Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Many patients with allergies also experience adverse reactions to multiple chemicals. Reactions to chemicals can involve several symptoms that come and go depending on the nature of the exposure.
Patients can react to a wide variety of synthetic chemicals, ranging from scented perfumes and colognes, to disinfectants, pesticides, and combustion products (cigarette smoke, car exhaust).
Symptoms vary and can include:
- Myalgia (muscle pain)
- Respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal complaints
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity can develop differently in different people. Chemical sensitivity often seems to gradually grow from a history of more usual inhalant and food allergies. Other times, it happens more suddenly when someone has had a large exposure to a single chemical compound (like a pesticide spray).
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a controversial illness, and doctors currently disagree as to its cause. There are several theories of its cause, but these remain to be proven.
The present MCS treatment mainstays involve two key principles:
- Avoid the offending chemical(s)
- Treat the underlying medical illnesses that stress the system (such as biological inhalant and food allergies)
Other treatments, including supportive nutrients, may be helpful. Many times, if underlying hidden allergies are found and treated with sublingual immunotherapy, patients will better tolerate offending chemicals.