Q. I have bowel changes, frequent urination, pins and needles and vision problem. Do I have MS?

Answered by
Dr. Aida Quka
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 20, 2020 and last reviewed on: Jan 21, 2021

Hello doctor,

Chronic history of health anxiety due to my dad’s death (aged 40). I have this anxiety for nearly 10 years since my son was born. I think of seeing a psychotherapist and I have catastrophic thinking and cancer-phobia.

I have bowel symptoms for one year with urgency after meals and during exercise urgency, watery diarrhea, constant changes in size and consistency, very unpredictable. I have periods of acid reflux, chest tightnedd, and redness on cheeks.

I searched myself that it was a neuroendocrine tumour with carcinoid syndrome. Exhaustively investigated by a gastroenterologist, MRI lumbar spine, upper abdomen, lower abdomen, blood and urine tests shows no abnormality. Neuroendocrine specialist performed a CT of thorax, abdomen and pelvis (with contrast) again, and it is completely normal. Carcinoid syndrome ruled out and discharged bowel problems now are very intermittent, but accepted the diagnosis of sensitive bowel.

I started on Amitriptyline for IBS and anxiety/depression and developed frequent urination, pins and needles (no numbness) and my eyes felt heavy (no vision loss, double vision etc). So I put down the Amitriptyline. I discontinued it due to the side effects and my marriage split up during lockdown. By this point, the two-year gradual anxiety, depression, internet searching, COVID worries had become simply a way of life and peaked in with the breakdown of the marriage.

All the symptoms went away, agreed to give the marriage another go and moved back into the family home. Before two months my symptoms returned. This is followed by a period of tremendous anxiety at home and work, emotional upset and stress.

I searched about vision problems, frequent urination, pins and needles and it came out as MS. Am I searching the right symptoms? That is putting a lot of pressure on my marriage just at a time when we are near a reconciliation.

Current symptoms:

Most bothersome is the frequent urination. I spoke to a couple of GPs who diagnosed anxiety and prostatitis. I have had prostatitis before and it does feel similar. Increased frequency, sometimes every four hours, sometimes every two hours, if I have a lot of fluid (non-alcoholic beer) then every 30 minutes. It tends to get worse as the day goes on. Even after I have gone, I got a nagging urge to go again quite soon afterwards although I can hold it. Stream is sometimes fast, sometimes slow, some post-voiding dribbling.

I have balanitis. While sitting down or lying, intermittent pain e.g. heaviness in scrotum, anal, perenium, tip of penis, golf-ball feeling – pain is intermittent, and I feel intense pressure in my pelvis. Doctor said it was prostatitis but antibiotics did not do much.

Pins and needles largely gone. No associated weakness and it does not affect my walking. If I have been asleep on my hand in the morning it goes away within seconds, lying cross-legged goes away within seconds.

Regarding vision, I do not have double vision, no loss of vision, no blurred vision, no colour loss or pain or involuntary eye movements or anything like that. It is a very vague feeling of them being not quite right in terms of dry, heavy like there is tension behind them, and nothing is out of focus. Opticians did a few tests, nothing untoward found at all other than dry eyes and my vision had got a little bit worse.

I contracted COVID-19 infection last month. I have muscle aches, headache, bowels were terrible and I became severely dehydrated and ended up in hospital with dehydration, although all blood tests were normal, SATS dropped below 80 due to the dehydration.

Post COVID my symptoms returned with brain fog. Everything feels a bit harder, and I am a bit slower, clumsy and tired and my short-term memory is not as great and I feel like I am operating at 70%, lightheadedness rather than dizzy. All the symptoms together, I keep searching about MS and some things fit, some things don’t. I need an expert help. Do I have MS, or B12 deficiency, or Sjogrens syndrome, or stress and anxiety, or IBS? Do I need a brain scan or not?



Welcome to

I can understand your concern and explain that your symptoms suggest anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome. I do not think you need to perform a brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scan.

I would recommend checking thyroid hormone levels, vitamin B12, and vitamin D plasma levels for possible deficiency. In the meantime, I would recommend starting Fluvoxamine 100 mg at bedtime (start a low dose and gradually increase up to 100 mg at bedtime).

I am sure that you will feel better in a couple of weeks.

Thank you doctor,

If you do not think it is MS, that is reassuring, and I can pursue the blood tests you have suggested.



Welcome back to

I do not think that this is anything serious or MS. My advice is to stop googling on the internet, as the information is extensive and nonspecific and may be misleading. Besides, it can cause anxiety and mimic (simulate) the symptoms you read about. This is also called medical student disease.

I recommend checking the above blood lab tests to exclude a metabolic disorder (thyroid gland dysfunction, vitamin B12, or vitamin D deficiency).

I hope this helps.

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