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Symptom management of multiple sclerosis in adults

Michael J Olek, DO
Ram N Narayan, MD
Elliot M Frohman, MD, PhD
Teresa C Frohman, PA-C
Section Editor
Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano, MD
Deputy Editor
John F Dashe, MD, PhD


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated, inflammatory, neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system that is a leading cause of disability in young adults.

A range of symptomatic problems can occur in patients with MS. Cognitive dysfunction, depression, fatigue, and gait impairment are increasingly common with disease progression. Spasticity, tremor, seizures, sphincter dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction may also complicate disease progression.

Management of the comorbid problems associated with MS will be reviewed here. Other aspects of MS management are discussed separately. (See "Treatment of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis in adults" and "Disease-modifying treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in adults" and "Treatment of progressive multiple sclerosis in adults".)


Common symptoms of bladder dysfunction in patients with MS include urinary frequency, urgency, and nocturia. Urinary tract infections are also common in MS, particularly in women, and may increase the extent of bladder dysfunction [1]. (See "Clinical features of multiple sclerosis in adults", section on 'Bowel and bladder dysfunction'.)

Our approach in evaluating a patient with urinary symptoms involves the following steps:


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jun 24, 2016.
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