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We describe a phenomenon called polarization-induced sidebands (PIS) in Rayleigh backscatter spectra (RBS) and discuss its deteriorating effects on the distributed strain measurement using an optical frequency-domain reflectometry. We propose using a special polarization diversity detection scheme to remove PIS and successfully demonstrate accurate distributed strain measurement in the range of 0.75 μɛ–225 μɛ in a 50 m standard single mode fiber, with a good linearity between the strain and the spectra shift in RBS.