No two people with MS experience exactly the same symptoms. In addition, symptoms can change or fluctuate over time. Some people may have tremors, fatigue, and muscle tightness also called spasticity. Others may have sudden vision loss or paralysis, which may be temporary or permanent. MS can also cause forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating, as well as problems with bladder and bowel function.
The symptoms of MS in children are similar to those in adults, but younger children are more likely than adults to have difficulty with balance and coordination of movements. Some develop numbness, and others have itching or irregular sensations, such as a “pins and needles” feeling or burning pains in the arms and legs. Most of these symptoms are the direct result of damage to the myelin in the central nervous system, which is why doctors consider them to be the main symptoms of MS.
Secondary symptoms can arise from neurological changes. Bladder dysfunction, for example, may cause an increase in urinary frequency. This can lead to a child needing frequent bathroom breaks. Another frequent symptom is fatigue, which can interfere with daily activities.
The times when a child experiences new, abrupt MS symptoms are referred to as relapses, or flare-ups. These can be followed by a period when the child does not have symptoms, which is called remission.
By tracking the course of the condition over time, doctors can determine which type of MS is affecting your child.