Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system. Although there are several types of MS, the relapsing-remitting form is most often diagnosed. If you have been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), there are various treatment approaches to help control flares and symptoms.
1. Disease Modifying Treatments
Much like other types of autoimmune diseases, it is important to find a treatment option that helps control the underlying disease. Specifically for RRMS, better disease control can mean fewer flare-ups of symptoms and more episodes of remission. The goal is to begin treatment with disease-modifying medications as early after diagnosis as possible to have a better chance at a positive response to treatment. Most of the medications available for RRMS consist of injectable medications or those given by infusion, but there are a few options taken orally. Disease-modifying medications act on a specific part of the immune system that is associated with MS.
2. Treatments For Flare-Ups
Flare-ups of the disease, called relapses, are periods when your symptoms worsen and any new or worsening problems may or may not resolve once the relapse is over. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may want you to seek treatment. High doses of steroids may be prescribed or infused during flare-ups, especially of the symptoms cause considerable problems with motor function or vision impairments.
Treatment with an infusion of steroids can stop inflammation much quicker than oral steroids. With RRMS, if you are suddenly experiencing relapses that are more severe, last longer, or occur more often, it may be a sign that your disease is progressing and you might benefit from a change in your disease-modifying treatment.
3. Treating Specific Symptoms
Since MS can cause a host of different symptoms, it is important to have your symptoms regularly evaluated to determine if you need additional medication to manage individual symptoms. For example, MS may cause chronic, widespread neuropathic pain. Some of the medications used to treat diabetic neuropathy or fibromyalgia may also be useful for managing pain in MS. You may also need specific medications that can ease bowel and bladder problems that can occur if the nerves affecting these organs become impaired.
Regular use of stool softeners might help make bowel movements more comfortable if impaired nerves cause chronic constipation. Similarly, medications can be incorporated to ease an overactive bladder. In some cases, other types of intervention may be necessary if incontinence becomes an issue.
Although RRMS is a chronic disease, it is not impossible to reduce symptoms and delay disease progression. Finding an effective disease-modifying medication can lay the groundwork for a treatment plan. For more information, contact a medical office like North Texas Neuroscience Center PA.