Q. Is multiple sclerosis hereditary?

Answered by
Dr. Ajay Panwar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 27, 2015 and last reviewed on: Oct 19, 2022

Hello doctor,

I am a 28 year old female, I would like to know if multiple sclerosis is hereditary? My dad has it, and I am very nervous to inherit this disease. I have had two brain MRI's that have been normal, except for an incidental finding of a pineal gland cyst. I continue to worry about inheriting multiple sclerosis. I am a medical coder. So, I spend a great deal of time in front of the computer. This affects my vision, and I experience back and thigh pain. I am hoping this is due to sitting down all day. I also have a slight hand tremor. However, I am a very anxious person, and I type fast all day long. I wonder if typing all day could cause a hand tremor?

I am very active and energetic. I exercise 5 days a week for an hour doing treadmill and stair climbing. I spent a great deal of time this weekend hunched over painting. I am wondering if this is what is causing my current thigh and back pain? I am also due to start my periods anytime. I am still worrying about inheriting multiple sclerosis. What are your thoughts on the possibility of still having multiple sclerosis with two negative brain MRI's?



Welcome to

I understand your concern. It is clear that you are not having MS (Multiple sclerosis) as of date. None of your symptoms are typical of multiple sclerosis. Back and thigh pain is posture related and tremors are anxiety related. Repeated MRI's being normal further rules out this disease.

Agreed that multiple sclerosis can be hereditary. If one of the parents is having multiple sclerosis, chances of the offspring having multiple sclerosis are 1 in 50. Since you are having no symptoms and your brain MRI is normal, you need not worry about it. Please be assured that you are fine.

Thank you doctor,

Could pineal cyst cause symptoms of multiple sclerosis? What are the typical symptoms of multiple sclerosis? Do you recommend me to continue to get MRI's of the brain to keep track of this? What do you recommend for someone who is sensitive to medication to treat anxiety? I have tried Xanax (Alprazolam) and it was way too strong for me. Please help.



Welcome back to

Here are your answers. No, pineal cyst does not usually cause symptoms unless it is very large in size, causing mass effect on other nearby structures. No, it is not recommended to get serial MRI's done without any clinical symptoms typical for multiple sclerosis. Clonazepam 0.25 mg once a day at bedtime may be taken. Please take all medicines under a physician's guidance.

Typical symptoms of multiple sclerosis are:

  1. Limb weakness.
  2. Sensory loss in limbs.
  3. Vision loss or optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve).
  4. Paresthesias (abnormal sensation like tingling).
  5. Ataxia or incoordination of body movements.

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