George Krucik, MD, MBA
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a condition that affects the central nervous system, consisting of the brain and spinal cord. Since the central nervous system controls the actions and activities of the body, the symptoms of MS can be quite variable. With MS, the myelin that covers nerve fibers in the central nervous system is damaged, which results in a disruption of the messages being sent from the brain to the body. Rashes are typically associated with the medication used to treat MS, and not the disease itself. The symptoms of MS can occur in any part of the body, since the brain and spinal cord are connected to the whole body. However, the National Health Service notes that most individuals with MS have a handful of the possible symptoms, and it is unlikely that one person would have all possible symptoms.
Problems With Vision
Optic neuritis, or swelling of the optic nerve, is the first symptom to present itself in 25 percent of MS cases, reports the National Health Service. Typically, optic neuritis causes pain behind the eye and some loss of vision. Other vision problems can include double vision, eye pain, some color vision disturbance and difficulty focusing.
Muscle spasms, caused by the damage to nerve fibers in the central nervous system, result in muscles spasms, which can be a painful experience for individuals with MS, notes the National Health Service. Muscle spasticity, abnormal sensations, numbness, muscle weakness and muscle tremor are also symptoms associated with MS, according to MedlinePlus. These muscle problems can contribute to the loss of balance or equilibrium, which is a common symptom of MS, and symptoms like difficulty moving arms and legs can also contribute to problems with coordination, often making it walking difficult.
Bladder and Bowel Problems
The symptoms of MS in regards to the bladder and bowel are broad. MS can result in both an overactive and underactive bladder, notes the National Health Service. An underactive bladder means that urination can be difficult to initiate or urine flow may be interrupted. An overactive bladder may contract when it is not full, resulting in frequent urination or bladder incontinence. In addition, it can cause constipation but may also result in bowel incontinence, notes MedlinePlus.
MS and Rashes
Rashes are typically not a symptom associated with MS. Rashes are not listed in the common symptomatology of MS from credible health information sources like MedlinePlus and the National Health Service. However, some medications used to treat MS have possible side effects that include skin rashes. For example, amantadine, sold as Symadine or Symmetrel, is an antiviral drug used to alleviate the fatigue caused by MS. Although this drug is generally well tolerated, common side effects include blotchy rashes, notes the website All About Multiple Sclerosis. Drugs used to treat other aspects of MS are meclizine, interferon and glatiramer, which list rashes as a possible side effect, notes the website Cells Be Well.