Bottled scent = trigger?

Hey guys,

This sounds nuts but something around me is making me feel really much more sick over the last week with severe head pain and body aches – and I think the source is a bottle of this liquid scented stuff I put in my bedroom earlier this week. I don’t know if you have them in the States/UK but it’s a bottle of a scent with these sticks you put inside. The idea is to put a subtle aroma through the room. So I grabbed a “vanilla bean” one and put it in the window about 4 feet away from my head. All week I have totally eliminated all known food triggers so it’s not that. I’ve been eating steamed veg and lean meat – all safe, yet this morning I woke with more pain than ever. And then I noticed the strength of the aroma and thought it’s the ONLY thing I’ve changed this week. Certain other smells definitely set me off such as Spray 'n Wipe cleaner or strong perfumes or even deodorants. But this vanilla is VERY subtle yet it’s as though it has creeped up on me all week causing more and more pain and migraine symptoms, but only a small amount of dizziness. It’s seems hard to believe but if I’m lying here breathing it in for 8 hours a night then why not?

It’ll be an interesting experiment in one sense because it has given me a clear view of how migraine progresses in me to the point of stomach pain and hand cramping at this level. Man, this junk is bizarre.

Anyone else have bad reactions to smells or scents that set them off like this?

Thanks … Scott :?

Scott,
I have a major problem with perfumes and other artificial scents (not all of them but a good many). I cannot walk by Yankee Candle Shop (chain candle store in the US full of scented candles) without feeling majorly sick. I know the sticks you are talking about, we keep them in one of the ladies rooms where I work. I don’t think I could bring them into my house, and I really feel bad for you that you tried and now find they are making you sick. Scents like this are not the kind that I can get used to over time and eventually feel better,they are the kind that build up and make me feel worse day after day. I would think they could definitely be affecting you in an adverse way.

I know lots of others with these vertigo disorders have problems with scents. I sometimes wonder what is is about them? Is there a certain ingredient that most artificial scents use (and I don’t mean a scented ingredient, just some kind of “filler” ingredient) that we are sensitive to? Because I have a problem with such a wide variety of scents I can’t imagine it being the scent itself I have a problem with, but rather something that is in it. I love Lily of the Valley and have no problem smelling the real flower, but make me smell any artificial L of the V and I feel very sick.

Book

Of everything for me the scents are the worst trigger. It has been that way for many years, even before the vertigo/waviness started in 2008. It got so bad where I worked that I had to have a doctor write me a note explaining how sensitive I am to scents (of any kind). One of the ladies in my work group wore a perfume that made me deathly ill everyday I was around her.

There have been doctors’ offices that I have gone into that have those “scented” wall plugs and I cannot even wait in the waiting room or I will be sick and have a terrible headache just from a very brief exposure. I think there are chemicals in these scented “things” that cause the problems.

That is one of the main reasons it is so hard for me to be out is because of the “scents” that are so prevalent in society. Our home is both scent, fragrance and chemical free and it is the only place I feel is not a risk for this trigger to occur for me.

It does not even matter if it is subtle the prolonged exposure sets me off…as with deodorants and perfumes. I would throw them out and just enjoy the fresh clean air once the odor is gone. To me vanilla is a very strong scent, but then again so are most fragrances.

Hi Book,

Thanks for that. I think you’ve confirmed it for me but I won’t know for certain until I have a day or two free of the scent. The hassle is this migraine will go on all day now and into tomorrow. It takes about 48 hours for this type of reaction to burn out for me.

we keep them in one of the ladies rooms where I work.

LOL. That cracked me up. My bedroom sounds like a ladies change room in a dept store.

Scents like this are not the kind that I can get used to over time and eventually feel better, they are the kind that build up and make me feel worse day after day.

That’s exactly what’s been happening this week. Thanks again Book.

Scott :slight_smile:

— Begin quote from “bookworm”

Scott,
I have a major problem with perfumes and other artificial scents (not all of them but a good many). I cannot walk by Yankee Candle Shop (chain candle store in the US full of scented candles) without feeling majorly sick. I know the sticks you are talking about, we keep them in one of the ladies rooms where I work. I don’t think I could bring them into my house, and I really feel bad for you that you tried and now find they are making you sick. Scents like this are not the kind that I can get used to over time and eventually feel better,they are the kind that build up and make me feel worse day after day. I would think they could definitely be affecting you in an adverse way.

I know lots of others with these vertigo disorders have problems with scents. I sometimes wonder what is is about them? Is there a certain ingredient that most artificial scents use (and I don’t mean a scented ingredient, just some kind of “filler” ingredient) that we are sensitive to? Because I have a problem with such a wide variety of scents I can’t imagine it being the scent itself I have a problem with, but rather something that is in it. I love Lily of the Valley and have no problem smelling the real flower, but make me smell any artificial L of the V and I feel very sick.

Book

— End quote

Agreed.

Timeless,

Wow, you are super sensitive to this! Thanks for letting me know about how you react. I can handle some smells – candles are OK I guess because the smell is really low key or maybe it just doesn’t set off that part of my brain that kicks of a migraine.

The neck pain I have this morning is way off the charts from it … so nasty that turning me head hurts. Just unreal that a smell can do this to some of us.

Scott

Havent had anything in the house like that for years. I havent worn perfume for 20 years. A lot of this stuff starts off OK with a mild smell but builds up. My friend who has suffered severe migraine all her life wont even let anyone in her house with perfume she gets such a bad reaction.

Vanilla is one of the nicer smells but it can get strong. I would rather put up with the stink of my daughters smelly feet when she takes her shoes off, I just open the windows!

Incidentally, my worse smell trigger has always been paint. If I am painting a room I try to get it done quickly as the paint in the room has given me vertigo quite a few times, especially gloss, even the quick drying one.

Christine

Well, it’s the end of the day and I’m still migraining. I sure hope by removing that scented stuff that this all clears up by tomorrow. It really feels comparable to allergies in that when you are exposed to an allergen, it sensitises the body’s allergic response so other things set you off more easily … and so it seems like the days of long-term exposure to the scent has dropped my headache threshold and other small things that normally wouldn’t cause a splash, are causing trouble.

Thanks for the stories of other migraineurs. I know that smells/scents/odours do this to migraineurs but it always helps you to not feel crazy when you hear it from others on the forum. Almost hard to believe that a scent can cause this much pain. :frowning:

Scott

I’ve often wondered whether it’s the actual smell of something or a chemical in it, and whether there is actually a difference. What actually is a smell anyway? Surely a smell is the way our brains (via our noses) interpret gases/particles in the air. Do we have any chemists on the board who can answer this?! For e.g I get really migrainey with paint smell but always assumed it was the fumes/chemicals in it rather than the actual smell, so if I pegged my nose I’d still breathe in the fumes and still get the migraine (but maybe not - I’ve never tried this!) but not actually due to the smell.

Also the artificial versus natural thing’s interesting too. I get migrainey with the smell of lilies (natural) to the extent I couldn’t sit in the doctor’s waiting room once when there were lilies in there. And I had a boyfriend once who wore Obsession for Men. I had HORRIBLE migraines with that - needless to say the relationship was doomed!

I think it all boils down to our sensitve brains again, any stimulus, be it visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, can trigger it if the conditions are right (or wrong!).

DI