Is there really a difference?

Hello everyone,

A neighbour of ours has a male relative who has just been diagnosed with MS. The neighbour looked most shocked and concerned when she told me this and followed it by saying :“Well it’s much worse for men isn’t it?” I was left speachless, as quite honestly, I don’t know. One thing I could do was to allay her fears when I mentioned the case (truth) of a man that is known to me, who is doing very well. But just to add to the confusion, I have also read that it is thought that male MS and female MS are two different diseases. Have any other board members got any evidence to add to this?

Take Care all,


Goodmoring Moira.x

Gosh I realy dont know the answer if men suffer worst than women.

However as women get older we suffer the menopause and Ostioarthritus amomgst other things.

MS for women can be worst around there period times and menoupause.I know a woman who works with MS,however I wish I could work but MS has dragged me down and symptoms in this heat have gone through the roof.More women suffer from MS than men.

Research shows men are more likely to pass MS on to there offspring than women.Men can suffer Erectile Dysfunction and this can effect them greatly usaly caused by medication.Maybe women have more of a fighting spirit than men and we will not sit and moan we will get up and make our lives as normal as we can.But I find no evidence that men suffer more than women,but I am sure some others will input.


Oh dear surely MS impacts on all who have it regardless of their gender. Perhaps the persons concern has been influenced by outdated concepts such as societal genderised roles (Male bread winner / female carer) which gives the impression that men might be unduly affected more than women, because their work might be impacted upon!

;-o Mary


I don’t think there is a difference, any more than the difference between me and any other random person with MS. When I was at school, I had a part-time job in a nursing home where there were at least 4 residents with severe MS, the male/female split was about equal. There were varying degrees of severity, but there wasn’t a marked difference between the sexes.

Luisa x

Hi Moira,

I’m sorry, I’m too lazy to look up the references right now, but I believe that statistically, although it’s rarer in men, their prognosis tends to be worse.

Of course, statistics can’t predict individual fortunes, so you can’t tell whether a particular named man will follow the trend, or be an exception. Statistics are not particularly useful, when you have no way of knowing how an individual will compare to the average. Some people will do very much better, and some worse. So no one factor (gender, age of onset etc.) is a reliable predictor of long-term outcome.


There is no definitive answer,but that has never stopped me. A couple of thoughts ; the ratio of girls to boys with MS is about 4 to 1,but as the true numbers in the UK are unknown 'cos there is no actual published figure for total number of MS peeps,the actual exact ratio is unknown

Second thought is that in six years of being around these boreds, ladies sometimes struggle looking after kids and that has to make things tougher for the girls in general. Mental attitude,previous physical condition availability of money, blah blah all affect how MS affects every day life and overall deterioation,but childcare has got to be very very tough.

And now for the sexist bit…We are more likely to hear all about it from the girls… At this point I am retiring to a safe distance, under the bed,in a different country,on a different planet.


I think statistically if you are male, have a later onset of disease and have motor rather than sensory symptoms at onset then you are more likely to have a worse prognosis than if you are a young female with mainly sensory symptoms.

But statistics, shmatistics. So what? Every body does MS their own way and there is nothing to say how anyone’s MS will pan out. Hopefully your neigbour’s relative will have a not too disabling course of the disease and of course nowadays with more and more treatment options becoming available there are better chances of having better outcomes.

But bottom line, no one has a crystal ball so no one can really predict how any one will travel the MS road.

JellyBean, I do take exception to your staggeringly sexist statement about men and women. “Maybe women have more of a fighting spirit than men and we will not sit and moan we will get up and make our lives as normal as we can.”

I know pleny of men with plenty of fighting spirit and plenty of moaning women. You have made a pretty rash generalisation there which may just cause offence to quite a few people. Also I haven’t heard that men have a greater chance of passing MS onto their children than women. Can you find a link to that research? I’d be interested to read more about that…



Anitra’s is the most accurate response! The statistical percentage of men with MS who have progressive disease and greater disability is deemed to be higher than the percentage of women with MS who do. Overall, simply talking numerically, there are still less men than women actually severely disabled from MS because far more women have MS than men.

It’s nice to see sexism alive and well on the boards, in amongst the very sensible and accurate replies.

Was it only 1928 that women got the vote? No doubt they were too busy running a household to put their minds to such important issues as politics.

Oh for the times when men were men and women were grateful.

ha ha!