Co-morbidity in MCS, or the “car wreck” dynamic, as an explanation of why so many illnesses or problems seem to run with MCS.
When someone gets chemically injured and ends up with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, the MCS rarely comes alone. It usually comes with other health conditions that need to be dealt with too, such as: Porphyria, Multiple Sclerosis, various autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, and so on. What is super confusing, for doctors as well as patients, is that these co-morbid illnesses can occur on their own as well as in conjunction with MCS.
The “car wreck” explanation is very simple; if you are in a car crash and end up with a broken leg and a concussion, even though the two injuries were caused by the same accident, they are not tied together and are not treated as a single injury.
In Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, you can have two or more unrelated conditions or illnesses caused by the same exposure. And, in fact, that is the more common experience. My wife, for example, ended up with 7 distinct health problems from her prolonged formaldehyde exposure.
This also explains why many MCS sufferers can find treatments that help somewhat — relieving some symptoms without actually making their MCS better. And, to look on the bright side, it points out the benefits of being able to treat what is treatable even if it isn’t a cure for MCS.
Some chemical injury is manageable, some is treatable, some is possibly curable, but unfortunately some is irreversible.
However, I will say it again, avoidance is beneficial in all cases. It helps treatments be more effective. It is what makes management possible. It makes life for those with chemically induced illnesses more comfortable.