MS & The Sexes

MS & The Sexes



Male femaleIt’s nothing earth-shattering in the fact that twice as many women have MS than men.  (I’m happy to be one of the “lucky” guys!)

I’m just curious to know if MS affects men differently than it does women.

Sure, physically it seems to be the same between the sexes…myelin damage, foot drop, numbness, gait problems, vision, cognitive issues, yada yada yada.



But I wonder if MS affects us differently…between the ears.


Does a males “fragile” ego make it more difficult to accept an MS diagnosis? 


Male Female sign


The reason I bring this up was a recent conversation I had with a female MSer.

She was dx’d in 2001 and was confined to a power wheelchair.

Despite the physical limitations that may bring, her words were admirably calm.  She was complacent and accepting of her multiple sclerosis.

It was like she had a slight headache instead of a chronic, auto-immune disease.

And it was refreshing to witness!

In fact, as I think about it, a number of female MSers I know seem to share this demeanor as well.

Meanwhile, yours truly..and many guys I know with MS, seem to struggle accepting our disease.

Talk with a guy with MS and you may notice a slight twinge of bitterness, with a little anger sprinkled in.  Heck, I’m 15 years into my MS and I can still spit nails after a hard fall or a difficult climb up a flight of stairs.


Why the difference in perspectives?





Here in My Odd Sock Labs, we desperately tried to find answers.


Using the Tasco brand microscope from my childhood, we looked deep into the genetic make-up of both males AND females with multiple sclerosis.


My Odd Sock’s findings…..



Male jeans.  Magnification 200X.
Male jeans. Magnification 200X.



Male jeans.






Female jean.  Magnified 200X
Female jean. Magnified 200X




Female jean.

(Purse not included)





Despite noticable differences in cut, taper and stitching, the My Odd Sock study was deemed both ridiculous and inconclusive!


Seriously though, a male friend with MS described his dx as driving him into depression.  Personally, I struggled early on, recovered and have recently been taking depression meds ( I call’em my “crazy” pills).

Is such a strong reaction to a diagnosis a guy thing?

Does it explain why females tend to have a better attitude toward their MS?


On a bad day, I often think of the female MSer in her power chair.  Remembering her attitude, hearing her words.  And then use that to slay the MS dragon that burns my butt from time to time.

Is it a matter of perspective?  I’m leaning towards the belief that it is.

What’s yours?



5 Replies to “MS & The Sexes”

  1. Well, I’m a female MSer, and there are times when I could not only spit nails, but the entire toolbox! Does that imply that I’ve been gifted with a heavier dose of testosterone? I doubt it. I’m just not that complacent nor accepting.
    Perhaps it has something to do with the point in our lives when we were dx’d. Maybe we regret the loss of our usefulness to the world/family/self. Although I’m mad as hell that I have this ^$*#@@& disease, I’m also relieved that my kids were somewhat older and could manage. It breaks my heart when I hear about young mothers with MS.
    Men may get more depressed if they have to give up a career, or need to rely more on someone for their basic needs, but so does the distaff side of the equation.
    I think it comes down to personalities. Men and women are certainly different (& vive la difference,) but they still share some common ground when it comes to our reactions to life’s inequities.
    Thanks for asking…

  2. Count me in the group that is angry, bitter, depressed, and have the bad attitude to go with it. My life sucks. I had to retire 3 years ago after 31 years with the State of Florida. My goal was to make it to 35 years. I had a “bucket list” of things to do when I retired, none of which I will ever be able to do. I think your lifestyle affects how you handle your MS DX. For me, I am divorced, live alone, only daughter lives in New York, and all my close friends live out of town. I had plans to travel when I retired, now due to my MS confining me to a power chair, not gonna happen. I’ve been told, “there are people worse off than you”. Sorry, that does not help me feel any better.

  3. Muff,
    Thank you for reading AND your insightful comment.

    If you spit the entire toolbox, could you save the socket set for me–I need to replace mine!

  4. Margaret,
    Thanks for sharing. It sounds corny to say “one can relate,” but I believe each of us with MS are unable to do something we love. For you it is travel, for me it is running.

    Always appreciate your comments!

  5. I was diagnosed with MS in 2003. I heppan to have begun using nicotine gum about one month ago. The results have been amazing. I’m feeling so much better I’ve considered the possibility of returning to work.This is all very new, and who knows if it will last? Nicotine is also a stimulant; I’m certain it has helped the fatigue for that reason. But it has also helped minimize the nausea and vertigo.I have to go get my son going, I’ll update with more comments as time permits.