If You Have Multiple Sclerosis, You Should Check Your Stress Response

Multiple Sclerosis is a complicated disorder. Although we don’t yet know the cause of it, it seems that increased inflammation in the brain causes damage to the neurons. Depending on where the inflammation occurs in the brain, different symptoms come up. These symptoms tend to come and go, but over time, the inflammation can cause serious damage to the brain.

If you have Multiple Sclerosis, there are certain things you must be mindful of so that you can help prevent further damage, delay the disease, or stop the disease altogether. In this article, I’ll specifically talk about stress.


If you suffer from MS, you likely have seen how stress can affect your disease. Research has shown that stressful live events can make the disease worse. In one study, researchers used MRI to follow 36 patients throughout a period. They saw that patients that experienced more conflict and disruptions to their routine developed more brain lesions, then patients who did not.


The stress response occurs in 3 stages.

The first stage, known as the alarm stage, occurs when cortisol is released right after a stressor. This is what typically happens when you first encounter a stressful event, like seeing a bear.

The second stage, known as the resistance stage, is when the body keeps releasing cortisol to help the body resist the stressor. If this is prolonged, it can increase your risk for stress related diseases.

The third stage, known as the exhaustion stage, is when the body does not have any cortisol left to release due to continued stress. In this stage, patients can feel burnt out.


Your naturopathic doctor can order a cortisol (your stress hormone) panel to monitor your stress response. Then, they can recommend lifestyle changes, supplements, herbs, and other natural therapies to help you manage the stress, and normalize your stress response.

  1. Hart, SL., Mohr, Dc., Julian, L. Association between stressful life events and exacerbations in multiple sclerosis: a meta-analysis. BMJ. 2004 Mar 27;328(7442):731

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