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Question about odors and other triggers
10 Replies
Dipena - April 3

I'm a medical writer working on an article about fibromyalgia. I have read that odors and things like noises can trigger symptoms. Can someone with FM please describe this phenomenon? Here are some specific questions:

-Can odors trigger body pain and the full range of FM symptoms, or just something like headache? Does it have to be a bad or unpleasant odor?

-With noise, is it something like a sudden loud noise, or more like loud ambient crowd noise that triggers symptoms? As with odors, what types of symptoms might noises trigger?

Any examples would be most helpful.

Thank you so much!


tnichel - April 3

I am sensitive to noise and odor. For the most part this only happens when my symptoms are heightened. Strong odors such as certain perfumes and hairsprays are the worst. I usually end up with a headache if I'm around strong odors. Most of the odors I would say are unpleasant. But even good odors that are really strong can bother me. Noise is also bothersome. Like right now. I work in a room with about 20 people. And the multiple loud conversations drive me crazy! It agitates (makes me want to scream or run to a quiet spot) me to say the least but doesn't trigger a headache or pain. If I'm already not feeling good the noise can make my headache worse. Sometime loud music or a loud t.v. is bothersome. Also low noises like a ticking clock, a cell phone beeping in a drawer or the hum of equipment, people breathing loudly will drive me to the point of insanity more so than loud noises. I think fibros tend to have a heightened sense of smell and hearing. Stuff that others normally don't hear or smell can drive us crazy. I hope this helps.


Wonka - April 4

Both odors (strong) and noise make me get the fight or flight response and then I have trouble keeping my anxiety down ( I go into overload). It is a really uncomfortable sensation. I will also start to get headaches if this goes on too long.


VVickers - April 21

My sense of smell is not that great but the noise will make me want to run for my life. I call it the "indirect" noise. It's all the little day to day noise that sometimes makes me want to jump off a roof.


PEGGY - April 29



bharmon - April 29

Dianne: I have been a FMS patient for 15 years and now at the age of 61 I have really taken a turn for the worse. My doctor is not very symphathetic but I hear that is not uncommon. I have a host of ailments but with FMS comes digestive problems (acid reflux with me). As my FMS gets worse odors cause me to have breathing problems and I start coughing and often get chocked. Lots of mucous but I've been tested for Asthma and they say that I don't have it. FMS is really an auto immune problem that affects the whole body's functions. With the immune system being out of wack we are very suseptible to odors, viruses, heat and cold, among many other ailments. We are anxious about everything and I think that it is because we have so much to deal with. The more I cough/choke the worse my pain in my lower back so I guess that yes, odors can make us worse. Hope this helps you. bharmon


Fantod - April 30

I react very badly to noise. I become almost irrational whenever I am subjected to loud noise - as example: loud bass response from a passing car. My flight or fight response goes right off of the chart. Overall body pain ratchets way up too and stays that way for quite awhile. I have also had the same reaction in a crowded setting. I suppose I would describe myself as generally noise intolerant and hypersensitive to it. Personally, I do not have a problem with odor at this time.


VictoriaB - May 27

I have always had an incredible sense of smell due to some hearing loss as a child but now I have these really strange experiences of smelling things that aren't I will smell certain foods as if they are chicken or chocolate pie(which is a good thing) or smells from my childhood like Johnson's baby lotion or Jergens lotion that my parents used. I thought maybe I was lsing it..........but I get headaches every day.


LOVE2SHOP - May 28

I have found that loud noises, when I am tired, increase my pain. I just can't tolerate loud commercials, etc in the evenings if I am tired.


Brenda L - June 13

The smell of raspberry makes me nauseous and gives me a headache if I'm around it too long.


charliebrown08 - June 20

I do not have any sensitivities to noise, but I am extremely sensitive to odors. The worst is cigarette smoke (I can smell it when no one else can), perfumes, lotions, sprays, cleaning items. Ido not get headaches, just get stuffed up and start coughing, sometimes to the point of throwing up phlem. I know from experience tha I have a buildup of yeast and need to do a candida cleanse and I then am not so greatly affected by odors. My body is very stressed after a coughing spell and my pain level will shoot up drastically. Hope this helps someone.



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