My 25 year old son was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS when he was 22 years old. He had two symptom flare ups prior to being diagnosed. He started an oral medication almost immediately and thankfully has been symptom free. I have a 19 year old daughter (not diagnosed with MS) who is a Div 1 athlete that has inconsistent periods and at times heavy. She has been advised to try a form of birth control to help control her cycle. My concern is that she is a woman and has a sibling diagnosed with MS which puts her at a higher risk of getting MS. And, various articles suggest certain birth control forms can raise women's risk of getting MS. That makes three things that could be triggers for her. Could you suggest the best/safest form of birth control that she could try? And, any other information that could be useful in helping her make a decision. Trying to be pro-active. Thank you for making this site available!
Good question! In general her risk is low to begin with. In general the relative risk associated with birth control is low, but there are none that have been proven to be more or less risky. The one thing that has been shown to lower the risk of MS is to have sufficient blood levels of vitamin D, so taking a supplement and following levels with your physician would be useful.
Benjamin M. Greenberg, MD, MHS
Vice Chair of Translational Research and Ambulatory Care
Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics
Director, Transverse Myelitis, Neuromyelitis Optica Programs
Co-Director, Pediatric CONQUER Program
UT Southwestern Medical Center