What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

MCS or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

is a condition in which an individual shows several physiological auto immune responses when exposed to a wide range of chemicals. It is usually a severe hypersensitivity or an allergy-like reaction to different kinds of pollutants in the environment. Commonly suspected chemicals causing this problem would be found in perfumes, gasoline, diesel, smoke, pesticides, plastics, synthetic fabrics, paints, cleaning products, nail polishes, hair spray, makeup, heavy metals, artificial hormones in food, food additives etc.
This toxicant induced loss of tolerance is grossly under reported as it is often difficult to correlate the symptoms to any particular chemical exposure. However, a study shows that around 2-10% of citizens in the United States suffer from symptoms of this condition.

The US Environmental Protection Agency reports that about 33.33% of people working in sealed enclosures report being allergic to one or more common chemicals.

What are the symptoms of MCS?

The symptoms vary in individuals depending on the frequency, intensity and exposure to the irritants. However, the most common symptoms are discussed below:

  • Gastrointestinal Problems

    – Vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, belching, acid reflux, abdominal pain.

  • Respiratory Problems

    – Sneeze attacks, congestion, excessive mucous, persistent cough, Sinus problems, Hay fever, gagging, uneasiness in throat, hoarseness and voice loss, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath.

  • Skin Problems

    – Skin rashes, acne, hive, itches, redness and swelling, dry and dull skin, hair loss, fever boils and canker sores in lips.

  • Muscular Problems

    – Arthritis, joint pains and inflammation, stiffness and body aches.

  • Cardiovascular problems

    – Chest pain, hypertension, palpitations of the heart, irregular beating and pounding of the heart.

  • Psychological problems

    – Mood swings, anxiety, depression, fear, nervousness, confusion, slurred speech, learning disabilities, poor memory and concentration.

  • Physiological problems

    – Headaches, nausea, insomnia, dizziness, fatigue, sluggishness, restlessness, susceptibility to infections.

  • Urological problems

    – Abnormal discharge, itching, frequent urination, susceptibility to urinary tract infection.

  • Fertility problems

    – Fertility disorders because of impaired functioning or disability of the reproductive organs.

What is the prognosis of MCS?

It is one of the most misunderstood ailments of the recent times. Correlating the symptoms to the possible irritants causing them is the real challenge. Modern day industrial pollution makes it impossible to lead a life free of such toxicants.
Multiple chemical sensitivity sufferers find it very hard to be symptom free as the symptoms are almost the same from a wide range of chemicals. So taking away one irritant from the environment does not improve the symptoms.
This condition is actually a derived outcome of modern day advancement, industrialization and increased pollution.

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