Men make up about one-third of the multiple sclerosis (MS) population. That means twice as many women as men have MS worldwide. Maybe it’s natural for men with MS to sometimes feel like they get less of the spotlight.
The symptoms of MS can affect men differently. MS can often hit them harder than it does women. How men deal with MS can be different, too. It can be challenging for men to overcome feelings of isolation, but doing so may help them make well-informed decisions.
What else can men do?
Men with MS (and women, too) often find attending a support group, where they can hear and learn from other people who have gone through some of the same experiences, beneficial. However, some men may find it easier opening up about personal “guy-stuff” subjects in a group of their own. Your healthcare provider or the
A support group can be a place for you to connect with other guys; talk safely about your experiences living with MS, and share stories, support, and advice with men who are going through similar experiences.
If you’re a man with MS and you’re more comfortable speaking your mind with the guys, that’s okay. You may feel isolated if you’re no longer able to do their usual activities, such as playing sports. Self-esteem can also take a hit if MS affects employment status. It’s important to find ways to communicate.
Some men minimize their symptoms, which can make it harder for the physician to assess what’s going on. Make sure you’re open and direct with your healthcare provider and family about the ways MS impacts your life.
More considerations for men with MS
Men with MS may have less awareness of their symptoms and treatment options
Noticing, and evaluating, their symptoms can help men be more in touch with what they’re going through and more aware of their options.
Men with MS are less likely than women to believe in their ability to continue daily activities
Seeing all of the great things that people living with MS have achieved, and continue to achieve every day, may help lift some of the darkness that can come with MS.
Men with MS might need more help than women when managing the emotional side of MS
Bottling up or ignoring the emotional consequences of MS won’t make those feelings go away.
There are resources available to men to learn more about living with MS, but the first step is to speak up. Help is always available—but not without asking for it.
Tips for men:
- Talk about what you’re feeling! Don’t try to tough it out alone
- Share what you’re going through with your healthcare provider and your family
- Look for a local men’s MS support group if you feel like talking to guys who can relate