In This Section      

Symptoms and Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms

Symptoms vary greatly from person to person, over time and in intensity. Symptoms of multiple sclerosis can include:

  • Bladder problems (frequent urination, urgency)
  • Depression
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Fatigue
  • Impaired coordination (ataxia)
  • Sensory symptoms (numbness, pain)
  • Spasticity (muscle stiffness or spasms)
  • Temperature sensitivity – worsening of MS symptoms by heat
  • Tremors
  • Trouble with short-term memory and concentration
  • Visual symptoms (optic neuritis, association with pain and eye movement, double vision)
  • Weakness

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

The exact cause of MS is unknown. It appears to be an autoimmune disease in which the immune system is stimulated to attack myelin in the central nervous system.

The source of the initial stimulus has not been clearly identified. In certain people who inherit a predisposition to MS, the trigger may be infections (such as viruses) or other factors in the environment. Individuals may also have a genetic predisposition for developing the disease as people with family members diagnosed with MS are at a slightly higher risk.

Request an Appointment

For more information about the symptoms and causes of MS, request an appointment with our doctors.

Request an Appointment

Maryland Patients

To request an appointment or refer a patient, please contact the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center at 410-614-1522.
Request an Appointment

Adult Neurology: 410-955-9441
Pediatric Neurology: 410-955-4259
Adult Neurosurgery: 410-955-6406
Pediatric Neurosurgery: 410-955-7337


Traveling for Care?

Whether you're crossing the country or the globe, we make it easy to access world-class care at Johns Hopkins.

Outside of Maryland (toll free)

Request an Appointment
Medical Concierge Services

International Patients

Request an Appointment
Medical Concierge Services

blue suitcase