Glossary beginning with U

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Uhthoff's phenomenon

Refers to the temporary changes in symptoms many people with MS have due to heat. It was named after Dr Uthoff, a German eye specialist, who noticed that people with optic neuritis had worse symptoms when they were exercising.

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Unlicensed treatment

Most medicines used in the UK have a licence that says exactly how it can be used. If it is used in a way that does not meet the strict rules set out in the licence, this is described as ‘unlicensed use’ or off-label use.

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Unproven treatments

Treatments that have not undergone clinical trials, and have no clinical evidence to prove they work.

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Urinary frequency

Urinary frequency describes the need to empty the bladder on a very regular basis. It is a common symptom of MS, caused by damage to the nerves associated with the bladder muscles.

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Urinary urgency

This term describes an inability to ‘hold on’ – one of the effects of an overactive bladder along with ‘frequency’ – a need to urinate frequently. For many people with MS, when the nerve pathways in the spine are interrupted, faulty reflexes can appear so that even a small amount of urine in the bladder causes it to contract.

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