What Is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

Learn about sensitivity or reactions to environmental pollutants

Written By Liz Oakes

Multiple chemical sensitivity is an intense sensitivity or severe reaction to environmental pollutants, and it seems to have become more prevalent over a number of years.

It is often shortened to MCS, and with the growth in this health problem more people are being diagnosed with it.

Multiple chemical sensitivityHeard of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity? Know the symptoms Of MCS?

Doctors and medical professionals of all kinds become aware of it and begin to recognize the symptoms. This may be due partly to more articles on MCS being written, which has lifted awareness.

If you have been diagnosed with this condition, it is possible that you are looking for answers as it can be very confusing and frightening at the beginning.

There are actions you can take to help yourself. Getting more knowledge about MCS and its symptoms is a good place to start.

There are now more people in the community who are reacting to chemicals, and this means more people looking for answers to their health issues.

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What Is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or MCS?

It is quite common to hear multiple chemical sensitivity called MCS or chemical sensitivity. Some people label it chemical allergy but basically it is not an allergy.

MCS is an intense sensitivity or reaction that is similar to an allergic reaction, often to environmental pollutants. These reactions are often to common household items, such as personal care products.

Although in some people these may be true allergic reactions, for many these are not reactions that can be measured by normal tests for allergy including:

  • These reactions are commonly to atmospheric pollutants that are chemical in nature.
  • Common pollutants you might be reacting to includes cigarette smoke, perfume, VOC's (volatile organic compounds), petrol, diesel or other industrial chemicals that are in, or enter your environment in the air.
  • You may also have reactions to items such as dust, dust mites or pet dander, things more often associated with allergies, and to the chemicals in food.
  • Items in food include additives deliberately added such as coloring, flavoring and preservatives.
  • As well, you may be reacting to pesticides or herbicides that enter via the food chain from non-organic agriculture.

You may get a reaction similar to the type of reactions that allergic people get, and this can be confusing if you have allergies and MCS.

However in many cases your allergy tests may come up as showing you are not allergic to a particular thing.

This may be surprising when you know you have an intense and quite debilitating reaction when you come in contact with specific chemicals.

Perfume and cigarette smoke are two common and widespread problems that sufferers commonly react to.

If you think you have multiple chemical sensitivity or MCS you may be looking for answers on how to live your life with this quite difficult problem.

One of the difficulties is that there are a large number of reactions that you may get to these environmental pollutants.

It is common for you to get a reaction where you feel terribly unwell. If you feel this way, you are not alone in having this reaction.

Do You Have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

If you are always tired, with nauseous headaches and you feel so sick that you are find it very difficult to get out of bed for days on end, this may indicate that you have MCS. 

Some of the common symptoms of MCS also have a number of issues in common with adrenal fatigue or exhaustion, and it is possible for you to have both, as they are often related. 

MCS is closely related to chronic fatigue syndrome, and a reaction to chemicals commonly causes severe fatigue.

With the growth of the number of electrical and electromagnetic devices in our society, electrical sensitivity can also occur in those with MCS.

All of these issues can be difficult to deal with but fortunately there are now a number of doctors in many countries of the world who are specializing in this problem.

If you are unable to find a specialist doctor to help you, join one of the many support groups that specialize in MCS, as they have a lot of resources, and many have lists of helpful people.

When you are housebound, because you find it hard to go anywhere without reacting to chemicals of some sort, these groups offer friendship and empathy, as they understand where you are at.

Other members of these groups may have helpful advice on how to mange your life better. Some offer online forums that discuss topics related to chemical sensitivity and how to manage it.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity... Do I Have It?

Are you are trying to discover if you have MCS? 

You may need to know that the diagnosis is often not related to whether you react to the sort of extreme levels of perfume or other chemicals that the average person finds distasteful.

It usually relates to reacting to both high and low levels of these chemicals in your environment.

If you react to perfume, and feel that you have an allergy to fragrance, these may not really be allergies at all, but sensitivity to the chemicals in the perfume.

If you have a persistent lasting reaction, that happens each and every time you have contact with a particular chemical, whether to a lot or to the tiniest amount you may have MCS.

And it is more than likely that you will react to not just one chemical, but to a number of different chemicals, which is why it is called multiple chemical sensitivity.

One of the best things to do if you react to these perfumed products is to look for alternatives to use. Look for the words fragrance free and unperfumed on bottles.

Multiple chemical sensitivity can be difficult to manage because what one person reacts to another may be able to tolerate.

To help you to heal, as much as possible use as little as you can of any products that may have suspect chemicals in them, as limiting what you come in contact with may be advantageous.

Checkout the symptoms of MCS here.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity... Manage Your Life

Managing life with multiple chemical sensitivity can be challenging and this is partly because the symptoms of MCS can mimic other illnesses.

Find a sympathetic doctor who understand chemical sensitivity as this is crucial to your getting the right sort of help.

If you also have electrical sensitivity this makes the issue even more difficult, and it is valuable to educate yourself about all possible solutions to your health issues.

Because life with MCS can be difficult, you need to acquire as much information from every source possible to help you to live as normally as possible.

Your life will need to change as you create new safer living conditions and make different choices about how you live your life.

This is why it is important, if you feel this is your problem to make your environment as safe as possible. Its about removing as many toxic sources of chemicals from your environment as possible.

Even small amounts of some chemicals may be triggers that are causing you to feel unwell. Take a totally natural health approach and begin by clearing clutter from your home. You may need the help of a friend who is not sensitive to chemicals to assist you with this.

Many people with MCS find that it is crucial to take a more natural health approach. Although MCS is not allergy, many of the natural allergy remedies may be effective to help to heal you.

If you have the symptoms of MCS or multiple chemical sensitivity, join an MCS group and get together with others who have the same health issues.

Think about joining an online support group. This may allow you to access ideas on how to manage your health issue. 

The more people who join together, the stronger your voice is, as you all work to make changes in community attitudes and conditions.

It is crucial to make your bedroom as safe as possible, and my article with information on how to sleep better gives you ideas on how to go about making this room a safe place to be, see link to this article below.

Sleeping well is so important, and being in a safe environment at night helps to give you a respite from a chemical laden world.

A good nights sleep allows you to begin to heal, and my tips to help you sleep better may also give you some ideas that may assist you.

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