welcome to the forum kelly
i'm chiming in from the nutrition corner
re your history, for me moms of multiple children with ms always wave really big red flags re nutrition. for example zinc commonly suboptimal with links to a wide variety of diseases. it is depleted in childbirth and associated with optic neuritis if not outright blindness.
stress also depleted important nutrients known to be suboptimal in ms patients. this link will take you to some relevant scientific studies i posted earlier today on a different thread:general-discussion-f1/topic21148.html#p200639
if i may ask, what sort of surgery did your eldest require?
to your question re stress and flare ups, i would say it's certainly possible in a sort of downward spiral sort of way. poor diet and stress can deplete nutrient levels to the point of anxiety, increased stress, more nutrient loss, etc. nutrient status has been shown to be lower in ms patients in relapse as compared to remission. one indirect example i can think of is uric acid, which averages 230 in ms patients in remission, 160 in patients in relapse, and 290 in healthy controls. uric acid is positively correlated with serum zinc status. from which we can reasonably infer that low zinc and relapse are associated.
re heat tolerance, i can't get full text access for these studies and the abstracts are uninformative, but here are a couple of study titles which at least show an association between nutrition status and heat tolerance
-The influence of nutritional ergogenic aids on exercise heat tolerance and hydration status
-Effects of altered vitamin and mineral nutritional status on temperature regulation and thermogenesis in the cold
consider iron and zinc status for the alopecia
Decreased Serum Ferritin is Associated With Alopecia inWomenhttp://www.uphs.upenn.edu/dermatol/facu ... tinjid.pdf
"...We found that the mean ferritin level (ng/ml [95% confidence intervals]) in patients with androgenetic alopecia (37.3 [28.4, 46.1]) and alopecia areata (24.9 [17.2, 32.6]) were statistically significantly lower than in normals without hairloss (59.5 [40.8, 78.1])."
The Therapeutic Effect and the Changed Serum Zinc Level after Zinc Supplementation in Alopecia Areata Patients Who Had a Low Serum Zinc Levelhttp://synapse.koreamed.org/DOIx.php?id ... vmode=FULL
"Fifteen alopecia areata patients ... serum zinc levels increased significantly from 56.9 µg/ to 84.5 µg/dl. Positive therapeutic effects were observed for 9 out of 15 patients (66.7%) ...
Zinc supplementation needs to be given to the alopecia areata patients who have a low serum zinc level."
(personally i try to keep my ferritin levels up around 100 ng/ml, and my zinc levels up around 18 nmol/L or 118 µg/dl...
also, a friend of mine used to have to shave her head b/c her hair was so patchy.. i got her taking zinc and magnesium after which her anxiety level dropped like a rock, and her hair grew back in. these were just beneficial side effects of taking these nutrients for other reasons entirely)
as for aching joints, there are connections to vitamin d3 and magnesium. i can provide studies if you'd like scientific backing for that statement.
i personally used to be extremely forgetful. i asked for a zinc test and was markedly deficient. since correcting the zinc deficiency my memory is better than in years, decades even.
as for migraines, there is lots of info out there on dietary and nutritional strategies for migraine. i have only gotten 2 migraines and they are certainly NO FUN. have not had one in many years though. question: what are your migraines like, typically? do you feel it in a particular part of your head? do they affect one side more than the other?
on to the bowel incontinence:
The effect of severe zinc deficiency on serum levels of albumin, transferrin, and prealbumin in manhttp://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/34/9/1655.short
"....All patients had a depressed serum zinc concentration .... Many patients had additional clinical manifestations of zinc deficiency (impaired immune function, diarrhea, and mental dysfunction...)"
so, if you feel inclined, you can request bloodwork for serum zinc, magnesium, vitamin d3, and ferritin. whether or not the results come back 'normal', if you bring the actual results here (numbers w units) here we could provide some feedback
my approach: no meds so far - just nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory whole foods, and supplements where needed
info: www.whfoods.com, www.nutritiondata.com