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MS?
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MS?

I am a 31 yr old female. I have had some symptoms without explanation for some time. I am now being tested for MS.
Several years ago (about 4) my lower back went into dibilitating spasm. This problem has plagued me for years. What I thought was unrelated was bladder spasms. Seen neurologist who could find no cause for the spasms. (no infections, IC etc) This accompanied by inability to properly empty bladder, about 20-30 times a day I urinate. Last week for the first time I was incontinent. Am taking baclofen, although I don't see any improvement. Many cases of virtigo with no ear infection found, in cycles almost for past 4-5 years. For past year or two I have had pins/needles in my hands/arms, legs/feet. Also past year or so increasing spasms in hands, calves and feet. About 5 months ago I spent about 6 weeks with the worst pins/needles and added numbess in all extremeties. It passed. 6 weeks ago my bladder and back were in bad spasm, pins/needles out of control. Much numbing. Right leg for past 2 weeks super weak, right foot no feeling and "dragging". Am waiting appt with a neurolgist and physiatrist, wait lists are long. Likewise long list for MRI testing here, will have to travel for these appointments. My GP says that my lower back shows no instability on xray, no arthritis etc. Mild curving to my lower spine. An ER doc did neuro/reflex tests including the one where they do something to bottom of foot. He then is the one who suggest MRI. My symptoms are increasing and the fatigue is something awful, worsening the last 6 months. Opinions? All nutrient levels are good.
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, keep in mind that I am unable to diagnose you because I am unable to examine you, this forum is for educational purposes.      
   I am not sure where you are located, but you should evaluated as soon as possible.  The symptoms that you describe are all compatible with multiple sclerosis (MS), but there are other possibilites that need to be ruled out.  
   Back spasms with bladder dysfunction with weakness and numbness/tingling could also be a spinal problem (such as a tumor in the spine, and/or MS involving the spine, syrinx, spinal compression etc)[these may not show-up on a plain Xray].
   The episodes of Vertigo and your episodes of sensory loss are likely located in your brain, and may be due to focal demyelination (as in MS) or stroke like episodes (seen in mitochondrial disorders such as MELAS), etc.
   You need an MRI of the brain and cervical spine with and without contrast (should also include a saggital FLAIR)  You should also have a lumbar puncture (spinal tap for cerbrospinal fluid) to be sent for inflammation (tourtelotte panel, oligoclonal bands is abnormal is MS) and also Lyme titers, and cytology to evaluate for malignancy. A visual evoked potential and SSEP (somatosensory evoked potential ) may be needed to confirm the diagnosis, but are often not needed.
   Your most likely diagnosis is MS, but you should insist on a prompt and comphrensive evaluation.  If your diagnosis is confirmed as MS, IV steroids may help with your acute exacerbations of weakness, numbness in your extremities,etc.  Bladder dysfunction is common with MS and sometimes requires a suprapubic cath. (tube into the bladder) in advanced cases.  For the bladder spasms, Ditropan is usually effective.
I hope this has been helpful.
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I ran out of room, sorry this is so long.
I also have weakening off and on (a few weeks/month at a time) in my legs but more noticably in my hands. ie. can't hold my own wallet in hand, can't carry shopping bag with loaf of bread in it.
The fatigue is enough to lose my mind. My GP said that it wouldn't be a pinched nerve etc in my lower back due to that this occurs in my arms/hands as well. He is in process of ruling out something at the neck level, although my neck is one of the few places that do not ever hurt. My calf, feet and hand spasms seem to happen frequently for a period of time along with the numbness and tingles. This recent "bout" was over 6 weeks long, culminating in the "dragging" foot and severe numbness (I was able to use my good foot to kick my calf repeatedly harder and harder and barely able to register any feeling of it at all). Then suddenly over the weekend I regained some strength in my right leg and my foot is no longer dragging nor is it pointing "outwards" on its own anymore, although I do still have pins/needles in hands and feet, but much milder. I am grateful for the sudden relief but afraid of the next "bout". They seem to be getting worse.
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Avatar_n_tn
mellycat--i dont have any info for you, just that i'm in basically the same frustrating boat that you are.  i'm 32 yo female. i had an MRI done 6 months ago, didnt show any signs of MS, but i have also read tht sometimes the leasions dont show up on the brain, but lower in the cervical area etc.......i'm still personally worried about MS since i have the on again/ off again remitting symptoms like you do.  your symptoms are worse than mine, maybe a lumbar puncture would help with diagnosis??  maybe ask your dr about that?  

it is VERY frustrating, i flip back and forth on the 'ignorance is bliss (ie do i want to know i have MS???) versus seeking out additional testing because the 'what if' factor is killing me.  of course when i feel fine i think 'maybe i'm healed', but then i get exacerbations/ weakness/ tingling again that lasts 2-3 weeks and i think i should go for futher testing...........

keep us posted.  
katy
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Avatar_n_tn
Ty for your response. I am not sure if either specialist will want a lumbar puncture. I am at the point I'll do anything they ask me test wise. I just would really like some answers. I am waiting currently for appt's with  neurologist and physiatrist. I am also waiting for MRI and EMG and evoked response tests etc. I know this is one step at a time, etc. I live in a northern smallish town in Ontario Canada where there are no specialists in this field, nor ability to do any of these types of tests. So it is out of town for me for each test or appointment and wiating lists are very long as well. I do know that MRI will be of the brain and the spine, which is good because I don't want a stone uncovered.
I thought I was doing too much google'ing about MS, so didn't even mention it to my doctor. Turns out in the ER report, the ER doc suggested it, along with MRI for possible MS. My GP agrees that this is the next step and area to investigate. I was shocked, thought I was leaping to conclusions.
I hope you find some answers soon. Have you asked for another more extensive MRI?

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Avatar_n_tn
Hi guys,

Just wanted to respond to your posts.  I too have just been through all the testing for MS.  What i can say is I have similar symptoms but have never had anything show up on my testing.  I have had MRI's, EMG, evocked response and lumbar puncture done.  Everything is clear...infact two neuroligists have told me it cant be MS.  This has been going on now since Nov. 2004.  Well when I was told they had no idea what was wrong I did look into Lyme disease.  Long story short I am in treatment for lyme disease.
My advise would be to have all the testing done for MS and if nothing shows then try getting tested for Lyme disease.  Lyme disease can be very similar to MS.

I know to well how scary all of this is so try to hang in there.  If you have any questions you can email me.


Good luck

lesley
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Avatar_n_tn
hikerunner, i did mention lymes to my neuro at my last appointment.   i did have 2 very odd bites/infections on my leg, both in the past 8 months- one is still scared.  he didnt seem concerned.  my dr did order a lyme blood test, but i understand they are pretty useless. i'm guessing they were negetive since nobody ever called me back (they dont call with negetive results, only positive)   the infections looked like spider bites to me.  i live in AZ.  
i actually have a repeat MRI tomorrow, but i'm not expecting anyhing to show up- nothing showed up 6 months ago, and nothing has changed symptom wise..........but whatever.  i'm just going thru the motions, only to get the big fat 'we dont know'.  

katy
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