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Thyroid UK
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Any Advice, chemical sensitivity

I have been taking 25mg levothyroxine for 3 weeks now (TSH 5.87 (0.35 to 6) FT4 13.78 (12-22) FT3 5 (3.1 - 6.8) TPO AB 396) blood test next week to check TSH and ESR (NHS lab will not test FT4). I will be asking doctor to increase to 50mg, happy to start very slowly as I have been known not to tolerate new drugs. On B12 injections, VIT D 58, Ferritin 71, ESR 14 (0-12). I have ME/CFS for last 16 years. Over the last few years I have been reacting to perfumes, chemicals, car fumes, burning smells, mould, newspaper print etc. I also no longer sweat at all. I have removed all chemicals from the house, now only use fragrance free. Have inhalers and daily antihistamine but do not help. Had a major crash of symptoms late November could not even use my normal fragrance free products. My long suffering husband could not even eat oranges as the smell of the juice in the air felt like acid up my nose. Have had 2 course of steroids, false saliva and antibiotic nose cream as doctor said nose was red raw and inflamed. I have not been able to leave the house for weeks, had to cancel Christmas plans. Have started to feel better since Sunday (typical wanted to see specialist when wheezing and hoarse voice) Went to see an immunologist today he said there was nothing he could do as it was not an immune problem and he did not have a switch to turn of the enhanced smell. Has anybody else had similar problems? Could it be thyroid related? Should I ask for a referral to an endroconologist? I am finding it very difficult to live like this and can only cope when staying in my house.

14 Replies

Hi May, MCS is nothing new and many people are suffering from it. Here is an explanation and some archived questions with answers as you scroll down.



perfectly normal to have mulitple sensitivies.

they will be never ending with thyroid conditions.

I wouldn't be in a hurry to increase your thyroxine dosage though.

It takes up to 2months before the blood levels change.

I see your t4 is normal, and that is the most important one to follow, as the tsh will lower, with time.

I would just stay at 25mg for now, and wait out the next 2 months to see how you go.

I would have thought your doctor would have sent you to an endroconologist, anyway.

yes , ask for a referral.


25 mcg is a small starting dose and you need to be retested after 6 weeks when you will most probably need to increase. Most people feel better when their TSH is nearer 1. Your FT4 is in range but only just and you are aiming to get the figure in the top third of the range, the same with FT3. It shouldn't be increased too quickly though-increments of 25 and retesting as you go along. Patience is needed but I'm sure you will start to feel some improvement as you progress. I've had times of increased reaction to chemicals and thought it was due to a dip in thyroid levels so I hope you soon get some relief from that. Start a diary of your doses and how you feel as you go along. Wish I had! It's easier then if you have a dip to maybe work out why.

Please post your next set of bloods with their ranges for further advice.

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many hashimotos patients are acutely sensitive to chemicals

I cant open nail varnish, methylated spirits, paint, etc if my hashis husband is anywhere near

he cannot tolerate synthetic drugs especially levothyroxine and t3 because they have methylated spirits in their processing

Our daughter and granddaughters also hashis patients are the same

the only thyroid meds they can take are Natural dessicated thyroid /NDT


Reallyfedup123, I am interested in this business of methylated spirits being used in tablet manufacture. I feel that surely, the process would use pure alcohol, if alcohol was needed in processing?

I understand that the familiar methylated spirits we get in hardware shops has dye, a bitter substance, and a poison added to it, to strongly discourage drinking - all so that it can be sold without duty being added to the price.


I can assure you that some tablets are definitely processed using methylated spirits the label on the bottles /packets even states it

another poster on here also cannot tolerate a range of thyroxine or t3 for same reason

hypersensitivity to totally minute levels of substances is becomining more and more prevalent but what is funny is that any mention of homeopathy (which uses minute traces of substances to cure disease ) is scoffed at

I am so hyperallergic to Aluminium that I cant take pills that are packaged in wretched pop out foil packs so its a good job I am well

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Thanks, reallyfedup123 for that information.

Manufacturers have very much embraced the pop out pill packs, haven't they? They are not necessarily environmentally friendly. I think the old returnable, reusable bottles were a better thing.


Before I was fully medicated I couldn't tolerate the smell of burnt toast, engine oil/fuel. Perfume, nail polish, and am fine now.

Ideally your free t4 will be at the very top of the lab range.

Many people are misdiagnosed with CFS/me/fibromyalgia when it is thyroid disease but isn't shown in blood test results, there are many people battling to be diagnosed with thyroid disease. For me it took me a year, for some I kniw it was 20 years!!!

You need to become as informed as possible so that you can manage your condition. Sadly GP's are not up to speed with thyroid knowledge, at least I haven't heard of one!



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There are a couple of resources for people with MCS which you might not have heard of: facebook.com/groups/1911672... - resources for people with mcs, fibromyalgia and hypothyroid - I belong to this group and I think there would be people there who might be able to advise you specifically on the MCS; and then there's doctormyhill.co.uk - I was recommended this site this morning with the info that it's mostly for people with MCS but with lots about adrenal and thyroid issues as well.


Many of us have allergies and chemical sensitivities, you ask is it related to the thyroid, well it is a chicken and egg situation, my adrenal specialist believes that the adrenals need to be treated as does gut and digestive health, hopefully with the correct remedies, when the adrenals/gut/digestion start to recover the thyroid improves and sensitivities reduce. It is these underlying conditions that create all these awful reactions. Personally I am in the process of improving adrenal function and gut health, it takes time, I look forward to the day I am not choked by other's perfumes etc. Problem with NHS and Endos the treatment on offer will be drug related as opposed to more natural remedies.

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Hi.my sense of smell is high since thyroid problem.bad gag reflex to smells and my asthma is so much worse.but looking at ur numbers u are within NHS range but u are no where near optimal treatment.ur TSH is high.ur are also at the bottom of both ranges for FT3 etc.my TSh is surpressed at 0.003 but my T4 an T3 is right at the bottom of range so my symptoms have always remained except for 6 wks in 4 yrs when numbers went up once.which was when i 1st changed to NDT.its a long road and many changes need to b made foid supplements maybe gluten free etc.b4 u start to feel better.i was also told i had CFS/ME but i knew it was thyroid related and i was right as since i stopped levo for NDT my fatigue is 80% better and my joint aches etc are also about 70% better an i believe once optimal numbers are achieved my symptoms will slowly disapear.

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I think you can look forward to this sensitivity problem improving greatly over time, as your body recovers once you are on your full dose of thyroxine replacement. My nose is much less sensitive to substances now than it was before treatment for my hypothyroidism.

I still have a problem nose though. In fact, I have had an abnormally runny nose, and problems following head colds, since my teens - and I am nearly 60. Currently, there's scab-shedding following a winter cold, and it has been going on for a week; yesterday began trying tea tree oil in boiling water as an inhalant -- on the basis that tea tree kills germs -- and things up there certainly feel better. I too have the antibiotic nose cream for these occassions.

Lack of normal sweating is a recognized thyroid related symptom.

Fragrance-free products can have non-fragrant volatile substances in them which can irritate -- I have experienced this!

I guess that hypothyroidism can potentially cause sinus/nose problems in several ways: nasal passages below optimum temperature, whole body under chronic stress, slowed healing, compromised sleep. It is helpful to stop oneself from becoming emotionally stressed about, or scared of, symptoms because this can increase the bodily stress.


Mycov, have you tried acupuncture? My smell oversensitivity which came on suddenly following a good house clean a few months ago has definitely improved over the last month with acupuncture treatment though it is combined with a laser treatment on certain points around the noise my acupuncture practitioner does at the same time as the needles.

I have also bought a portable air ioniser which helps me outside the house and though it does not actually completely block the smell it reduces my stress/anxiety about smells which also has huge impact on the whole problem.

Some books mention that smell/chemical sensitivity are usually caused by problems with adrenals, liver detoxification or faulty methylation process. Lot's of things to investigate but also more chances one might be the trigger and 'fixing' it might be your answer

I fully sympathise with you and would only say that start with managing stress as best you can which will help both your thyroid and adrenals and might help with the smell problem as well to some extent.


I've had excessively watering eyes, tremours, elevated lids, hot flushes, burning/ itchy skin etc since I've been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism / Graves Desease.

However since being on Carbimazole 40mg a day these simptoms have reduced extensively.

Maybe all the symptoms you describe are an unusual allergic reaction to the medication you are on?

Would a second opinion help?


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