MCSS with Non-Identifiable Exposure

About 40% of people suffering from MCSS are unable to recall being exposed to chemicals in any large quantities. Therefore, this type of MCSS has no identifiable root exposure. Most people with fibromyalgia suffer from this type of MCSS.

Symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome

Symptoms of MCSS can be numerous, and tend to wax and wane in intensity. Most sufferers notice that they become more sensitive over time and are their symptoms are triggered by an increasing number of chemicals and products.

Keep an eye out for these symptoms if you think you might have MCSS:

  • runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat, and other cold-like symptoms
  • nausea and diarrhea
  • abdominal cramping
  • aching muscles and joints
  • earache
  • fatigue and difficulty sleeping
  • scalp pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • migraines and headaches
  • difficulty concentrating

Occasionally, sufferers of MCSS will experience other symptoms that may be indicative of an environmental sensitivity.

These include:

  • problems with balance
  • sensitivity to loud noises
  • increased sensitivity to bright lights
  • sensitivity to weather changes
  • sensitivity to electromagnetic fields

Causes of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome

No one is really sure what actually causes chemical sensitivity. Many researchers regard the syndrome as a psychological rather than a physical problem. Others see MCSS as being very similar to fibromyalgia, and feel that there may be a neurological problem that is causing the sensitivity.

To date, there has been no conclusive evidence to support any one theory, although a variety of theories have been presented, including:

Neural Sensitization Theory: This theory suggests that MCSS may share a similar cause to fibromyalgia. Studies have shown that a deficiency in neural synapses in the brain may be causing extreme sensitivity to certain chemicals and foods.

Neural synapses are responsible for stimulating nerve cells in the brain. Synapses in people with MCSS show abnormal electrical activity and may actually be overly sensitive.

Nitric Oxide Theory: This theory rests on the similarity of MCSS and chronic fatigue syndrome. Both of these syndromes share similar symptoms and therefore may share a similar cause.

Nitric oxide helps the brain to react to sensitivity. Certain solvents actually increase the levels of nitric oxide in the brain, causing it to overreact to certain stimuli. This is what causes extreme sensitivity to certain products.

Misattribution Theory: The misattribution theory views MCSS as a result of anxiety and depression, both of which are common among fibromyalgia sufferers.

Studies performed on people with MCSS illustrate high levels of panic and anxiety when they were exposed to chemicals. It may be this panic and anxiety that is actually causing the manifestation of symptoms.


Table of Contents
1. Chemical Sensitivity
2. Environmental sensitivity
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