Talking to Your Doctor about Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with bipolar disorder. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have a second person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you hear. Ask for clarification, if needed.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are talking about. You have a right to know.

Some Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About MS

  • What type of MS do I have?
  • How quickly is it likely to get worse?
  • What can I expect with flare-ups?
  • How can I plan my life when I never know when I will have a flare-up?

About Your Risk of Getting MS

  • Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for MS? Are other family members at risk?

About Treatments

How do I best treat MS?

  • What are the risks and benefits for each treatment option?
  • What other options are there?

What medicines can help me?

  • What are the benefits/side effects of these medicines?
  • Will they get in the way of other medicines, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking?
  • How long will I have to take these medicines?
  • How much do they cost?
  • What is the plan if the treatment does not ease my symptoms?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What will I need to change in my daily routine?
  • How long can I keep working and caring for myself?
  • Are there changes I should make to the foods that I eat? How do I do this?
  • Is there anything I can do so I don't get a flare-up?

Should I workout?

  • What type of workout is best?
  • How much should I workout?
  • How do I get started with a workout program?

About Outlook

  • What are my risks for having problems from MS?
  • Will I be able to live a normal life?
  • Will I become disabled or need help with personal care?

Will I still be able to have children?

  • Will I put my future children at risk for this disease?
  • Will I have to put my MS medications “on hold” when pregnant or trying to conceive?

Minden SL, Feinstein A, et al. Evidence-based guideline: assessment and management of psychiatric disorders in individuals with MS: report of the Guideline Development Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 2014 Jan 14;82(2):174-181.

Multiple sclerosis (MS). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated March 4, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.

NINDS multiple sclerosis information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: Updated November 19, 2015. Accessed September 13, 2016.

Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed September 28, 2018.

Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD  Last Updated 9/26/2018