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Theories abound about multiple chemical sensitivity

Thursday 15 July 2010

Mehmet Oz, M.D. (right) and Michael Roizen, M.D. (left)
Mehmet Oz, M.D. (right), is featured on
XM satellite radio's "Oprah & Friends"
and Michael Roizen, M.D. (left),
was a chairman of the anesthesia
and critical care department at the
University of Chicago.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Theories abound about multiple chemical sensitivity

YOU DOCS | Is it a psychogenic disorder, genuine allergy or charlatan's delight?

July 14, 2010


I'm so allergic to perfume that I can't even go to a department store without suffering for days afterward. I feel like a hermit. I reacted to so many things on my allergy tests, even sterile water, that the doctor gave up for fear of making me worse. Will anything help?

A. You probably have multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) syndrome. Depending on whom you see for help, it may be treated as a genuine allergy, a psychogenic disorder (physical symptoms with a psychological cause), or a get-rich-quick opportunity by a charlatan who promises a pricey cure.

Why low-level, nontoxic exposure to certain substances can cause fatigue, weakness, dizziness, depression, headaches, joint pain or other MCS symptoms in you but not in your neighbor has long stumped immunology experts.

Theories abound: That we've flooded the world with so many chemicals and scents that it's amazing more people aren't like you. That in some people, one chemical sensitivity evolves to many. That repeated exposure to irritants increases your reaction. That MCS is linked to depression and anxiety. Or that you're just highly sensitive to scents.

MCS may be a mystery, but you don't have to live like a hermit. Your best hope for relief is to seek the help of a holistic-minded doc who will consider all explanations for your condition, from chemicals to stress, and treat each symptom one by one.

The above originally appeared here.


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