11 Things That Can Make a Person with Lyme Disease Feel Worse Besides Treatment
Lyme Disease Can Affect Nearly Every Component of the Human Body Resulting in Drastic Chemistry Change
It's a given that treatment for Lyme Disease itself can actually make a person feel worse than what they've been feeling physically and mentally from the disease itself. To shortly recap, whenever a spirochete is killed, whether it be by the immune system or some type of antibiotic, endotoxins are released from its cell wall and flood the body causing a temporary worsening of symptoms called a herxheimer reaction.
Unfortunately, since Lyme Disease is a biological hijacking (i.e., nearly every part of the human body can be affected), the chemistry of the body changes. The body develops new requirements, intolerances, and reactions to environments and substances that normally didn't bother or disrupt the physiology of the body before obtaining the Lyme bacteria. These newfound intolerances and triggers can actually make a person with Lyme feel just as bad as they do during a herxheimer reaction, if not worse. And experiencing one of these triggers or intolerances at the same time as a herxheimer reaction can be the difference between having a bad day, and a really bad day.
So if you as a person can't avoid herxheimer reactions entirely, which isn't easy, the least you can do to make your physiology relatively tolerable is to be conscious of what exactly causes you to feel worse, aside from a herxheimer reaction, and to take the extra steps to avoid it. Here are a few of the most common intolerances and triggers people with Lyme Disease develop that can make them feel just as bad, if not worse, than their treatment for Lyme.
1. Lack of Sleep
If you've ever gone to bed late, usually any time after 11 or 12pm, or have gotten up too early, usually any time before 7 or 6 am, you may have noticed the following day you feel horrible. And it doesn't even matter if you get your 8 hours of sleep. If a person with Lyme doesn't sleep between a certain time period, usually from 10pm to 6 or 7am, they have locked in their debilitating physical and mental state for the next day.
Sleep is absolutely crucial for the human body to recover from Lyme Disease. It's just as important as changing your diet, detoxing, and even administering a treatment protocol. All of these components work together and provide different supports for the body that ultimately allow it to heal. Not getting just enough, but the inappropriate time period of sleep will cause the body to release cytokines the following day. Cytokines are part of the body's inflammatory response, and are responsible for many of the symptoms a person with Lyme experiences on a daily basis. Learn more.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
People with Lyme Disease need to avoid deep tissue massages at least until they're no longer herxing or feeling bad. Toxins that aren't removed from the body fast enough are usually stored in fat cells, which can be eliminated through sweating, or the muscles sweep them up. A deep tissue massage actually releases toxins (i.e., endotoxins and exotoxins) from the muscles that were released from the Lyme bacteria when they were killed, the bacteria themselves, and even older toxins your body accumulated before you got Lyme. Releasing bacteria from the muscles will actually increases your odds of having a herxheimer reaction because bacteria that were once hidden from the immune system and antibiotics will now potentially be exposed.
If you've had a deep tissue massage with Lyme, you've noticed that as the day progressed you became exponentially worse. The best thing to do is to be sure you're up on your detoxification and that if the situation calls for it, lower your treatment dosage (check with your doctor first). A person with Lyme shouldn't avoid massages all together because the right one can be very beneficial. Specific massages a person with Lyme should seek out are lymphatic drainage massages, which can help drain a sluggish lymphatic system of toxins, and Swedish massages which may be able to help with pain.
Who would have thought the shower itself, as harmless, relaxing, and inviting as it is, has the potential to make those with Lyme feel worse, if not really horrible afterwards. And that the feeling experienced after taking a shower can be so dreadful and debilitating, that a person with Lyme will make the extra effort to avoid showering as frequently as they used to, if at all.
While there hasn't been much evidence brought forth for why showers can make a person with Lyme feel worse, there are some really good hypotheses out there. The first and most common assumption could be that the pressure from the shower nozzle may in fact be releasing toxins back into the bloodstream in the same way a deep tissue massage would. A lower pressure spray nozzle may help. Another hypothesis is that the temperate of the water itself may be enough to raise the body temperature of the body, and when the temperature of the body reaches a certain level, Lyme and especially Candida can begin to die. There are those who have also postulated that a person with Lyme is sensitive to the chlorine level in tap water. The hot water supposedly turns the chlorine into a gas and a person then breathes it in. A really good filter has been found to curb this problem. Learn more.
The one thing that those with Lyme Disease rely upon to help them feel better can actually make them feel worse. Detoxification helps provide the body with the nutrients and support it needs to allow it to process toxins and remove them from the body. However, detoxing too much too fast can actually have the undesired opposite effect.
When you assist your body with detoxification, toxins begin to remobilize, but depending on which detox method(s) you've exploited, and how much of that detox method you've used, will determine if those toxins can be removed in an efficient manner, or whether they'll be recirculated through the body. The body has different channels for removing toxins but if one or more of these channels are blocked or inefficiently functioning, toxins that were remobilized will not be removed in the desired manner. It's important to remember that even if all of the body's detox channels were clear and working efficiently, there is only a certain amount of waste removal the body can deal with at a time. It's best to administer a detox method that causes you to feel worse in the same way you would your treatment protocol with Lyme - start with a low dosage and slowly increase depending on how well you can tolerate it.
Food isn't just something that tastes good, or bad, it's a pile of chemistry the body breaks down and interacts with. Different types of foods have different types of chemistries which explain why some with Lyme Disease can not only be intolerant of certain food items, but certain foods that a person with Lyme Disease can feel horrible after consuming are different and vary with each individual. Not everyone has the same body chemistry, so a food that one person with Lyme may be intolerant of, another person with Lyme may thrive on.
Foods in those with Lyme Disease have the ability to cause what has been documented as a delayed autoimmune response, which can cause a person to have a spike in symptoms (e.g., brain fog, pain, and fatigue) the following day. Food is also medicine and can kill certain pathogens in the body such as Candida which can cause a herxheimer reaction in and of itself. Even though you may have been able to eat a certain food before Lyme, don't be stubborn and continue to eat it based solely on that knowledge alone. The suffering is not only in your control, but entirely unnecessary and potentially inhibiting to your healing progress. Your body chemistry has changed and it now has different requirements.
A person should be conscious of what food they put into their body even after implementing the Lyme Disease diet. While gluten, dairy, and sugar may not be a part of your diet anymore, this doesn't change the potential of feeling bad after eating a certain food, even if it is gluten, dairy, and sugar free.
What are the chances that as a person with Lyme Disease, you've had to stop using your favorite cologne, or switch to an unscented soap? The odds are pretty good because chemical sensitives are incredibly common in those with Lyme Disease. A person can become hyper sensitive to chemicals in the products a person uses or comes in contact with every single day such as soap, cologne, cigarette smoke, pesticides, and cleaning products to name a few. And even the harsher chemicals such as bleach and ammonia (already in high levels in those with Lyme), can really wreck havoc on a person with Lyme Disease who has developed a chemical sensitivity.
The most common reaction a person with a chemical sensitivity is usually just a worsening of brain fog and cognitive dysfunction, but it could have a more pronounced anatomical effect. The body's detox channels can become so sluggish and inefficient from all the toxins released from pathogens and the pathogens themselves, that the chemicals a person could normally tolerate on a daily basis become intolerable. The body is so backed up that any exposure to a chemical level that the body must process will cause a negative physiological reaction. Take this as a hint that detoxification should either be amped up or altered. In the meantime, avoid products that can cause you to feel worse.
More specifically the temperature of the body, which is ultimately and heavily influenced by a person's environmental temperature. Too hot and a person with Lyme, and especially candida, can feel horrible. Circumstances that can cause a person's body temperature to rise include a hot shower, the weather, a sauna, and exercise. Raising the body's temperature enough can cause the pathogens inside to die, and depending on the type of pathogen dying, a herxheimer reaction may occur. Heat may also help to release toxins from the tissue and recirculate back into the bloodstream.
There is something about the cold weather, specifically the settling of Winter that causes a person with Lyme Disease to feel worse than what they would normally feel during the Spring or Summer. Many have said that the Winter is when the Lyme bacteria comes out of hiding and thrive, naturally causing a person to feel worse. Believe it or not, there are people who intentionally move from colder climates to warmer climate on this basis alone.
8. The Moon
While those with Lyme Disease don't turn into a werewolf during a full moon, they do turn into zombies - a zombie by the definition of serve brain fog and physical distress that makes them appear more dead than alive. Many of the symptoms a person with Lyme Disease normally experiences on a daily basis become greatly exacerbated not just during a full moon, but a new moon as well.
It may not be the actual moon itself that makes them feel horrible, but what has been postulated to be the greater presence of bacteria that come out for their 28 day reproduction cycle. Even at the same treatment protocol dosage the day of the full moon as the day before one, a person can feel worse because the amount of bacteria being exposed to that treatment protocol dosage is greater than what would have normally been exposed. So it isn't just the dosage of a treatment protocol that can make a person with Lyme herx, but the amount of bacteria exposed to that dosage, and during a full moon the amount of bacteria increases.
Even those who have Lyme Disease but aren't on a treatment protocol for it, can still feel worse during a full or new moon. Learn more.
Exercise, while highly recommended for those with Lyme for reconditioning and healing, can cause a person to temporarily feel worse. It's very likely that if you were an avid runner, biker, or weight lifter before Lyme Disease, that you have now either given up these exercise entirely, or greatly reduced how much of each you perform.
Aerobic exercise such as running or any type of intense cardio will heat the body up which can cause die off reactions, and depending on the type of cardio, help to release toxins back into the bloodstream. Anaerobic exercise such as lifting weight or intense muscle contractions can also cause a person to feel worse, but not as quickly as aerobic exercise. There is usually a delayed reaction in feeling worse with anaerobic exercise compared to aerobic exercise, but this isn't always the case. Forcing the muscles to contract more so than what they normally do can further expedite the release of toxins back into the blood stream.
It's also important to consider that Lyme Disease can distort hormones, glucose levels, the endocrine system, and nutrient intake as well. Pushing a body to extreme, or what has always been considered normal levels of exercise, can leave a person with Lyme feeling greatly exhausted, with muscle weakness, more pain, and an overall exacerbation of symptoms. Don't remove exercise entirely, but keep it as part of your healing protocol to levels that you can handle as an individual. Learn more.
Yes, even sex or masturbation, an activity that calls upon the body for a lot of nutrients and chemicals that are already greatly depleted, and organs that aren't functioning at 100%, can cause a person with Lyme to feel worse afterwards.
Some of the nutrients the body needs for sex include, but aren't limited to, zinc and magnesium. These nutrients weren't chosen at random. Zinc and magnesium were chosen because they are two nutrients that those with Lyme Disease have a tendency to be deficient with because the bacteria for Lyme Disease apparently uses them for its own agenda. Engaging in sex can force the body to use up its potentially already low supply of zinc, magnesium, and other nutrients, and in doing so, may be the reason why those with Lyme feel worse after having sex or masturbation. More research needs to be done on this subject as a whole.
11. High Stress
When the body is exposed to a high stress situation, it has an innate response to allow it to cope - the flight or fight response. The flight or fight response activated in those with Lyme Disease appears to cause more stress on the body than the initial reason that caused it high stress in the first place. You have the adrenal glands being called upon, and in those with Lyme, adrenal fatigue is likely already present.
Glucose levels rise, or at least they're called upon to do so, and a person with Lyme may be dealing with Lyme induced glucose problems. The glucose that is needed to fuel muscles during a fight or flight response may not be there for consumption, or may be distorted, which may be the cause for shaky or weak muscles. The body also releases a lot of hormones during a high stress situation which may also not be available for use because Lyme can affect the endocrine system.
All of these imbalances will not allow the flight or fight response to work in the way evolution has intended it to, and as an alternative result, leave a person with Lyme feeling all out of whack for potentially a day or more. High stress situations are very taxing on a body without Lyme Disease, and a body with Lyme Disease really takes the hit.
It's very important as someone who is enduring chronic Lyme Disease to listen to your body. You can read all the information you want, and take all the advice you can handle about how you as a person suffering from Lyme Disease should behave and perform in order to heal, but at the end of the day, it's how you feel, and the only person who truly know what makes you feel good and bad is you. Don't suffer if it's not necessary, especially if it's in your direct control. Maintaining quality of life to the best of one's ability understand such circumstances is the intended goal.
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- Horowitz, Richard I. Why Can't I Get Better?: Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
- Buhner, Stephen Harrod. Healing Lyme: Natural Prevention and Treatment of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections. Randolph, VT: Raven, 2005. Print.
- "6 Signs That Your Cortisol Levels May Be Too High." @healthcentral. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2014. <http://www.healthcentral.com/anxiety/cf/slideshows/6-signs-that-your-cortisol-levels-may-be-too-high>.
- "Lyme Disease and Zinc." Lyme Disease A Patients Guide RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2014. <http://lymediseaseguide.org/lyme-diseas-zinc>.
- "Dr Klinghardts Treatment of Lyme Disease." Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2014. <http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/08/04/dr-klinghardts-treatment-of-lyme-disease.aspx>.
- "The Most Essential Nutrients for a Strong Sex Drive." NaturalNews. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2014. <http://www.naturalnews.com/023361_nutrients_body_life.html>.
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