There are several questions I hear often, so I thought it would be best to answer them all here. There are also many myths about Lyme disease. Hopefully, this will help put some of them to rest.
Note: Please see Lyme Disease Facts for answers to the most common misconceptions.
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?
There are hundreds of symptoms of Lyme disease and its co-infections. Symptoms vary from individual to individual.
Is there a cure?
At this time, there is no cure. There are many theories and schools of thought on how to diagnose and treat this disease. However, no one completely understands all of the mechanisms of the Lyme spirochete to date. No one has found “the way” to diagnose or treat this disease with 100% accuracy. Much more research is needed in order to progress on this. Unfortunately, there is a lot of controversy surrounding this disease preventing proper research from being done.
Can you die from Lyme disease?
Yes. If left untreated, there are many ways that the Lyme spirochete can cause death, including heart and organ failure, affecting the brain to the point it shuts down, and severe neurological damage. Besides this, there are many psychological issues caused by Lyme disease which can and often does lead to suicide.
If I have a negative test result, does this mean I don’t have it?
Current testing for Lyme disease is unreliable. Clinical diagnosis remains the most effective method. However, symptoms of Candida are almost identical to Lyme symptoms. There are many other illnesses and underlying causes that can also create similar symptoms. It is important to get a proper diagnosis by a Lyme Literate Doctor (LLMD). It never hurts to get a second opinion.
My doctor doesn’t believe in Lyme disease. What do I do?
If you go to see your doctor because you believe you have contracted Lyme disease and your doctor says they do not believe in or do not treat Lyme disease, go to another doctor. Specifically, go to a Lyme Literate Doctor (LLMD). Early diagnosis and proper treatment are critical for success with this disease.
What is an LLMD?
My insurance won’t pay for Lyme disease treatment (or I don’t have insurance) is it okay to self-treat?
While there are many people with Lyme disease who do and have self-treated, I would never recommend this. Self-diagnosis can lead to misdiagnosis. Self-treating can be incredibly dangerous and ultimately unsuccessful leading to a more persistent infection. There are other options for getting help with treatment.
What treatments are the best?
This is a common question and there is no blanket answer. Treatment depends on the presence of other co-infections, the history and length of time of infection, and the individual person. Treatment for Lyme disease must be customized to the individual due to the nature of the Lyme spirochete. Some people respond well to conventional treatments, some to alternative treatments, and some a combination of both.
How long do I have to stay on antibiotics?
What are co-infections?
Co-infections are other associated infections. These can include other tick-borne illnesses as well as common infections due to treatment, such as Candida.
What can I do to help with nausea from antibiotics?
Taking antibiotics can often cause nausea and is usually best taken on an empty stomach which compounds the effects. Each person has varying degrees and tolerances of nausea from this. If you can’t keep the medicine down, you will need to discuss other options with your doctor. I found if I ate a handful of almonds right before it seemed to work. If I didn’t do that, at exactly 45 minutes after taking them I would be hit with a wave of nausea that was hard to suppress. Find something that works for you.
How long before I start feeling better?
This is a common question and is not easily answered. It is different for every person. This disease affects different people in different ways and in different severities. The best I can say is that you will feel worse before you start to feel better, and that is normal, due to the Herxheimer Reaction.
For those undergoing long term treatment, please understand that it goes in waves. You will get worse, then better, then worse again. Try not to focus on the negatives. Focus on the little successes.
What do you do about depression?
Depression is a real issue with this disease. Get the help and support that you need when it comes to this. Lyme disease can be very painful, can seem unbearable and unending, and it can do strange things to your brain, adrenals, and neurological system.
Personally, medication has never been an option for me and I believe it does more harm than good in the long run, particularly with Lyme. Often times, it can be alleviated with a little perspective. Either way, get help if you need it. Discuss all of your options with your doctor.
What is Candida and what does it have to do with Lyme disease?
Candida is a naturally occurring yeast that exists within the human digestive system. When a person takes antibiotics, all of the “good bacteria” is killed along with the bad. This creates an imbalance which allows Candida to thrive and turn into a pathogenic infection with symptoms that closely mimic Lyme disease symptoms.
Is it really necessary to eat a strict diet while undergoing Lyme disease treatment?
How long do I have to stay on the diet?
It takes a good amount of time to restore your body completely to its natural functions. The severity and duration of the infection determines how long it will take for your body to restore balance, sometimes months or years. The Elimination diet is designed to be customized to each individual for long term health.
There is so much conflicting information available. How do I know what is true and what isn’t?
The Resources Pages are specifically designed to help you weed out the bad info. While not complete, I tried to provide the best and most trusted sites. When browsing the internet, reading books, listening to talks, or even reading medical papers and scientific reviews: take what you read or hear with a grain of salt. Always research who is behind the information and determine if they are a trusted source.
There is a lot of controversy, money, politics, greed, and arrogance surrounding this disease along with a lot of opinions. The simple truth of it all is we desperately NEED more research and a better understanding of this disease, how the Lyme spirochete functions (entirely), and how it affects different types of humans and animals and why.
Is there any proof for the claims that are made by both sides of the controversy?
There is a ton of clinical and scientific evidence available regarding Lyme disease. As with anything, you can find someone to support your position no matter what it is these days. Again, research who or what is behind it. If it is a corporation or entity that stands to make money or lose their reputation, you may want to consider the validity of the information. Look for conflicts of interest.
There are people that are suffering severely from this disease. There is evidence that Chronic Lyme exists and persists as an infection. The truth behind the disease is undeniable when you research it. On the other hand, there are also people claiming to have “the cure” for Lyme disease when there clearly is no cure…yet. Use your best judgment when it comes to information you find. If it doesn’t make sense, it probably isn’t true. For more information please go to the Controversy page and the Resources page.
Myths and creeds are heroic struggles to comprehend the truth in the world.