I live with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) and severe food sensitivities. This diagnose came shortly after my initial diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. This is one pain in the butt to say the least. Most of the sensitivities center around food and chemicals. All of a sudden most foods became unpalatable. I found myself living on a diet of meat, beans, and certain veggies for a long period of time. Furthermore, I was unable to handle most chemicals touching my skin.
Multiple chemical sensitivity can include a wide range of symptoms, which some people link to their environment. It's also known as “environmental illness,” "sick building syndrome,” or “MCS.” Your doctor may call it “idiopathic environmental intolerance.”
The symptoms people report are wide-ranging. They include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, congestion, itching, sneezing, sore throat, chest pain, changes in heart rhythm, breathing problems, muscle pain or stiffness, skin rash, diarrhea, bloating, gas, confusion, trouble concentrating, memory problems, and mood changes.
Possible triggers that set off people's symptoms vary a lot, too. They include tobacco smoke, auto exhaust, perfume, insecticide, new carpet, chlorine, and such.
The American Medical Association doesn’t consider multiple chemical sensitivity to be an illness. Nor do they consider food sensitivities a real illness either, but it can wreck havoc on your daily life.
One issue with having this illness is that you can't go out to eat and enjoy a normal dinner like most people. You never know you will be affected by what you ingest. You could be sitting there eating a meal with family and friends, and then wham! All of sudden you are overcome with dizziness, shortness in breath, and a huge amount of disorientation until your body redirects. That could last a minimum of 20 minutes or days.
Now I have my menu choices in my head for EACH restaurant BEFORE I sit down to avoid such catastrophes.
But I think the worst of it is the hair salon. I used to LOVE getting pampered while getting my hair done. It is a small kuddo in life that most woman appreciate. You spend your days taking care of others, and then all of a sudden, every six weeks or so, you get someone to take care of you.
If you are over 40 it is often a necessity if you work. Being 50 with tons of gray hanging about is not appealing to some individuals like myself. I pride myself on keeping a few years off by indulging in such a luxury.
But shortly after being diagnosed, I got my usual highlights. I get the foil packets and then a bit of low lights to cover the gray around my scalp. This has NEVER been an issue previously. All of a sudden ten minutes into the procedure, I feel a tingling in my scalp and my heart begins to race. Within minutes my heart is knocking so rapidly it feels as if it is rattling my chest. I can see and feel its vibrations as I run to my hairdresser shouting, "I got to get this out! Something is not right!"
Visibly shaken, she says we can just try the "foils" solo next time. "Great," i think. "One more thing this illness has taken from me."
I know what you're thinking, "My goodness! Live with the gray!"
But when fibromyalgia has taken so much out of your life already, there are just times you say, "Screw it. I gotta live some how." But, then again, i also noted if it happened again severely I would HAVE to STOP.
Since then the reactions are less, more mild. Sometimes they don't happen at all. But, you can imagine, sitting in that chair doesn't have that warm fuzzy feeling anymore, it is a necessity (to me, of course). It is one thing I draw the line at for myself.
I had thought it was gone all this year. Then recently on my birthday, trying to get myself dolled up for a dinner, I experienced it again. Not as severe, but a bit of tingle, and then a pulse rise. I grabbed my hair tech and she washed it immediately. Symptoms disappeared shortly afterwards, but I was left with two days of chest tightness, spine swelling, and pain. I should state for all you pre-med Google searchers, it was not the chest pain of the heart but of the rib cage.
To people who do not experience fibromyalgia, this may seem obscure. But, when you suffer from this debilitating disease, there are just some things you are robbed of that send you over the edge. Get you thinking and get you a bit disgruntled. I felt the need to share today. It ruined my birthday weekend a bit.
What is the one thing fibromyalgia has taken from you that drives you nuts?
Here's one woman's issues with memory loss and how she deals with the daily drudge of digging up memories that can easily be forgotten.
I used to take great pride in the fact that I had a sharp memory. I was the go-to person at work because I had a knack for remembering every little detail.
Fast forward 10 years, and I have trouble remembering names of friends and family. Spelling has become a huge issue for me. How can I forget to spell common words? I can’t tell you how thankful I am for spellcheck.
I feel like all that I do is fall more and more behind because I can’t remember what I must do. I’m overdue on cleaning my house, responding to emails, writing my column, and getting a major work project done. It’s all because I keep starting something then need to stop to do something else that is more important. I have very good intentions but never seem to accomplish half of what I need to do. I also lose track of time. I don’t know where it goes, but I bet I forgot to do something during that time!
I seem to run around in circles and never really accomplish anything. I forget appointments, birthdays, events –you name it, I’ll forget it. I forget to have a lunch ready so I don’t have to run out during work. I hit snooze another time because I forgot I have an early doctor’s appointment.
Writing lists that I forget about later is a big waste of time. I’ve even tried emailing myself but forget to check my account the rest of the day.
I started complaining of memory issues over 10 years ago. I was told it was age-related…in my early 40s! I knew it wasn’t my age, but I got nowhere with my doctors.
Now it’s getting to the point of being very troubling. I try to adapt by taking copious notes at work. My boss frequently tells me I don’t have to write things down, but I DO have to. I know I have a better chance of not remembering something than I have of remembering it. I’m at a loss of what to do about this dilemma.
I leave myself voicemail messages if I really need to remember something. I’ve given up asking others to remind me of things. When they forget, I’m the only one to blame, and it isn’t fair to bring them into my mess. If I lived alone, I’d get a blackboard or message board in every room to remind me.
I just started using a calendar app, but so far I haven’t been very consistent. My goal is to make it a habit. I need to get back on track. Maybe some structure will help.
I use a pillbox to help remind me to take my 17 various medications and supplements each day. I still forget, but not as often as before.
I found that when I don’t get enough sleep, my ability to remember is almost nonexistent. Thinking is a struggle. Add in some brain fog and I might as well just stay in bed. Getting a decent amount of sleep is nearly impossible with fibro, but it is vital for our health and well-being. I’ve started setting an alarm an hour before bedtime to remind me to quit messing around and get ready for bed.
Having your memory fail you can be scary, frustrating, and depressing. Being told it is just your age or that you’re scatterbrained is infuriating. I have a hard time not letting it get to me, but I know that I am not the only person with fibro who is suffering from this. Getting stressed out about it only makes it worse.
But I try to look at the bright side. When I watch a movie or television show, I can’t remember if I’ve seen it before, so everything is new to me! - By Carrie Anton
Those of us with fibromyalgia have different degrees of symptoms, more or less support from friends and family, different living situations, and various job arrangements some work at home while others leave home and go out to work. We all need to find ways that help us cope on a daily basis, especially since our symptoms can be so erratic.
I would like to share my top coping tips and would love to hear yours.
My fatigue can debilitating at times, so I always ensure I have time in the afternoon to rest and reprieve. I keep a small table next to my bed where I keep the things I need daily: my meds, tissues, water, cellphone, tablet, books, laptop, a journal, and a pen.
I make an effort to go for a 30-minute walk every day to help fight muscle weakness and improve my mood. i also go the gym once a week to increase strength and vitality through a modified lifting program .
Reading is a passion, so I keep various genres around depending on my mood. I find I can then pick up a book within reach. I keep several books bedside depending on my mood and inclination at the moment. I spend time throughout the day in bed with short rest periods to rejuvenate and move on with my day. Hence, why I always share: Good Reads. Every book in Good Reads has been personally read by me.
I am always on a quest for buying clothes that are soft and comfortable. I never wear a bra unless I’m going somewhere important. They cause pain and bondage near my ribs. Comfort is everything and for that reason I wear mostly T-shirts, sweats, and very comfy pajamas as soon as I'm home.
Listening to uplifting music, reading my Bible, and praying daily really helps to keep me centered. When I’m too tired to think or the pain increases I get lost in a good movie. You probably have noticed I share Great Flicks often. These, too, are movies watched personally from Netflix. I find after a good movie on a bad day, my pain lessens.
I found it’s an important fact of life that I accept my limitations and take good care of myself. This can be difficult for Fibros because we often look better than we feel. Sadly, most family and friends are always suggesting we need a little more fun in our lives when all we need is some down time to feel better. Keeping this in mind reminds me to be careful when choosing the best time of day to do something.
Because of this I don’t let other people tell me what I should be doing or not doing to get better. I choose not to let negativity in whenever I can. I also do my best to eat healthy foods, but when I’m exhausted and just grab something easy, I don’t feel guilty about it. And if i don't get all my chores done for the day I tell my self "tomorrow is another day".
What are your top tips for coping?
Eating a traditional American meal may make you feel bloated, gassy, dehydrated, or tired. No wonder! They violate all the principles of food combining.
Are you experiencing unexpected weight gain even though you are eating less? Have you been told this is a side effect of medicines or fibromyalgia? The culprit may be the way you consume traditional fare.
Many years ago, our ancestors worked hard at physical jobs and returned home each day to eat big meals of meat, breads, cheeses, and even sweets with no adverse effects. They had iron stomachs and digested everything. Our ancestors also had healthier inner ecosystems. A healthy inner ecosystem is made up of the friendly microflora (good bacteria) that reside in our intestines and keep us healthy and strong. A healthy inner ecosystem also means more beneficial microflora helping you digest the foods you eat.
Over time, the introduction of antibiotics, pasteurization and processed foods, along with a lifestyle of constant stress, has damaged our inner ecosystems. An unhealthy inner ecosystem can lead to fatigue, poor health and a digestive tract that functions inefficiently.
Trophology is the science of food combining to allow for optimal digestion, optimal absorption of nutrients and optimal expulsion of waste. Primarily chemistry, food combining explains how certain foods induce the necessary enzymatic secretions for proper digestion. When this chemistry is thrown out of balance by demanding that the body process incompatible food combinations, undigested food remains stagnant within the intestinal tract, leading to putrefaction, fermentation, overgrowth of bacteria and toxicity. This, in turn, leads to myriad illnesses, chronic conditions, food allergies, bloating, metabolic problems and the bulging and distorted body shapes we see everywhere these days.
Food combining is carefully selecting the foods that you eat together. It is a concept that was developed by a physician Dr William Hay (1866-1940) initially to overcome his own health problems. He then used it to cure a wide range of illnesses. In reality the concept is not new and can be found in the rituals of eating in many different civilizations. Part of today's high rate of chronic illness in westernized societies can be attributed to the loss of ritual in eating and not just in poor food content.
Food combining in a nutshell
Many fibromyalgia patients reported that some foods tend to aggravate their symptoms. According to the National Fibromyalgia Research Association, certain foods have the potential to irritate your muscles and cause problems to your immune system. And so it can be tough for those suffering from this disease to choose and follow nutritional advice on how they should eat.
No single eating plan will work for all fibromyalgia sufferers, Dr. Joseph Mercola points out. However, Dr. Mercola believes that making simple dietary and lifestyle changes can help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms:
1. Avoid processed foods to stay away from additives and preservatives.
2. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Aspartame has been found to trigger fibromyalgia-type symptoms and make it worse, for those already suffering from the disease. Artificial sweeteners could be responsible for some or even all of your symptoms.
3. Avoid sugar and caffeine, including soda, fruit juice and energy drinks. Drink pure, fluoride-free water instead.
4. Consume coconuts and coconut oil. Coconut has been found to be beneficial to people suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and hypothyroidism.
5. Eat fresh, organic, whole fruits and vegetables that are as close to their natural state as possible. Whole fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help anti-inflammatory benefits. Go for those deep oranges, reds, purples and greens because generally, the more colorful the produce, the better. Eat as many raw foods as possible.Cooking food in temperatures above 118 degrees F destroys enzymes and nutrients, which is why Mercola personally tries to eat at least 80 percent of his food raw.
6. Eliminate or strictly limit your alcohol intake.
7. Exercise. Regular exercise is one of the most effective fibromyalgia treatment methods.
8. Get more sleep. Having a regular sleeping habit can help greatly boost your energy, improve your mood and reduce pain.
9. Optimize your omega-3 fat levels. Long-chain animal-based omega-3 fats from fish oil or krill oil are natural pain relievers and helps decrease inflammation, joint pain, swelling and stiffness.
10. Relax. Try meditation, yoga or a stress management tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique.
Peptic ulcers are erosions of the tissues lining the upper digestive tract, particularly the stomach and first portion of the small intestine. They are often caused by a bacterial infection that compromises your defense against the acid produced in the stomach. The erosions may penetrate completely through the stomach or intestinal wall, resulting in perforation and the spillage of acid and other contents into the abdominal cavity.
The first symptom of a perforated peptic ulcer is usually intense and severe pain. The experience is so drastic, you'll remember exactly when it happened, where you were, what you were doing, and even the exact words being spoken by a companion or on television. The pain is at its maximum immediately and persists, being worsened by movement, jostling, touching, coughing or sneezing. You may also experience fainting, excessive sweating and a rapid heartbeat.
Although perforation may be the first symptom of peptic ulcer disease, it is often preceded for days or weeks by milder symptoms. Pain between the breastbone and the navel may occur when the stomach is empty and may be relieved with antacids. The pain may come and go and may be worse at night. Dark, tarry bowel movements or the passage of what appear to be coffee grounds may signal bleeding from a peptic ulcer.
Someone with a perforated ulcer lies quietly and breathes shallowly. He may be pale and clammy, and the heart rate is likely to be rapid. The abdomen is rigid to the touch and tender. Light tapping on the abdomen will often produce a hollow, drumlike sound. The diagnosis can be confirmed with a simple x-ray showing abnormal gas collections inside the abdomen.
Try the following natural alternatives to combat peptic ulcers.
Research suggests that flavonoids, also known as bioflavonoids, may be an effective treatment for stomach ulcers. Flavonoids are compounds that occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Foods and drinks rich in flavonoids include:
Probiotics are the living bacteria and yeast that help keep your digestive system moving. They are present in many common foods, particularly fermented foods. These include:
Honey is far from simply sweet. Depending on the plant it’s derived from, honey can contain up to 200 elements, including polyphenols and other antioxidants. Honey is a powerful antibacterial and has been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth. As long as you have normal blood sugar levels, you can enjoy honey as you would any sweetener, with the bonus of soothing your ulcers
Fresh sliced garlic in salads has been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth. If you don’t like the taste (and lingering aftertaste) of garlic, you can take garlic extract in supplemental form. Garlic acts as a blood thinner, so ask your doctor before taking it if you use warfarin or other prescription blood thinners.
Cranberry is known for its ability to fight urinary tract infections by preventing bacteria from settling on the walls of the bladder. Cranberry and cranberry extract also may help fight H. pylori. You can drink unsweetened cranberry juice, eat cranberries, or take cranberry supplements.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains
A diet centered on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is not just good for your overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a vitamin-rich diet can help your body heal your ulcer. Foods containing polyphenols, an antioxidant, can protect you from ulcers and help ulcers heal. Polyphenol-rich foods and seasonings include:
What to Avoid
Some foods can make ulcers worse, while some provide a preventive and healing effect. Greasy and acidic foods are most likely to irritate your stomach, as are spicy foods.
To reduce ulcer pain, avoid:
About 90% of those that suffer from fibromyalgia have sleep problems. "The connection between what we eat and how we sleep is only just taking shape," says Antonio Culebras, MD, neurology professor at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. Hunger plays a key role in disrupting sleep. Most fibro suffers, due to an overactive central nervous system, don't even realize they may be hungry while they are tossing and turning all night.
This relatively new research focuses on leptin and ghrelin, two metabolic hormones that scientists discovered only during the last decade. When we eat, leptin signals that the body is satisfied, while ghrelin stimulates hunger. Researchers speculate that if we have enough leptin to suppress the secretion of ghrelin, we'll sleep through the night without awakening to eat. "They act in see-saw fashion, counterbalancing each other," says Culebras. "If the balance is thrown out of order, it may result in subtle signs that awaken us."
To achieve this hormonal balance, people with sleep disorders may find eating a snack before bedtime helpful. But some rules apply. First, eat only a light snack, not a heavy meal. The digestive system slows down while you sleep, so eating too much can make you uncomfortable, cause GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease, when food or liquid travels backward from the stomach to the esophagus, causing heartburn), or even cause you to choke while asleep.
A good choice is to include protein which is more difficult to digest. This stays in your digestion system longer making you feel fuller throughout the night. Good choices include a small bowl of cereal and milk, says Culebras. Beware of foods containing caffeine, including less obvious choices such as certain sodas and chocolate. Even decaffeinated beverages contain a small amount of caffeine; so do some medications.
Here's a list of great foods to eat to promote a good night's sleep. If you have issues with wheat, do be sure to get grains that are gluten-free.
Also remember the good ol' standby of your favorite cereal and milk can fight off hunger blues during the night. by offering you filling whole grains and milk protein. Remember to also include some type of protein into your bedtime snack to stimulate promotion of sleep by keeping you fuller longer.
The more my research extends into the world of alternate treatments, the more I question my own personal experience with primary care physicians and specialists. It seems that my own medical radius is limited to several of the previously mentioned treatments. There seems to be little knowledge locally concerning these revolutionary fields. But apparently, someone is feeling better somewhere else; that's for sure.
Chelation therapy is based on the concept that when an amino acid complex known as EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid) comes into contact with positively charged metals and other substances, it will bind these toxins and remove them from the body. When EDTA binds to toxins, a stable compound will be formed that will then be excreted from the system.
While synthetic amino acids are used in chelation therapy, the process actually takes place naturally in our bodies. For instance, during digestion, amino acids will naturally bind to minerals such as iron in order to transport them to other parts of the body where they will be released.
Chelation therapy for fibromyalgia treatment can help eliminate built-up ionic substances such as lead, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, plutonium and manganese.
Chelation has been used for fibromyalgia treatment as well as the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome which is believed to be aggravated by heavy metal toxicity. Exposure to environmental toxins is believed to possibly contribute to fibromylagia symptoms, making it important to remove any toxins that are stored in fatty tissue from the body. Chelation therapy can be used as a natural fiibromyalgia treatment for its cleansing properties, as the accumulation of toxic exposure may contribute to cellular damage and future health problems.
Chelation therapy for fibromyalgia treatment may help reduce symptoms including:
Chelation fibromyalgia treatment will typically involve a blood infusion of EDTA. However, in some cases EDTA may be administered orally. In addition, organic complexes other than EDTA may be infused.
EDTA infusion will likely require a series of treatments of up to 20 to 30 sessions, scheduled two to three times a week. A needle will be inserted into a vein in the hand, arm or leg, and the EDTA fluid will be drip fed into the body for approximately three and half hours. Additional minerals or supplements that may be infused along with EDTA may include B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and heparin (to prevent clotting) if the health care provider believes that the patient will benefit from these.
Fibromylagia patients who opt for chelation therapy should take into consideration that the body is likely to be chemically addicted to the substances that will be eliminated. For this reason, chelatin therapy will often result in short term withdrawal symptoms as the body begins to build up its natural immunity.
It turns out that a vast number of the pathogens we harbor are grouped into communities called biofilms. Biofilms form when bacteria stick to surfaces in certain environments and begin to excrete a slimy, glue-like substance that can anchor them to all kinds of material such as human tissue. These bacterial builders make use of their site for the arrival of other pathogens by providing more diverse adhesion sites. They also begin to build a solid foundation that holds the biofilm together.
“Disease-causing bacteria talk to each other with a chemical vocabulary,” says Doug Hibbins of Princeton University. Multiple studies have shown that during the time a biofilm is being created, the pathogens inside it can communicate with each other thanks to a phenomenon called quorum sensing. This process always them to create a stronger fort and multiply quickly. Whether it is in our gut or on our teeth, bacteria survive and thrive in a structure that they create around themselves.
If you run your tongue along your teeth after a long day and feel a slimy coating, this stuff is the beginning of biofilm. Little bugs, which are found everywhere inside and outside the body, create biological homes using a mixture of sugars and proteins. These structures are pretty tough. For example, biofilm in the mouth is dental plaque, that hard stuff the dentist scrapes off your teeth with a special dental tool.
In a healthy gut that is filled with beneficial microflora, the biofilm that they create is thin mucus. This healthy biofilm allows the passage of nutrients through the intestinal wall. Healthy gut biofilm is moistening, lubricating, and anti-inflammatory. An unhealthy gut biofilm, as you might suspect, does all the wrong things. For example, an unhealthy gut biofilm:
Unhealthy biofilm allows some infections to persist for years. This means that the body may become more susceptible to other infections, or co-infections, as well as other chronic degenerative diseases.
Apple cider vinegar, a popular all-purpose home remedy and household cleaning agent, is an acetic acid solution. Apple cider vinegar strips away important minerals from the biofilm matrix. It can be taken internally for this purpose.
There are two ways to rebuild your gut flora
1. Eat a diet of whole and nutrient-dense foods. Eating this way sounds like a lot work, and it is. But your health matters. Think of it this way: if you only cut out all processed flours, sugars, and refined oils, you are off to a good start!
2. Eat a diet rich in beneficial microbes. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchee, and natto, cultured sauces and dips with sour cream and yogurt and spend money on a good probiotic taken withkefir each morning.
Valerie utilizes an extensive amount of research producing this blog. Categories are purposely set up in stages, rather than topics, so you can easily implement one step at a time.