Though MS is more prevalent in females, MS in males is recognized as a significant health issue. In some ways, multiple sclerosis in males is not drastically different from multiple sclerosis in females: the symptoms that have come to be recognized as being indicative of MS are typically the same in males as they are in females.


MS in Males vs. MS in Females


There are some differences between the presentation of MS in males and that in females: One, which particularly stands out is the issue of gender-specific biological factors that influence the development of the disease. These gender-specific biological factors are the distinct hormonal fluctuations that are specific to each gender. Males do not menstruate, they do not have the capacity to get pregnant, nor do they hit menopause in their middle-ages. Thus, they do not have the capacity to develop female hormonal cycle-related MS exacerbations or remissions. To give a specific example, when a woman with MS becomes pregnant, in many cases, she can look forward to months of minimal or zero MS symptoms. Because of her pregnancy, her body produces natural corticosteroids, which help to eliminate any MS-related inflammation. Her body is also actively engaged in making a baby, so the building blocks for healthy cells abound in it.

There is also the fact that, whatever the age group, MS is more prevalent in females than in males. In some age groups, there are twice as many female MS patients as there are male MS patients. In other age groups, the disparity is greater: there are up to four times as many female MS patients as there are male MS patients. There is no clear-cut indication as to why this is the case. Some have suggested that there must be an environmental MS trigger that is used more by females than by males. This trigger might very well be something like a form of contraceptive or a cosmetic product. Note that the difference in prevalence between males and females has also been noted in other autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

It has been said that multiple sclerosis in males is generally associated with more severe symptoms than multiple sclerosis in females. In addition, society generally has different expectations of men than it does of women: Men are typically projected as protectors and those who bring home the bacon. Thus, male patients may have unique difficulties making the psychological adjustment to having MS: They may wrongly perceive that their vulnerability makes them less masculine.