There is a larger proportion of women with MS than there is of men with MS. Not surprisingly, some tend towards associating women with multiple sclerosis, and describing this condition as a woman’s disease. But is this accurate? Is it correct to suggest that multiple sclerosis is a women’s disease?

The answer to the above questions ultimately depends on what one means by the term “women’s disease”. If the term is used to designate diseases that solely strike women, then it certainly does not apply to multiple sclerosis. There may be more women diagnosed with MS than there are men diagnosed with it, but all the same there are males living with MS. If the term “women’s disease” is being used to refer to diseases that predominantly affect women, but also claim male victims, then multiple sclerosis fits into this mold. However, there aren’t too many contexts where “women’s disease” would be applied so loosely in the description of MS.


How Genetic and Environmental Factors Might Impact Women with MS


Remarking upon the fact that MS seems to affect more females than males is about more than coming up with a succinct label for the condition. It has to do with understanding why the condition develops in the first place, or what its causes and triggers are. There must be a reason why there are significantly more women with MS than there are men with MS. It might have something to do with environmental factors to which women have great exposure than men. Some have speculated that, perhaps, the cosmetics used by women have something to do with the high prevalence of MS among them. It has also been suggested that the use of hormonal contraceptives might have something to do with it. However, it is important to note that these are speculations. There is still much to be done in the way of research before definite conclusions can be drawn about these hypotheses.

It seems possible that there are genetic factors that make MS more prevalent in women than in men. There is scientific evidence that certain genetic mutations make men and women alike more vulnerable to developing multiple sclerosis. It is also the case that these mutations are more prevalent among women with multiple sclerosis than they are among men with multiple sclerosis. The genetic story behind MS in these cases is a complex one that will probably take scientists decades to unravel. But it will not draw them the full MS picture: As at least one scientist has pointed out, MS is more likely to be a syndrome than a single disease. A variety of mechanisms trigger the development of MS, so it is unlikely that the discovery of a ‘miracle’ pharmaceutical remedy will address all cases of the condition.