Why Does Your Sense of Smell Change With Fibromyalgia?

fibromyalgia sense of smell

Dealing with the fibromyalgia symptoms is not easy. In fact, it can be overwhelming for most. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can be triggered by many factors such as weather, temperature, sound, food, stress etc. Sometimes, the symptoms can also be triggered by a scent or odor.

The Sensitive Syndrome

Fibromyalgia patients are said to be overly sensitive to many things such as noise, light, touch, temperature changes and even smell. Hypersensitivity can happen in many permutations for fibromyalgia patients. While one patient may find both sound and odor to be overwhelming and another may have difficulty in smelling. This explains how the fibromyalgia brain processes things, which is basically erratic and not the same for everyone. This sensory overload can affect the quality of life of most fibro patients.

There are some medications that can help a fibro patient facing hypersensitivity. Discuss this with your doctor when necessary. If the sensitivity becomes so severe, you can even be diagnosed with the Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). This condition requires a different form of treatment.

How Smell Affects Your Fibromyalgia

Olfactory refers to the sense of smell. An olfactory impairment is common among people with fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases. Detergents, scented perfumes and cleaning agents can make someone with olfactory impairment feel ill. It can lead to headaches, fatigue and nausea. Food smells can also make fibromyalgia patient feel sick to the point where they loses appetite. It is not uncommon that some patients choose to eliminate certain food from their diet due to its smell, even if the food is healthy for the patient.

The problem of smells among fibro patients has nothing to do with allergies. Thus, you cannot just take antihistamine and get away with it. The problem can become so severe that those who are affected may not feel comfortable to head out to public.

Dealing with Smells with Fibromyalgia

If you have fibromyalgia and are becoming sensitive to smells, there are certain precautions you can take:

  • Try to keep everything unscented at home. This applies to detergents, soaps and cleaning agents. Choose hair sprays and shampoos that are unscented. Scented hair products can linger in your hair for an extended time.
  • Try to keep your home as well ventilated as possible.
  • When cooking, try to experiment with different herbs that do not produce very intense smells.
  • Always keep a mask with you, in your pocket or purse, so that you can easily put it on whenever you encounter a repelling smell.
  • Let your family and friends know about your sensitivity to smell. This is especially so for friends or family members who use strong smelling perfumes.


  • My sense of smell has decreased! I used to be able to smell anything anywhere now I rarely smell anything ever, unless it is very strong. Help ??? None for me as usual.
    Only for “some” that are too sensitive!!! Always half “help” that are common sense for most.

  • I have lost my sense of smell and of taste completely. Once in awhile I get at whiz of smell but not very offten. It is very aggravating because I never know if what I am eating is good or not. I have told my doctor several times about it but he never says anything.

  • I always had a good sense of smell but now it is overwhelming! Things that never use to bother me make me nauseous at times, has also increased my asthma sensitivity in relation to my allergies. I can’t walk down an aisle of scented candles or sprays, forget citronella! It induces an asthma attack if I don’t hold my breath while going down those aisles. I do all I can to avoid them. I’m also noticing increases in my sensitivity to light and sound.

    • Yes, I often get that, sometimes it is almost like blood, other times like a metal workshop, sometimes even hot metal. I also get a lot of random tastes in my mouth, usually like paracetamol, not nice. I don’t think that these ransom smells and tastes are hypersensitivity, but are related to something happening internally, like certain tablets cause tastes unrelated to them, as do certain hormonal and vitamin imbalances. But you’re not alone.

  • My sense of smell is so sensitive but I didn’t know it was due to my Fibro. I can come into my house and will say it smells, and my husband and friends that are in here say, I don’t smell anything.

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