Multiple Sclerosis/MS or Anxiety

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Question
Hello,

I recently have had a few problems with co ordination when walking after what was thought to be an ear problem that occured after having a bad cold at Christmas. I have feelings of a blocked ear despite the tests saying fluid in the ear is not affecting the workings of eardrum movement.  My ENT tells me he can do more tests for my balance issue which is rather on going, but if nothing shows up he will refer me to neurology.

I have had an MRI which was normal ( without contrast).  I have suffered anxiety in the past, so there is some history there, and in the last year developed " vulvodynia" after an operation, which I believe to be a nerve problem.  I am worried about my on going un co ordination problem and am starting to think about MS....really only because the ENT said this is the next move.  I would not have considered it before ie not been previously thinking I had this.  I have some visual problems that I can only describe as sometimes its as if Im looking through a glass window pane.  I can see, but it's distant and a bit foggy, generally worse in my right eye.  I have had strange sight problems of things almost being 'too close".  Also on a few occasions when going to sleep, I shut my eyes and I see pictures flicking quickly like turning pages of a book fast. I often feel shaky inside, and when walking feel slightly un co ordinated ( drunk like) and stagger a bit. I have muscle tension, maybe due to trying to balance or stress Im not sure.  I have had some dizzy spells, which was initially thought to be connected to the possible ear problem.

How can I separate possible MS symptoms from anxiety or ear problems?  Is there any way to define differences?  I do not really have tingling in extremities but I do have a 'cold feeling" in my ear, and obviously nerve pain in my groin, and other strange symptoms.  Can you help at all?  Would a MRI used to look for tumours show up anything like MS symptoms?  Do symptoms of MS come in brief episodes or last months?  I have had these symptoms on and off for 6 months now.  Thank you for your time.  Best Wishes.

Answer
Hello Lou,

While MS has the potential to cause several different symptoms, the specific symptoms each person experiences vary greatly.  When experiencing one or more of these symptoms, an individual should consult his or her physician, medications are available to treat many MS symptoms.  These may include over the counter drugs as well as prescribed medications.  Diet and exercise may also be helpful with managing certain symptoms.  All treatments or changes in diet or exercise should only be done under the guidance of a qualified physician.  

MS symptoms are often compounded by extreme fatigue which may be worse in the afternoon, sometimes relating to a rise in body temperature.  Some symptoms may be temporarily increased by heat intolerance, a classic MS tendency, where a rise in temperature causes a person to feel much worse.  Keeping cool through air conditioning or various cooling devices may be helpful for people with heat sensitive MS.  

Contacting your physician and requesting an MRI is an excellent idea.  Also, tell your physician your concerns and describe in detail how you are feeling.  You might take some notes as to the date and the symptom you are experiencing to have readily available during your next appointment with your physician.  

Common symptoms of MS are anxiety, balance, bladder dysfunction, bowel problems, cognitive changes, depression, dizziness, fatigue, mobility and walking issues, numbness, pain, sexual dysfunction, sleep issues, stiffness, speech difficulties, swallowing disorders, tremor, visual disorders, and weakness.  

I hope this information is helpful to you.  

Kindness regards,

Marlene

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Multiple Sclerosis

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Marlene McDaniel

Expertise

I was diagnosed with M/S in 2005. Since that time, I have read numerous books on all aspects of this disease/illness. I can give good advice on how to handle being diagnosed, the emotional effects this illness/disease has on a person, the ups & downs of this illness/disease and what to expect from family members and friends in regard to this illness/disease.

Experience

Diagnosed with M/S in 2005. Read numerous books on this illness/disease. Have attended many support group functions through the M/S Foundation. Currently an Ambassador for the State of California with the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

Organizations
Currently an Ambassador for the State of California with the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Author for various M/S Foundation articles.

Publications
Various articles for the M/S Foundation.

Education/Credentials
AS Degree in Law Enforcement. Received a Certificate/Diploma from Heald Business College in 1978. High School Diploma in 1976.

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