Toxin overload: If you’re allergic to everything you may be labeled with the new catchall diagnosis, MCS
11/10/2017 // Janine Acero // Views

If inhaling everyday cleaning products or simply someone's perfume makes your eyes water or your nose runny in an instant, or gives you a rush of nausea, you may be one of the people suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), according to a report by the Daily Mail. This illness, also known as idiopathic environmental intolerances (IEI), has not been researched extensively but specialists are claiming that it must be taken seriously as sufferers tend to live with severe symptoms, 80 percent of which are women.

People diagnosed with MCS react negatively to small concentrations of a variety of odors such as perfumes, tobacco smoke, pesticides, laundry detergents, air fresheners, and common cleaning products. It is common knowledge that exposure to high amounts of these chemicals can make anyone sick, but even a whiff of common odors is harmful to an MCS patient. They also exhibit these symptoms upon exposure to certain drugs, foods, pollen, and molds. (Related: Allergy season: 8 powerful Herbal Treatments for Allergy Relief.)

The symptoms are typically vague and wide-ranging, but can nonetheless be debilitating – these include headache, nausea, dizziness, skin rash, fatigue, diarrhea, joint pain, muscle pain, breathing problems, seizures, and an irregular heartbeat. People diagnosed with MCS also experience irritability, sleep disturbances, problems with concentration, anxiety, and depression. Children with MCS also suffer from red lesions on the cheeks, red ears, hyperactivity, dark circles under the eyes and learning, behavior problems, and even seizures following exposure to these chemicals. These symptoms might last for weeks and affect people from all backgrounds and of all ages.


MCS expert Dr. Martin Pall thinks the disease is related to hormone regulation, which is why it affects one sex more than the other. “The best evidence on this gender ratio comes not from studies of MCS but rather studies of the related disease, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),” according to Dr. Pall. “In CFS sufferers who were diagnosed before puberty the gender ratio is close to one to one. In sufferers diagnosed after puberty the ratio is close to four females to one male. That argues for a hormonal affect.”

Dr. Pall further explained that the symptoms change when women become pregnant and after giving birth, supporting his theory that hormones play a key role in this illness. He also thinks that this “gender bias” affects the judgment of psychogenic claimants to write off the disease as “not a real illness” because majority of the sufferers are women.

Dr. Pall warned that even though the symptoms may be vague, MCS patients still go through devastating ordeals and it is important for doctors and the society to treat it as a serious medical condition.

“It would take hours to convey the depth of the heartbreaking consequences of those who have more severe MCS,” said Dr. Pall.

According to another MCS expert Dr. Lisa Nagy, three to five percent of the population are 'disabled' by chemical sensitivity, and 30 percent of elderly people are sensitive to chemicals. Dr. Nagy also believes that most people do not realize that they have MCS when it starts, and generally have no idea what to call their symptoms.

Dr Nagy said that since the disease can be triggered by exposures to various chemicals, patients should be wary of the following places:

  • The detergent aisle of the grocery store;
  • In close proximity to a friend's perfume;
  • In close proximity to diesel exhaust; and
  • Smoking sections of public places

Read more about harmful chemicals and allergens at

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