Fibro Flare From Underwear

 fibro flare from underwear 1 Original image from GettyYes way…sighs…

Most of us wear underwear all the time. We don’t think much about it.

I remember when I used to be able to find decent 100% cottom undies with enclosed elastic waistbands at the dollar stores! I could throw them in the wash once, and they were good to go. Those were the days!

More recently, I’ve been disabled from a serious fibro flare caused by trace (?) levels of chemical residues from wearing organic undies that cost me $20 a pair. Even after soaking and washing them at least a dozen times, and then boiling them several times after.

Yes, disabled!

My alternate title for this post was Disabled by Underwear… Here’s what happened:

The first time this occurred was after putting on a new pair of undies (washed as described above) after a shower and before going to bed one night. In the morning I had trouble with the stairs, as the undies had triggered a big fibro flare. They had to be thrown back to the detox pile.

After several more washes and boilings, I tried them on again and was able to wear them longer. No fibro flare in the morning. “YAY” I thought to myself. “They are safe now”. Every gal needs herself some safe undies.

But I had rejoiced too soon, and things proceeded to go downhill. As my cognitive abilities declined during the course of the day, I tried to distract myself and told myself there was no way it could be the underwear causing my problems. Really, I had already gone to more than enough trouble detoxing these things (remember, they were organic too), and I didn’t have much energy to keep at it (doing it by hand, not by machine). I was refusing to accept that my abilities could be adversely impacted to such an extent  by a darn pair of underwear, organic no less, and would not take them off (which would have been the smart thing to do) but went to bed that night still wearing them.

During the course of the second day, my decline was so intense, that I couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag. I could barely move, let alone get up and down the stairs, and I finally had to admit that I’d been completely done in by a friggin pair of panties.

By that point, it took an enormous amount of effort to pick myself up and get myself into the shower and put on a clean set of my old safe clothes. I woke up the next day without pain, and my abilities had returned to (my then) normal.

Who would have thought it was possible to end up disabled, in pain, with brain fog and cognitive trouble, balance and coordination issues… from a little pair of well washed and boiled organic underwear? Not I!!!

What the heck are they doing to clothing these days?
(rhetorical question, see the links at the end to find out)

How many people are suffering severe and disabling fibromyalgia symptoms from the chemicals in clothing and furniture?

I had to give away most of my old “nice” clothing and furniture that wasn’t detoxable, as wearing it or sitting on it (and sometimes merely having it in the same room) made me feel as if I was wearing a lead suit that got heavier with each passing minute. I just wasn’t expecting it from a small pair of underwear that had already been washed so many times.

Do any doctors out there ever consider this as a possible reason why so many people are suffering cognitive issues and “unexplained” severe and chronic pain?

I know I’m not the only one. Many other people have told me they suffer similar CNS (central nervous system) and other symptoms from chemical residues in clothing and furniture.

I described an experience here with trace (?) levels of chemicals in organic (?) clothing, but there are far more chemicals in conventional clothes. Some of us have to go to such great lengths to try to detox any clothing so we can have something to wear.

It’s not right that things we are so intimate with contain residues of chemicals so toxic that they can disable people and poison the environment we depend on for life.

I know that my Fibromyalgia flares with chemical exposures and from contact with synthetic materials. When I can avoid the exposures, I have few fibro flares and little to no chronic pain.

Oh how I long for clothing that doesn’t look years old by the time it’s safe to wear. And to have a comfy chair or couch that I could curl up in when I need or want to relax would be divine!  Truly safe organic clothing and furniture is very expensive, as it isn’t subsidized at all, while the toxic materials in conventional stuff are heavily subsidized.

Sadly, MCS/ES and Fibromyalgia aren’t the only chronic health problems caused by our 24/7 exposures to toxic chemicals. People are developing cancer and many other health problems from these pollutants. If we truly care about ourselves, each other, and about the well-being of future generations, we have to make the effort to eliminate these poisons from everyday life, and choose safe, non-toxic alternatives.

There’s a huge demand for chemical-free clothing (and for furniture too, although not everyone can afford it afford it, despite it being medically required for some of us). It has to be 3rd party certified. There’s a lot of green-wash out there too – how else could supposedly organic undies be so harmful?

If you want some of the nasty details, here are a few resources, as well as some things to do to put an end to this nonsense:


Laundry Decontamination Methods

Some people find regular clothing and bedding cannot be made safe, and that includes some organic stuff as well.

Here’s why:

How to get rid of chemicals in fabrics. (Hint: trick question.)

Toxic dyes, lethal logos, cotton drenched in formaldehyde… How your clothes could poison you
January 2012–How-clothes-poison-you.html

Great work from Greenpeace

Detox My Fashion

Check out the reports in the right sidebar

About The Detox campaign

Dirty Laundry

The Swedish Chemicals Agency has identified hazardous chemicals that may be found in clothing and textiles in our indoor environment.


The Toxins Return: How Industrial Poisons Travel the Globe (44:00)
In an era of high-speed international commerce, safety standards and import inspection procedures are riddled with loopholes. The result? Quantities of dangerous substances found in goods manufactured overseas have risen dramatically. This program investigates the alarming global mobility of synthetic toxins, tracing egregious—yet often repeated—hazardous material violations from supplier to storefront. Textile producers in India, a popular retail outlet in Germany, and ports and ground-shipment depots in between all reveal their roles in transporting industrial residues and waste. Activists, government authorities, and workers all-too-familiar with toxic exposure speak out on the dangers. (44 minutes)

And if you want some safer clothing and furnishings, here’s a list:

Chemical-free (we wish)

8 responses to “Fibro Flare From Underwear

  1. I’m curious. Have they done studies of the incidence of fibromyalgia in chemical laden societies (like ours) and chemical free societies (somewhere else in the world)?

    I know there are a lot of health issues caused by all the chemicals but it is hard to make people understand that.

  2. katiedohmen2013

    Thanks for the great article. I smiled when you mentioned you threw them “back in your detox pile.” Detox piles are a daily part of life for us…..if only everyone else understood what it takes to wear a new pair of underwear or a new shirt.

  3. Here in Spain it seems that they are doing their best to ‘refuse to accept’ that Fibromyalgia has anything to do with chemical exposure : (
    The Association fot Fibromyalgia here in Marbella held a charity event to ‘raise funds’ promoted by the Hairdressing and Beauty Salons along with the Town Hall. The theme was ‘Still Beautifull with FM’, or something very similar, and there was free hairdressing, manicures, makeup, etc , ???
    Why does this sound ‘fishy’ to me? Only a few weeks ago I forwarded the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ info to my sister and sister in-law whom both work in salons. My e-mail has been hacked. I feel like someone thinks I’m some kind of ‘activist’ or ‘anti-system’, as they like to call those who defend ‘the truth’, and I think they are trying to retaliate. The Town Hall will defend ‘business’ over ‘health’ as this is where the money and bribes are coming from, not the health of ‘salon workers’ and meanwhile makes a ‘silent’ statement that Fibromyalgia has nothing to do with chemical exposure so business owners will not be ‘responsible’ for any ‘chemical injury’. If I had the strength to ‘stand up to them’ I would have made a poster out of the ‘Beauty and it-s Beast’ fact sheet or pamplets and gone there ‘in my mask’ to unmask the lie they are perpetuating! I still can’t believe that they ‘use’ FM sufferers for ‘laundering’ their businesses. It’s just so perverted and evil from my standpoint : (

    Thats why they are ‘looking elsewhere’, so we don’t recognise ‘the truth’!
    The information ‘in Spanish’ on Central Sensitization Syndroms is very limited and it seems that they ‘censure’ information so as to control public opinion. I only really began to understand my illnesses when I started ‘searching’ in English. This is an extremely corrupt system, a mafia-like government and if you try to ‘defend your rights’ you are a ‘persona non-grata’ and they make it clear to you that it’s an impossible task, unless you have lots of money to pay lawyers, make bribes, etc…
    Rather distressing all this : (

    Sorry, I don’t feel ‘positive’ today.
    Hope you are feeling better♡♡♡

    • The new film “Manufacturing Doubt”, which is based on a book by the same name, goes into some detail about why it’s so difficult to get the truth out… The trailer is in one of my recent blog posts…

      Tobacco scientists and other marketers are paid millions of dollars to sow doubt about there being adverse effects from profitable industries. And people’s lives are being lost.

      The New York Times just ran a story about how toxic nail salons are, and how the workers are mistreated. There’s also a film in the works about it, if not already done (my memory is foggy, I’ll have to look for it), as well as a report from Women’s Voices For the Earth.

      Eventually, when enough people have been poisoned, and start looking for their own answers instead of believing the commercials, we might be able to turn things around. I think it may happen soon. So much research is coming out now about how destructive many of the petrochemicals in everyday use are.

  4. Yes, the Hope is that this will be ‘recognised’ soon ♡♡♡

  5. Pingback: 2014 Statistics for MCS, FM, and CFS in Canada | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

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