Multiple sclerosis myths, busted

For all we know about multiple sclerosis (MS) – a chronic disease where a person’s immune system attacks their central nervous system and causes fatigue, bladder issues and pain, among other symptoms – there are still a lot of misconceptions around the condition. Read on to learn what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to MS.

1. Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk and progression of MS.

True. Having low vitamin D increases your risk of not only getting MS but also it has been associated with more relapses. Additionally, vitamin D can help with MS, and movement has benefits, too — even the shortest walk outside can help. For more tips on living with MS, see our article on supportive measures.

2. People with MS can’t breastfeed.

False. Some people with MS can breastfeed, and there is data to suggest that breastfeeding reduces the likelihood of the patient having a relapse.

3. MS can be caused by a virus.

True. Although a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as the Epstein-Barr virus infection can contribute to MS, no two people experience MS the same way.

4. Women are two to three times more likely to develop MS.

True. Before puberty and after menopause, the risk for men and women getting multiple sclerosis is the same. However, during childbearing years, women are three times more likely to get MS than men, particularly in the Midwest. MS prevalence was much higher in women than in men in Texas, Missouri, and Ohio, according to CDC research.

5. People with MS have a difficult time getting pregnant.

False. People with MS get pregnant all the time.


BJC HealthCare is committed to providing extraordinary care to patients with multiple sclerosis at three locations: Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Learn more about BJC HealthCare and MS care.

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