Health + Wellness

MS Relapse: What to Expect


MS relapse

Here on BlackDoctor.org, we have written about Multiple Sclerosis (MS) many times, and hopefully the content we’ve given you all has been helpful! With that, sometimes I believe the best way to understand and learn about something is to hear someone’s first-hand experience. My best friend, Nia, has MS. I decided to ask her some questions as a young Black woman with MS and what a relapse is like for her to gain an understanding about relapses and MS as a whole.

Give me a brief history about how you were diagnosed and what led up to that, and what your first relapse was like too.

The shortest version I can give about my diagnosis story goes back to 2015 with my first MS symptom which was vertigo. I was attending my math class when all of a sudden the room started to spin and it was spinning out of control. I informed my professor that I was not feeling well but as I was walking out of the classroom I passed out.

The only thing I remembered after that was being in the emergency room with my mom and telling her that the room was just spinning uncontrollably and I didn’t know what happened.

Since MS was not an option for a diagnosis at the time, I was misdiagnosed with meunière disease (an extreme version of vertigo). After 5 years of “remission”, my “new symptom” flared up and it was optic neuritis. The optic neuritis flare-up led to the true diagnosis of my MS.

READ: How to Know if Your MS Relapse Needs a Doctor

How do you know you’re having a relapse? What are your symptoms?

When it comes to multiple sclerosis (MS), my MS symptoms are chronic fatigue, optic neuritis and vertigo. For me, vertigo happens more frequently as I currently have a 10-15mm lesion on that portion of my brain.

So when I do experience a vertigo relapse, I can only tell if I’m having one when I can’t concentrate on my task at hand. Other times, I will never know when another relapse will happen because it will just happen at the spur of the moment.

How often does that happen?

My relapses happen very seldomly. Since I was diagnosed at an early stage of MS (relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis – RRMS), I was able to hop on medication to help slow the progression of my MS.

Because of these meds, I am able to not have so many relapses at one time.

However, because MS is a degenerative neurological disease, my medication could stop working and I could potentially have an 

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