Why is MCS more prevalent in women than men?
Chemical intolerance is more common in women than in men which may, in part, be explained by female hormonal imbalance. Today we are going to be looking at ideas that may help women, in particular, to maintain a better hormonal equilibrium in order to relieve symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).
If you’re someone who suffers from:
- frequent headaches
- extreme tiredness
- brain fog
- mental confusion
- mood changes
and other physical symptoms of MCS after breathing in perfume, car exhaust, cigarette smoke and new carpet and upholstery, then you may be wondering how and why this all started.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is the term given to an unexplained phenomenon where individuals seem unable to tolerate chemical smells, and exposure to toxic substances makes them physically sick.
MCS is not officially recognized by some health organizations. However, there are now such significant numbers of people who believe that they are suffering from this condition, that it’s being explored by medical and natural health professionals with the intention of finding a cause, and bringing relief.
One avenue of possibility for MCS, or environmental illness as it was known in the 1980s, is hormonal imbalance. We know that women seem especially vulnerable to developing sensitivities, particularly to chemical odors.
If you are a woman who feels sick and tired enough to want to call out sick from work after breathing in fumes from solvents, as well as perfumes, new furniture, salon chemicals, pesticides and new carpet, then it may be worth making some self-observations in an effort to identify the cause.
The menstrual cycle and MCS
One possibility is that the increase in hormones as a woman progresses through her monthly menstrual cycle, may contribute to MCS symptoms and increase reactions after breathing in certain odors.
Progesterone levels begin to rise steadily in a woman’s body over the 2 weeks after she ovulates.
With this change comes anticipated physiological symptoms, or PMS as most of us know it.
In preparation for the possibility of a pregnancy, progesterone causes increased hunger, tiredness, sluggishness, water retention and often headaches and digestive disturbances.
If you’re a woman who tracks your menstrual cycle, then it may be worth paying attention to your sensitivity to smells and whether or not the symptoms seem to worsen over the course of this last 2 weeks of your menstrual cycle.
If you do happen to notice that, along with the usual litany of PMS complaints, your olfactory senses seem to increase along with your reactions to various odors, you might just want to make some lifestyle changes to bring yourself some relief.
How can I maintain hormonal balance to relieve MCS?
Here are some ideas for how to maintain hormone balance and reduce symptoms of chemical sensitivity:
Make healthy eating choices
There are certainly some known ways to alleviate PMS symptoms which may also work to reduce chemical sensitivity:
- reduce the amount of sugar and fatty or processed junk foods you have
- increase your intake of vegetables
- try juicing fresh vegetable and fruits,
These may be effective ways to help the body rid itself of a hormonal toxin burden more quickly.
If you enjoy vegetarian meals now and then, the last two weeks of your menstrual cycle could be a good time to experiment with cooking your favorite, legume- and veggie-rich meals.
In the same way that you’re able to sweat away the pounds, you can also use cardio exercise to detox your body faster.
Flushing away the hormones along with any offending toxic substances you may have come into contact with, can do a lot to ease your discomfort.
During the two weeks before your period, make an extra effort to get out for a run or an aerobic workout such as Zumba each day.
Try natural progesterone cream
Natural progesterone is effective because much of the synthetic substances and chemicals that are present in:
- our environment (the air we breathe)
- the food we eat
- the products we apply to our face, hair and bodies
- the clothes we wear
are estrogenic in nature.
This type of estrogen is actually a marauder that mimics real estrogen manufactured in the body, known as xenoestrogen.
Xenoestrogens take up space in the cell receptors of your body where your own estrogen would normally reside.
As a consequence, most women, especially as they age (when the delicate hormone balance is more likely to be upset), tend toward being estrogen dominant and don’t even know that this is the case.
This can cause a number of unpleasant side effects.
The good news is that the natural progesterone creams are highly effective if used correctly.
Just don’t confuse natural progesterone with its synthetic cousin, which can cause serious health issues.
Natural progesterone is sourced from Mexican yams, and there are many trusted brands available to order on Amazon.
It may take some experimenting to learn the right amount for you, but it’s definitely worth looking into as this is one of the safest and simplest ways to balance your hormones, correct estrogen dominance, and potentially remedy the symptoms of MCS.
Commit to a yoga practice
Yoga is wonderful for the body, but it does take time for yoga’s effects to be realized.
This is a gentle, isometric exercise that strengthens the core and stretches the muscles, offers gentle healing benefits to the parasympathetic nervous system, and is amazingly restorative to the body in a holistic sense.
If you devote yourself to your yoga practice, it may not seem like much is happening right away but eventually you’ll notice that:
- you feel more relaxed
- your mood has improved
- your body is more toned than ever
and many of the awful symptoms you’ve suffered after breathing in certain toxic substances, are no longer an issue for you.
Read more about yoga and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity here.
Relaxation goes a long way in balancing the hormones.
In these stressful and busy times, it’s highly likely that your cortisol levels are higher than they should be due to the constant go-go-go mentality.
As a woman, self-care was never more important than now. If you take a few moments for yourself each day, where you close your eyes and relax your mind, you may see a huge relief in the amount of stress you feel.
This may help your body to function better, including your hormones. And that can bring relief from your adverse reactions to chemical smells.