21 year old college student in desperate need of help – MRI came back clear

Hi there. About a year and a half ago, at age 20, I started to to have serious bladder problems, shaking/tremors in my hands, and extreme fatigue. I went to my GP who then sent me to a neurologist. Immediately after I listed my symptoms she said MS, this instantly freaked me to because my grandpa had crippling MS and was in a wheelchair in his 30’s and passed away in his 60’s. I have no idea if genetics plays a role in MS but it is was still scary because my only memories of him where from his final days. She scheduled me for an MRI, and everything came back clear. Now here I am at 21 and my symptoms have unexpectedly and rapidly gotten worse. My feet are freezing, from my feet to my calf I have a tingly feeling, I also get the tingly feeling in my hands, my vision goes extremely blurry/hazy, I still have bladder issues, I also feel a sort of numbness that is difficult to describe, on top of that I have Become extremely depressed and developed severe anxiety,I cry randomly for no reason multiple times a week, and sometimes its just hard to think or get thoughts out of my mind (I don’t know if that makes sense but I don’t know how else to describe it). As I said the symptoms got worse pretty rapidly, his that normal? If my MRI came back clear is it even possible I could still have MS? or could this just be some other random thing? I just really don’t know where to go from here and am overwhelmed with it all. So I would be extremely grateful for any insight, help, guidance, advice, or information. Thank you so much for taking time to read this, and best wishes to you!


Community Answers
  • stargazer0406
    6 months ago

    I know it’s scary having all these symptoms and no diagnosis. I also was clear on my first couple of MRIs. Be sure to see a neurologist who specializes in MS not just a general neurologist- it makes a world of difference. I was given evoked potential tests and a spinal tap that, along with my symptoms, equaled an MS diagnosis. It was several years before it showed up on my MRI. It’s important to get the right diagnosis so you can get started on the right treatment. Your Grandpa didn’t have access to the many treatments that are now available. So try not to worry if you have MS that you will follow the same course his illness took. I hope you keep pushing for answers. It was my third neurologist who diagnosed me – and she had done her fellowship studies on MS. Stay strong!

  • Kid1napping
    6 months ago

    I am also sorry to hear of your progression. My caregivers grand daughter has the “symptom” package as well. She is 22. Her Drs in an HMO have told her she is too young to diagnose . So yes please get as many opinions as YOU need to get the truth

  • dtwhite1
    6 months ago

    my mri’s came back clear also! (Several times) Then I made sure to get an MRI in the middle of an exacerbation and it showed up clearly. Mine isn’t in my head, therefore of course it would come back clear. It is right by my neck so if you aren’t in the correct area it will not show up~!

  • Debrahoff2
    6 months ago

    So sorry you are going through this. I would definitely get more opinions.To me, it does sound neurological, however it could be something else.. Easier said than done, but try not to.worry too much until you know. Before I was diagnosed, I had a spinal tap to confirm it was demylinating disease, along with an MRI of cervical, thoracic, and brain. Not sure.if you had all that done., but it could be a virus or many other things. I would get more opinons, with your primary care Dr as well. I hope you feel better and figure things out soon. You will. Stay strong and be tenacious.

  • 75ow2m
    6 months ago

    They should’ve done blood work and also a spinal tap. Not just a MRI. Get another opinion.

  • Erin Rush moderator
    6 months ago

    Hello, Kates10! I am sorry you did not receive a firm diagnosis. I know that can be very frustrating. I agree with a lot of what Phil said. First, there is a slight genetic component to MS, but it is not very strong. You can read more about genetics and MS here — https://multiplesclerosis.net/causes/genetics-contribute-to-risk-for-developing-ms/. Basically, having a first degree relative (parent or sibling) does increase your odds of developing MS, from 1 in 750 for the general population to 2-to-5 in 100. Still, it’s always good to consider all factors when trying to reach a diagnosis.

    Also, Phil is right — you can definitely seek a second or third opinion. Obviously, something is going on with your body. And even if it’s not MS, it is something that needs to be diagnosed and treated, as these are not normal issues for a 21-year-old.

    Here is some information on Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS) that you may find interesting — https://multiplesclerosis.net/what-is-ms/clinically-isolated-syndrome-risk-progression/. CIS is the term medical professionals use when a person experiences an “MS-like event”, but either shows no demyelination or does not have another event. While I am not stating that this is what you experienced, the information in the piece may be of interest to you.

    I am sorry you are in this situation and don’t be afraid to keep advocating for yourself and your health! As I always tell people, no one knows your body like you do. If you know something it wrong, then don’t quit fighting to get the help you need.

    Good luck!

    Best, Erin, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member.

  • PS98107
    6 months ago

    Hi Kates10,

    I would get a second and even a third opinion from well-established neurologists and have them look at any medications (for other ailments) you may or are taking currently and especially if you have been on them for the past year and a half. While I personally don’t rule out genetics as a slim possibility of playing a role in getting MS, I think it more likely environment and highly-processed foods are catalysts for getting it or any other disease/condition for that matter.

    The main thing is not to let whatever it is, depress you. I know that’s easier said than done and I wish you the very best in getting to the bottom of whatever is causing your symptoms. My thoughts are with you on this!

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