The Social Security Administration recognizes Multiple Sclerosis as a chronic illness that, in some cases, may be severe enough to keep a person from working. An advanced form of MS, known as Malignant Multiple Sclerosis, is listed in the SSA’s fast track Compassionate Allowances program. Generally, MS is a condition that damages the myelin sheath, a layer of material that covers a person’s nerve fibers. Researchers still have not found the cause of MS, but many believe that the immune system is involved in attacking the myelin sheath.
Roughly 400,000 people suffer from MS in the United States. While medical professionals continue to search for the cause, researchers say that a hormone that is typically found in pregnant women may provide relief for some people with MS. Researchers have noted over the years that women with MS have reported reduced symptoms of MS during pregnancy.
National Public Radio recently chronicled the experience of a Woodland Hills, California, woman who noticed that her symptoms from MS went away during her pregnancy. She experienced other issues, such as morning sickness. But, she reported her experience concerning her MS symptoms to doctors at UCLA. The neurologists had heard similar accounts from other women.
Researchers have known of the link between pregnancy and a reduction of MS symptoms for years; research in the late 90s confirmed the link, according to NPR. More recently, however, the research has led to a new experimental drug that doctors say may help ease the symptoms of MS patients. The drug is based on a form of estrogen, known as estriol, which is abundant during pregnancy.
The drug is still in the development process, which includes trial and studies, before it can be approved by the FDA.
Source: NPR, “Pregnancy Hormone May Reduce Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms,” Jon Hamilton, June 2, 2014