Constipation, Depression, and UTIs May Be Early Signs of MS

New research suggests that people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) have depression, constipation, and urinary tract infections (UTIs) five years prior to their diagnosis.

The disease known as MS affects both the brain and spinal cord. The protective layer around your nerves is harmed in MS, which can lead to various symptoms like impaired vision and difficulties with movement, thinking, and emotion.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society says the number of Americans living with MS has increased to about one million, more than double the initial projection.


Publication in Neurology, the study also revealed an increased risk of bladder infections, or cystitis, and erotic issues in those who go on to acquire multiple sclerosis.

Experts in the study say that these symptoms would not necessarily lead to an earlier diagnosis, but it is helpful information, especially if MS runs in the family.

The team gathered approximately 20,100 people who were recently diagnosed with MS and then matched with individuals of the same age and gender who did not have MS.

Additionally, a comparison was also made between the gathered MS patients with 30,477 Crohn's disease and 7,337 lupus patients.

Then, with the help of a medical information database, the researchers analyzed 113 illnesses and symptoms in the five years before and after the individuals' diagnosis or before that matching date for the non-autoimmune disease participants.

Five years before their diagnosis, those with MS had a 22% higher likelihood of depression than those without the disease. They had a 50% increased risk of constipation, a 38% increased risk of UTIs, a 47% increased risk of STIs, and a 21% increased risk of cystitis or bladder infections.

Antidepressant prescriptions for depression were written for 14% of MS patients five years before diagnosis, compared to 10% of non-MS patients. Those with MS were prescribed antidepressants at a rate of 37% five years after diagnosis, compared to 19% of those without the disease.

Fortunately, this doesn't mean that every individual with depression, constipation, and UTIs will later go on to develop MS. The team's ultimate goal is to better understand the biological processes that occur in the body before the onset of the disease's symptoms by using these early indicators.

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