Buy Tickets To ICE Ball 2017 - Click Here!

Back to Top

Relapsing Remitting (RRMS)

Relapsing Remitting (RRMS)

People with relapsing remitting MS have attacks of symptoms which then ease up partially or fully. The majority of people with MS, around 85 percent, are diagnosed with RRMS.

Understanding and labelling relapsing remitting MS can help you to investigate your condition and to find the best treatments, and can help you to explain and discuss your condition with others, however it does not dictate exactly how your MS will affect you. People with this type of MS may have diferent experiences to others with RRMS.

Relapsing remitting MS is usually the way that MS begins for most people. The exception to this is those with primary progressive MS, however this is only around 15 percent of all people diagnosed with MS.

What is a relapse?

A relapse is defined by "the appearance of new symptoms, or the return of old symptoms, for a period of 24 hours or more – in the absence of a change in core body temperature or infection". A relapse may mean symptoms you have previously experienced may appear in a different part of the body.

In a relapse, the symptoms may appear quickly, over days or even hours. The symptoms usually stay for around four to six weeks however this can vary significantly.

When acute relapses occur they can vary in severity. Often relapses can be managed at home with the support of healthcare professionals however some relapses may require hospital treatment.

Symptoms do not have to be continuous to be considered a relapse; symptoms which come and go are also included. 

Will I recover completely from a relapse?

People can recover well from a relapse and will be in complete remission. This is not always the case however, and some relapses will leave you with some lingering symptoms. This depends on the severity of the damage to myelin. The more severe the damage, the more likely it is that symptoms will remain, however these symptoms can still improve over time.

What causes a relapse?

It is difficult to say what brings on relapses as different factors affect people in different ways. Things which may trigger a relapse for one person may not apply to someone else, meaning it is hard to give specific advice on how to reduce the risk of relapses. Some people with MS do feel however that they can identify certain things which trigger a relapse for them personally.


Although there is no definitive evidence that stress can increase the risk of a relapse, there have been many studies investigating this and many experts agree that stress can be a contributing factor.


Infections can make a relapse more likely. Bacterial infections, for example bladder infection, are common triggers, therefore it is important that you have any infections treated as soon as possible. 


After a pregnancy, there is an increased risk of a relapse in the months after childbirth. However, some women with MS do report that they have fewer relapses during their pregnancy. Again, Multiple Sclerosis affects everyone differently and there is no definitive 'common experience', however you can discuss the possible effects of pregnancy and childbirth on your MS with your healthcare professional.

 Managing Relapses

 Primary Progressive (PPMS)