Why Our Sense of Smell Changes with Fibromyalgia

Author: Rida Hassan

Someone dealing with fibromyalgia knows how overwhelming the symptoms are. There are such problems like fatigue, chronic pain and brain fog that easily set off and turns into a worse flare that can last a day or two, a week or even a month. This can happen too quickly. Sometimes this flare can happen with even a simple usual thing that no one even bothers like odor in the air.

The sensitive syndrome

Patients having fibromyalgia are thought to be over sensitive and no doubt is a correct label. It is true that many of the people having fibromyalgia deal with the syndrome on daily basis. Change in temperature, noise, light, smell are common with FMS. People having fibromyalgia could have issues like headaches, pain, and digestive problem with the lighting that seems normal to the healthy individual. Other things like smell can do the same thing that other don’t even bother to note.


With fibromyalgia, it can work in many ways. The person having FMS may find a smell so overwhelming, while the other one might have difficulty in smelling it correctly. It’s all about how brain processes in fibromyalgia. Quality of life can be affected by this sensory overload.

You should tell each and every detail to your doctor because luckily there are some medications that may help in such cases. If this sensitivity is much serious, you may have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), which may have a different treatment than fibromyalgia.

Effect of smell on people with fibromyalgia

The impairment of sense of smell is common with fibromyalgia and many autoimmune diseases. It can be more than just a feeling and can be harmful to your nose. Someone having FMS can feel ill with scented perfumes, cleaning agents and detergents. He can have fatigue to nauseas and headaches. FMS sufferer can feel worse due to the smell of food even. It makes them feel not wanted to eat it or may be the person starts eliminating that food from his/her diet, whether it is a healthy food item or not. This issue of overloading sensitivity has nothing concerned with allergies. So, you don’t need to take medicines like antihistamine and wait to get okay. This problem is actually really serious and it can be that much severe that the person who has being affected by it will avoid going out in public. Because, you can even feel sick with someone’s after shave or deodorant.

Avoidance of smells with fibromyalgia

There are certain things to improve your quality of life, if you are dealing with sensitivity issues with smell and suffering from fibromyalgia. You can keep everything unscented in your home like unscented soaps; detergents etc. try to look for those shampoos that are unscented. You can have a mask handy with you, so if you need to deal with any kind of odor, you can wear that mask to avoid the smell.

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Make sure, the people who visit your home should know that you have a problem so not to wear cologne in your home. Soon, your friends will get to know about the issue. You shouldn’t feel bad or awkward to remind them because people who care for you will understand you. It’s the matter of your health.

Well-ventilated house is good for you. If the room is odor free, the fans will work there. Otherwise you will be spreading smells around. Try to experiment different herbs that don’t have a strong smell, while cooking. Like if you want to use more basil and less cumin. You may find some smell that will be less bothering for you and you feel ok with them.

Some studies have shown that the sense of smell with fibromyalgia can be improved by the physical activity and also the pain and fatigue. Walk, yoga or tai chi can be useful for your problem.

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