Among patients with MS, vomiting is a symptom that can result for different reasons. For one, it could be a direct result of the multiple sclerosis. Vomiting could also be an indirect result of the disease or a coincidence.


MS Vomiting as a Symptom of the Disease or a Side Effect of the Medication


What are the circumstances that provoke vomiting in multiple sclerosis patients? In some patients with MS, vomiting results directly from lesions in the nervous tissue. These patients’ vomiting is spontaneous and positional. Thus, they may vomit when they lean forward, and have a tendency to experience vertigo and headaches. Further examination can reveal these patients to suffer from nystagmus, a condition which results in the involuntary movement on the eyes. It makes sense that patients with little control over the motion of their eyes can develop vertigo. The visual images being transmitted by their optic nerves to their brains are interpreted to mean that the body is in motion and the body responds accordingly. In some patients, these symptoms may be provoked by overheating and other circumstances that would ordinarily provoke MS exacerbations.

In cases where vomiting is a direct result of MS lesions, it could actually be one of the first symptoms that alerts patients that something is wrong and leads to their diagnosis with MS. Before such diagnoses, vomiting can be a tremendously frightening symptom, coming as it does out of the blue and not being directly linked to gastrointestinal issues. Finally getting an MS diagnosis and being able to treat the condition is a great relief for these patients. Sometimes vomiting develops later in the progression of the disease, after the patients have already been diagnosed, and is actually a side effect of MS medication.


Multiple Sclerosis, Vomiting and Gastrointestinal Conditions


Vomiting could easily be a symptom of a disease or condition distinct from multiple sclerosis. Remember that multiple sclerosis patients also have the capacity to develop other health conditions. These health conditions may be somewhat similar to MS (in the sense that they may be associated with similar risk factors). Inflammatory bowel disease comes to mind. IBD and MS are both inflammatory diseases that a particular demographic (of young, affluent adults) is predisposed toward developing. In fact, the two diseases have been shown to coincide in a statistically significant proportion of the population. IBD exists in two forms: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Vomiting may be a symptom in either case. When it does occur, the vomiting often accompanies other symptoms that are indicative of gastrointestinal distress (e.g. diarrhea, weight loss, bleeding of the rectum). This may help patients get an accurate diagnosis, which is important: For many patients with multiple sclerosis, vomiting is especially distressing when they can’t readily determine what is causing it or treat it.