1st Relapse after Diagnosis - Steroids?

Hi there, hope you are all doing well? Hoping for some advice no matter how small.

Some background…I’m lucky enough to have seemingly very mild MS so this is first expereince of a post diagnosis relapse.

First known relapse was in 2003 - lost the feeling in my entire left leg from groin to toes for 3 months, started limping, etc. Fixed itself, had MRI and was told didn’t have MS.

2008: Another change in sensation, another MRI/Visual Evoked Potentials and diagnosed with no relapses since. No DMD’s yet either thankfully.

Over this past weekend I noticed the exact same feeling in my left leg again (numbness, weakness, change in sensation) my left hand appears to be affected too.

So trying to get hold of my MS Nurse but she is off today. Got in touch with my GP and got an appointment for 4pm today (brilliant!) Question now is whether I need to go on Steroids or not.

How do you know what to do? what determines going on steroids? What’s the difference between oral and IV? What should I expect if I am put on a course?

Also I’m due some facial reconstruction surgery imminently (I had a massive accident in 2009), would you go ahead with that? It involves general anaesthetic.



Hi Claire,

This sounds exactly what I have just experienced.

I had not had a relapse for 9 years since my initial diagnosis, then 10 days ago whlist walking the dog my left leg felt numb and walking became difficult. 2 days later I had ‘lost’ the leg completely I also seemed to be developing double vision and weakness in my left arm. My wife dragged me in to see the on call GP at the local hospital (fortunately just up the road) he decided immediately to admit me to the hospital for a course of IV steriods. After I had been checked out that I had not had stroke (always a possibility) I spent the next 4 days having the IV treatment. Luckily I saw my consultant who agreed that this was the best course.

A week later all the symptons have mostly gone, so from my experience steroids have done the trick. Whether IV or oral I am not so sure but my advice would be to use them as soon as possible to hopefully prevent your symptons from worsening. Obviously you need to talk to the MS nurse/neuro consultant as soon as possible.

I hope all goes well for you.


I don’t think steroids would be recommended with facial reconstruction surgery - because they suppress your immune system and you need that in good working order after surgery. The effect of steroids lasts a few months, I think. There used to be an excellent video about treatment of relapses, I thought on this site, which I can’t find anymore. The things it said about steroids were that: they won’t make any difference to where you end up after a relapse, just speed up how quickly you get there; therefore they will be keener to give them to you if your symptoms are affecting your life in a big way (stopping you working, looking after your family etc).

Steroids are always a last option for a relapse. Mine last year was numbness and MS hug. Just kept everyone in the loop but they really do not want to start steroids if you can cope without. (My nurses hat on as well!). That goes in line with Sewingchick. It could disrupt your healing pathway! In Paediatrics, if they have even had their inhalers (steroid ones) they are extremely reluctant to perform elective surgery!