms in the arms and legs
  • lower back pain
  • hips and knees that bend and become difficult to straighten
  • hips and knees that stiffen while close together or crossed

11. Dizziness and vertigo

Some people with MS experience dizziness and the sensation of being lightheaded, woozy, weak, or faint.

Less commonly, they experience vertigo, which makes it feel as though a person or their surroundings are spinning.

MS may cause vertigo by damaging the pathways that coordinate the spatial, visual, and sensory input that the brain needs to maintain balance in the body.

The symptoms of vertigo include:

  • balance problems
  • motion sickness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • being lightheaded
  • a spinning sensation

12. Sexual problems

People with MS often experience sexual problems and may find it difficult to get aroused or have an orgasm.

MS may reduce natural vaginal lubrication, potentially making sexual intercourse painful for women.

The disease can also cause sexual problems by damaging nerves in the sexual response pathways that connect the brain and the sexual organs.

People with MS can also experience issues with sex as a result of other MS symptoms, such as:

  • muscle spasms and stiffness
  • mood or self-esteem changes
  • fatigue

13. Emotional changes

MS can cause a wide range of emotional symptoms and changes, including:

  • mood swings
  • periods of uncontrollable laughter or crying
  • irritability
  • grief
  • worry, fear, and anxiety
  • distress, anger, or frustration

The condition is unpredictable, often has fluctuating symptoms, and can become disabling, all of which can be scary for someone.

MS can also cause emotional changes by damaging the nerve fibers in the brain. Some of the medications that people take to manage MS can cause mood changes too.

For example, corticosteroids can have many emotional side effects, including:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • agitation
  • tearfulness
  • restlessness
  • fear

14. Difficulty walking

People with MS can develop problems with gait, or how they walk, because of several factors. MS symptoms that affect how a person walks include:

  • muscle stiffness and spasms
  • numbness or other sensory problems in the hips, legs, ankles, or feet
  • fatigue
  • muscle weakness
  • loss of balance

15. Hormonal effects

There is some evidence to suggest that MS can affect women differently than men due to hormonal changes, including those that occur during:


More research is necessary to draw firm conclusions, but the NMSS state that some studies have found that women with MS have worse symptoms within a week of starting their period.

Studies that used an MRI have also shown that MS disease activity may change according to the different hormonal levels during menstruation.


Pregnancy can reduce the risk of MS symptom flare-ups, especially during the second and third trimesters.

Researchers think that pregnancy has a protective effect against MS by raising the levels of compounds that help reduce inflammation and the effects of the disease.

Women who are pregnant also have naturally higher levels of circulating corticosteroids, another type of immunosuppressant.

Although pregnancy can temporarily reduce some MS symptoms, flare-ups tend to return in the first 3 to 6 months postpartum. However, in the long term, there is no proven link between pregnancy and a higher risk of disability.

While being pregnant can temporarily reduce the risk of flare-ups, pregnancy also puts a lot of physical stress on the body, which can make certain symptoms of MS worse.

In addition, some of the medications that people use for MS are not safe to take during pregnancy and can worsen symptoms.

Anyone with MS who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss their medications with their doctor.

Some MS symptoms that pregnancy often exacerbates include:

  • fatigue
  • gait problems
  • bladder and bowel problems


MS symptoms may worsen after menopause, possibly because declining estrogen levels adversely affect disease progression.

However, it is difficult to tell whether MS symptoms worsen because of menopause or just as a natural result of aging or the progression of the condition.

Much more research is necessary to understand the relationship between menopause and MS symptoms.

Rarer symptoms

While the symptoms above are the most common, MS affects everyone differently. Less common symptoms of MS include:


MS is an autoimmune disease that randomly affects parts of the central nervous system, resulting in unpredictable physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms.

Although MS tends to affect more women than men, it usually causes similar symptoms. However, women may experience variations in their symptoms due to hormonal changes, such as those that take place during menstruation or menopause.

Vision problems and random localized numbness are often the first symptoms of the condition. Depression, bladder problems, cognitive changes, and pain are also among the most common symptoms of MS.

There is no cure for MS, but different drugs and complementary therapies can typically help manage symptoms or even slow the progression of the condition.

Anyone experiencing concerning symptoms should see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Medical News Today: What to know about genital warts in women

Genital warts are a very common sexually transmitted infection. They can develop on or around the genitals and may appear as small bumps or fleshy growths.

These warts result from infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). People who have the virus can pass it on through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Genital warts can cause discomfort, but they do not lead to other health problems and are not cancerous.

A doctor can prescribe treatments for relieving symptoms, and they can also remove the warts.

In this article, we investigate the symptoms, causes, and risk factors of genital warts in the female body.

We also describe diagnosis, treatment, complications, and prevention.


Anyone can get genital warts. In females, genital warts can develop in or around the:

  • vagina
  • vulva
  • cervix
  • anus
  • groin region and upper thighs

Because the virus can spread through oral sex, warts can also appear on the lips, mouth, and throat.

Genital warts tend to look like small, fleshy bumps or growths. The number of warts can vary, and clusters may develop in a formation that resembles a cauliflower.

Genital warts are usually the same color as the person’s skin or slightly darker. The bumps may be smooth or rough. Also, they can be too small to notice.

Often, genital warts do not cause symptoms. However, they can occur with:

  • itching
  • burning
  • tenderness or pain
  • bleeding



Genital warts result from infection with HPV. This is a type of sexually transmitted infection (STI).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is the most common STI in the United States.

It affects around 79 million people in the country, mostly adults under the age of 30. There are around 14 million new HPV infections each year in the U.S.

A person with an HPV infection can pass on the virus through:

  • vaginal, anal, and oral sex
  • skin-to-skin genital contact
  • childbirth

Genital warts do not always appear immediately after a person becomes infected — they can take months or even years to develop.

The CDC note that most people fight off the virus without treatment and that, in this case, it does not cause any health problems. Once the virus goes, a person can no longer pass it on.

There are many different types of HPV. The type of HPV that causes genital warts does not cause cancer.

Risk factors

Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of an HPV infection.

Other risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • having a weakened immune system
  • being under the age of 30

When to see a doctor

When a person notices that they have genital warts, they should see a healthcare professional, for example at a sexual health clinic.

Sometimes genital warts clear up on their own over time. However, getting treatment can reduce the risk of transmission and help ease uncomfortable symptoms, such as itching and pain.


Healthcare professionals usually diagnose genital warts with a physical examination. To see the warts better, they may use a colposcope or apply a vinegar solution to the genital area, if the warts are not visible to the naked eye.

A healthcare professional may also take a small sample of a visible wart and send it for analysis. This testing can help confirm the diagnosis.


Female patient listening to woman doctor in office
A doctor may prescribe topical treatments for the symptoms of HPV.

There is currently no treatment for HPV. A person’s immune system often fights off the virus over time.

If genital warts are causing discomfort or distress, a doctor can prescribe treatments to relieve symptoms or remove the warts. This treatment can also help reduce the risk of passing on the infection to other people.

Topical treatments for genital warts include:

  • podofilox
  • imiquimod
  • podophyllin
  • trichloroacetic acid

For people with larger or more difficult-to-treat warts, the doctor may recommend removing them. The following are some removal methods:

  • Cryotherapy. This involves freezing off the warts with liquid nitrogen. Cryotherapy may cause a burning sensation, as well as pain and blistering.
  • Surgical excision. This involves a doctor cutting away the warts. Before the procedure, they will give the person a local anesthetic to numb the area.
  • Electrocautery. This involves a doctor burning the warts off the skin with an electrical device. A person may require a local or general anesthetic.
  • Laser therapy. In this procedure, a surgeon uses a powerful beam of light to destroy the warts. It can cause pain and irritation afterward.

It is important not to use treatments for other types of warts on genital warts. Doing so can make symptoms worse.

Removing genital warts does not get rid of the HPV infection. They may return after treatment and a person can still pass on the virus.

Also, wearing a condom during sex can help lower the risk of transmission but does not completely prevent it.


There are over 100 different types of HPV. The types that cause genital warts do not cause cancer. Even if a person does not receive treatment for their genital warts, the warts will not become cancerous.

However, a person can have more than one type of HPV infection at a time, and at least 14 types can cause cancer, including cervical cancer.

When a female has genital warts, a doctor may suggest screening for signs of cervical cancer or high-risk types of HPV.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all females:

  • aged 21–29 years have a cervical screening, also known as a Pap smear or smear test, every 3 years
  • aged 30–65 years have a Pap smear every 3 years, or a Pap smear plus an HPV test every 5 years

If a Pap smear gives an unclear or abnormal result, it does not mean that a person has cancer. The doctor will carry out additional tests to look for any changes in the cells of the cervix.

Pregnant women with a past history of genital warts should inform their healthcare providers. This is unlikely to cause any pregnancy complications or affect the baby.

Also, having genital warts during pregnancy can make the delivery more difficult.


Wearing a condom during sex lowers the risk of getting genital warts. However, a condom does not cover the whole genital area and so may not completely protect against HPV transmission.

Other methods of birth control do not protect against genital warts. It is important for people to tell their sexual partners if they have these warts.

Getting an HPV vaccination can also help protect against the types of the virus that can cause genital warts or cervical cancer.

The CDC recommend HPV vaccination for all children at 11 or 12 years of age and for all females aged 13–26 years.

According to the Office on Women’s Health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved the HPV vaccine for people aged 9–45 years.

Anyone with any severe allergies or an allergy to yeast should consult their doctor before getting the vaccine.

The CDC do not recommend the HPV vaccine for women who are pregnant.

Stopping smoking can also lower the risk of getting genital warts.


Infection with some types of HPV can cause genital warts. These can form in or around the vulva, vagina, or cervix.

The warts may appear on their own or in cauliflower-like clusters. They can cause itching, tenderness, or a burning sensation.

Genital warts are generally harmless and are not cancerous. The types of HPV that cause genital warts do not cause cervical cancer.

Although there is no treatment for the virus, a doctor can prescribe medications to relieve symptoms. They can also remove the warts. For large or difficult-to-treat warts, a doctor may recommend surgical removal.

A person can pass on HPV through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Wearing a condom during sex can help reduce the risk of getting and spreading genital warts. HPV vaccination can also protect against genital warts and cervical cancer.

Spirited Gifts for Inspirational Women

This Friday, March 8th is International Women’s Day! Here at GiftTree we’re big supporters of this holiday, and have the Women’s Day gifts to prove it. But first, here’s a little about the history of IWD. Even though the holiday was made “official” by the United Nations in 1975, the first IWD was declared in the US in 1909. In the turn of the 19th century, women’s oppression and inequality was inspiring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. (Source)

International Women’s Day Today

Today, the world has indeed seen progress toward equality for women, but there is still work to do. Women are not paid equally to their male counterparts. They’re not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Globally, women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, we have female astronauts and prime ministers, girls are welcomed to universities, it’s possible for women to have careers and families. Women have real choices. And so, each year on International Women’s Day, the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements.

Celebrate the strong, inspiring and successful women in your life with a gift! Here are some great Women’s Day gift ideas.

 Keepsakes, Flowers & Gifts to Pamper Her

Bath & Body Invigoration

Artisan Sand Inlet Cuff

Posh Pinks Engraved Keepsake Tray

Chocolate, Fruit, Wine & Champagne

Bountiful Cellar

Champagne & Chocolate

Fresh Fruit & Godiva

Generous Gourmet Chocolate & Nuts

Comment Below

Who is the most inspirational woman in your life?


Thyroid Symptoms In Women: Signs, Causes & Treatment

Everything you need to know about Thyroid disorders in women. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism symptoms, causes and treatments. #Hypothyroidism #Hyperthyroidism #ThyroidSymptomsInWomen Music: Summary: What Is Hypothyroidism: According to the Mayo Clinic, this disorder means that your thyroid gland is barely…

Everything you need to know about Thyroid disorders in women. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism symptoms, causes and treatments.

#Hypothyroidism #Hyperthyroidism #ThyroidSymptomsInWomen


What Is Hypothyroidism: According to the Mayo Clinic, this disorder means that your thyroid gland is barely active and there is not enough of the thyroid hormone in the blood. Hypothyroidism is also called underactive thyroid or low thyroid, and is classified as a disorder of the endocrine system in a person’s thyroid gland. It occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This results in a number of different symptoms. The symptoms can vary from person to person, but one clear signal is the ability to lose weight.

Hyperthyroidism: This thyroid disorder is the total opposite of hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism means that there is too much thyroid hormone in the blood, says WebMD. Also different is how it affects the metabolism, unlike hypothyroidism this disorder speeds up the metabolism.

Cause of Thyroid Disorders: The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disorder and the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It causes antibodies to stimulate a person’s thyroid, making it secrete excess amounts of the hormone. Graves’ disease is much more common among women than it is in men, and is usually genetic. Other causes of hyperthyroidism are tumors in the ovaries, benign tumors of the thyroid or pituitary gland, excess iodine, large amount of tetraiodothyronine which are taken through medication or supplements, and more.

How to Detect and Treat These Disorders: If you or someone you know is developing symptoms that were mentioned above, doctors will conduct blood work to confirm if the thyroid hormones are within range. The Mayo Clinic explains that the treatment for thyroid disorders normally includes the prescription of a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine. Also, anti-thyroid drugs that block production of your own thyroid hormones may also be used.

Most symptoms associated with thyroid disorders are very slow and gradual. You may not notice the symptoms at first. This is why it is important to monitor your health, and the moment you start to notice symptoms like extreme fatigue, excessive weight gain or loss, dry skin, puffy eyes, and / or a pale face, consult with your doctor to rule out any thyroid disorders. If you are diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, your doctor will put you on a course of treatment to minimize your symptoms.

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