“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4
Treating underlying infections was both critical for my healing from chronic illnesses, and a brutal experience. It is true what they say (doctors and others who have been through it), “you get worse, before you get better.”
I don’t take this article lightly as I understand that it is controversial, complex, not well understood, and has serious consequences if not done correctly and safely with an experienced nurse practitioner or medical doctor.
With that being said, I will share with you my personal experience of treating underlying infections, in order to heal fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, thyroid nodules, and an autoimmune disease (Antiphosolipid Antibody Syndrome).
-If you would like more information about the science behind treating underlying infections, please read “From Fatigued to Fantastic” by: Jacob Teitelbaum, M. D. This book describes how to heal chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, but can be applied to many chronic illnesses.
TESTS (Just to name a few)
Most labs are evaluating if a microorganism was ever present, or is still detected. My Integrative NP and my immunologist conducted these tests.
Viral infections: Epstein Barr Virus (EBV); EA-D IgG or EBV Nuclear Ag Ab, Parvovirus; Parvovirus B19 IgG
Bacterial infections: M. Pneumoniae IgG or h. Pylori
Fungal infections: candida AB (ID) (FYI this test is no longer available in NY state). Saccharomyces cerevisiae AB (ASCA)(IgG)
Despite what most doctors will tell you, there is testing for these infections and many others. Unfortunately, what is lacking is knowledge about these microorganisms, interpreting test results, how they impact chronic illness or systemic issues, and how to treat them.
The goal of treatment is to eliminate or balance harmful bacterial and fungal overgrowth, or decrease the viral load. Unlike antibiotics which eliminate both harmful and beneficial bacteria, antimicrobials work to balance the microbiome (all the microbes, bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that live inside the human body).
A few examples antimicrobials:
Olive leaf– is an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal
Probiotics– help to balance the microbiome and restore beneficial bacteria to the gut
Saccharomyces boulardii– a beneficial form of yeast that helps to consume the harmful candida (similar concept of probiotics, but with fungus)
Caprylic acid– found in coconut oil, and used to treat yeast infections
Pau D’Arco– has antimicrobial properties
Grapefruit seed extract– another antimicrobial
These are extremely potent and should be prescribed and monitored by a doctor. My doctor prescribed specific broad-spectrum antimicrobials. As I had to learn the hard way (ex. If I targeted EBV only with an antiviral, then my candida would flare). The supplements that she prescribed covered all microbes and were very strong!
If you do have a serious underlying infection, when you take an antimicrobial “die off” symptoms will occur. This is why it’s so important to do this with a doctor, so that they can relieve your symptoms. Examples of “die off” symptoms:
- Diarrhea (possibly vomiting)
- Increased total body pain
- Difficulty sleeping
Tip to help with “die off”: Find a quality electrolyte drink. See detox routine below.
A herxheimer reaction is different from “die off.” It is a very extreme experience that feels like one is dying. Mine lasted four months. During that time, I was freezing cold and hot, my brain felt like hot lava had been poured on it, I had violent uncontrolled shaking, I couldn’t sleep at all, couldn’t tolerate any food, my resting heart rate was 120bpm, I was very nauseous, had black sand like stools, diarrhea and constipation, and my thyroid was vibrating and burning. I went to the ER three times.
For some people, they never experience this. Others may experience it for a few weeks. Mine lasted four months, and then several months to recover from it.
Tips to avoid a “herx”:
- Work with an experienced NP or MD (not a chiropractor who doesn’t understand the physiology of the body).
- Start everything LOW and SLOW. With any new supplement or medication start at the smallest dose. Wait a few days, before increasing amount. Give your body time to adjust to new supplements or medications. I know that you want to heal quickly and think that a bigger dose may mean quicker results, but believe me that it’s not worth it!
- Develop a good detox routine
As your body is fighting an underlying infection, it is imperative to support the bodies’ natural detox process. Some people need more support than other, as they have genetic maladaptions that make detoxing challenging.
Don’t overdo it with any of these on the list, as they can also provoke “die off” symptoms.
Some basic ways to help the body detox are:
- Lemon in water (every other day or once a day)
- Dandy Blend tea ( a small amount in water once a day)
- 1 cup of Epsom Salts and ½ bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide in a bath (1-2xs a week, only soak max 25 minutes)
- Drink plenty of filtered water (I like Poland Springs)
- Ionic foot detox bath (1-2xs a month)
- Infrared Sauna (1-2xs a month)
- Dry Brushing (2xs a week)
- Light exercise (rebounder, walking, yoga everyday)
As I began my course of treating underlying infections in 2016, I had no idea how long of a road this would be. I had no idea that my symptoms of fatigue, migraines, weakness, and pain would increase so severely with this treatment. This is the process of fighting infections and working to improve the microbiome. It took me two years of this treatment, but it was worth it.
Ultimately, I feel that God was with me through this long suffering. Treatment helped, but God performed the ultimate miracle of healing. Even if I had never fully healed, I knew He was providing for me and sustaining me. I knew that if I did not heal in this life, then He would heal me in the next. The victory was always His!
Copyright @healingfaithfully 2019.