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Early fears of MS

Forgive me because I know I am lucky that at this stage MS is only a small risk for me and I fully sympathise with all of you who suffer with this condition but I’d really appreciate some first hand opinion from you guys who know better than anyone how I am feeling. For a couple of years now I have suffered with unexplained itching, mainly in my lower body but it can be all over. Nothing helps, antihistamines don’t help and it has become something that flares up every so often, particularly badly at night and drives me crazy. This has intensified lately to the point that I feel like something is crawling all over my skin and I now also get tingles under the skin. Earlier this week, although I was still itchy I actually became numb so that when I felt my skin it felt like I was feeling someone else. Again this was worse in my lower body but my skin nearly everywhere felt like it had been anaethitised. It lasted around 24 hours, while feeling was restored I do feel that there is a slight insensitivity still. I was very stressed on the day this came on and I wonder if that could have caused the numbness? This was the first time I realised that MS may be causing my symptoms and since then the tingling and itchiness and numbness have been particularly bad but I feel like I am going crazy and maybe it’s all in my head? I am really tired / spaced out but this could be down to anything! Sorry for the essay post, but I wanted to give as much info as possible. I’d really appreciate hearing some thoughts from someone who undersrands! Thanks xx

Hello Topsy

I can’t tell you whether your itching might be caused by a neurological problem. I’ve never experienced anything like it, perhaps there is someone who has who will be able to answer you.

What I would suggest is that you see your GP and get a referral to a neurologist if you feel your itching and numbness have a neurological basis.

What I would say is that generally a new symptom caused by MS would usually be expected to have lasted at least 24 hours. So while your itching has lasted a long time, the numbness you’ve described was more short term. So to me it doesn’t sound like MS, but obviously a) I’m not a doctor, b) I’m just going by what you’ve put in your post, and c) only a neurologist can tell you whether it is MS or not, and only then after a physical examination, and potentially tests such as MRI if they feel such are needed.

Sue

Hi Topsy

I agree with Sue, see your GP and ask for a referral to a neurologist.

I have suffered itching as you describe for a couple of years, but of course that in itself doesn’t mean you have MS. In my case I would scratch my legs till they bled on occasion, but nothing would relieve that dreadful itch. Evenings were the worst, although I found sometimes I would also scratch in my sleep.

My neurologist explained that lotions and potions and scratching really couldn’t help as the only underlying cause of the itch was neurological - i.e. it wasn’t really an itch (!) it was a mis-firing nerve sensation that my brain interpreted as an itch. Hope that makes sense. Doesn’t help relieve the ‘itch’ though does it?

I have had several sessions of IV steroids for various different reasons and I do find that the itch goes away for a few weeks after, but I doubt if you would be prescribed steroids for that symptom alone. May be worth asking about, but I do think a neuro referral is your next step.

re the numbness, it was that that my GP referred me to neurology for, it had spread from patches on my torso to both legs; she told me if it got worse while waiting for the appt to come through I was to go to A&E. Which I did and that was the start of my MS journey. However, as said before, don’t panic thinking you now have MS, it could be caused by other things.

Can stress cause it? Personally I think it can certainly exacerbate things but does it cause it to begin with? Don’t know but my personal opinion is yes. My MS symptoms only made an appearance after a particularly stressful and upsetting period in my life that occurred about three years before I was diagnosed. Again I stress that is my opinion only.

Hope you get some answers soon, good luck

AngC

Hi Topsy

,

Agree with the two lovely ladies before me; you need to be referred to a Neurologist.

No one can diagnose you, but just to put your mind at rest; personally, I would think it’s an SSEP. Somatosensory Evoked Potential (ssep) is one test used to help in the diagnosis of MS. Abnormalities with SSEPS are not specific for MS and can be abnormal due to other disease processes. Information gained from the SSEP in addition to clinical history, physical exam, MRI, and spinal tap results can either support or refute the diagnosis of MS. The technique consists of applying a 5-per second painless electrical stimulus at various nerves in the arms or legs and recording at various locations (near clavicle, cervical spine, and parietal cortex). The impulses generated by the stimuli are averaged and the time the impulse takes to reach the various points is measured. Abnormalities include slowing or blocking at the various points.

George