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What are the usual symptoms of Superficial Siderosis and what other side effects are there?

Superficial Siderosis symptoms

There are three classic symptoms: hearing problems, loss of balance and myelopathy (impaired spinal cord activity) but the list of issues Superficial Siderosis can cause is long and as individual as the person who has it.

For more information about individual symptoms, please see our Q&A pages with the specialist Dr Levy (see hearing, balance, bowel & bladder problems and other symptoms) but if you need more specific information, please drop us a line and we'll pass your question on.

The advice, as always, is to discuss any symptoms with your doctor to ensure they are Superficial Siderosis related and to explore possible treatment.

Many thanks to Dave Hill's informative website and blog from which this list has been taken.

Side effects can include:


  • Hearing loss

  • Ataxia (impaired balance)

  • Dementia

  • Loss of bladder & bowel control

  • Anosmia (loss of ability to smell)

  • Sensory signs (failure of the senses)

  • Anisocoria (one pupil of the eye is larger than the other)

  • Bilateral sciatica (pain down the backs of both legs from the sciatica nerve in the lower spine)

  • Headaches and/or migraines

  • Change of sleeping patterns (irregular or interrupted sleep, or may be the opposite – long periods of sound sleep)

  • Loss of taste

  • Muscle cramps

  • Double vision and other vision complications

  • Cranial nerve palsies

  • Imaginary pains, smells, tastes and sounds

  • Failure of the senses

  • Double sciatica

  • Mini strokes

  • Seizures

  • Speech difficulty

  • Nystagmus (involuntary eye movements)

  • Numbness and pain in parts of the body, especially feet

  • Swallowing difficulties

  • Failure to feel pain in the teeth

  • Parkinson’s type leg and hand wobbles

  • Inability to control emotions – anger, sorrow, etc.

  • Intolerance and uncertainty to heat and cold; may feel roasting hot, but are actually cold

  • Failure of sexual organs – inability to arouse an erection, or no feeling of satisfaction for females

  • Oscillopsia - a visual disturbance in which objects in the visual field appear to oscillate - the severity of the effect may range from a mild blurring to rapid and periodic jumping)

If you think this list is not complete or if you'd like to add your own symptoms to it, please get in touch. Thank you.

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