What are mast cell disorders?

Everyone has mast cells throughout their body. When a person comes in contact with a chemical or substance to which they may react, their mast cells degranulate and give off histamine and other chemicals. The histamine and other chemicals pumped into their system by the degranulating mast cells cause the person to exhibit the symptoms we typically associate with an allergic reaction—sneezing, watery eyes, rashes, hives, itching, tongue swelling, difficulty breathing, runny nose, skin flushing, and more.

In a mast cell/mast cell activation related disorder, something has gone wrong with the mast cells. There may be, for example, too many of them, they could be irregularly shaped, or they could be degranulating—as in mast cell activation spectrum disorders—and be over-active for unknown reasons. A person with a mast cell/mast cell activation disorder may experience severe and life-threatening reactions after exposure to even very small amounts of a chemical or substance. Individuals with mast cell spectrum related disorders need to avoid exposures to the chemicals and the triggers to which they react.

Are mast cell disorders the same as MCS?

Mastocytosis (Masto), Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), and mast cell related disorders share many of the symptoms typically associated with MCS. Current research (see T.C. Theoharides, MD, here and here) has shown that the reactions to triggers individuals with MCS experience have a basis in mast cell function and mast cell degranulation. Individuals with mast cell and mast cell activation spectrum related diseases such as Masto, MCAS, and MCS need to avoid and to minimize their exposures to the chemicals and triggers to which they react, on themselves, on others, and in the environment.

What do I do?

If you feel that you may have a mast cell related disorder, please contact a physician to receive medical help. The information presented here is not medical advice and is in no way a substitute for receiving medical advice and treatment from a doctor.


Learn More:

About Mast Cell Disorders






Toxins in our Lives












Education & Training


Pesticide Information: 


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