Lyme disease diagnosis can be a time-consuming, costly, disheartening process. These are my lessons from the darkness.
Lyme disease diagnosis is complicated for many reasons. For one thing, many symptoms of Lyme disease are often found in other conditions. For another, Lyme isn’t always caught early. Antibiotics don’t always work. Some people who have unexplained signs and symptoms of chronic disease might have Lyme disease even if it hasn’t been diagnosed.
For example, some people don’t get a Lyme disease rash at all, let alone right away. (A bullseye rash, or erythema migrans rash, occurs in only about 75% of people bitten by an infected tick, and it can take seven days on average for that rash to become visible.) In addition, people with a rash might not test positive during the early stages of Lyme disease.
The process can be complicated, frustrating, and costly.
Lyme Disease Diagnosis Via Lab Tests
If you know you’ve been bitten by an infected tick or if you have spent time in an area known for ticks, see your family doctor or a general practitioner. Tell your doctor your symptoms and when they began, along with all medications, vitamins, and other supplements you take.
Key questions to ask your doctor include the following:
- What is likely causing my symptoms? Are there other possible causes?
- What tests do I need, and what’s the best course of action?
- What alternatives are there to the approach you’re suggesting?
Your doctor, in turn, might refer you to a rheumatologist, infectious disease specialist, Lyme disease specialist, or other specialist.
Lyme Disease Treatment
Lab tests to identify antibodies to the bacteria can help confirm or rule out a Lyme disease diagnosis. These tests are most reliable a few weeks after an infection. By then, your body has had time to develop antibodies. The two main tests are ELISA and Western blot:
- Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test is used most often to detect Lyme. ELISA detects antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, but it can provide false-positive results.
- Western blot test may be used to confirm a positive ELISA diagnosis. In this two-step approach, the Western blot detects antibodies to several proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi.
Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease. Recovery is usually faster and more complete the sooner treatment begins. Standard treatment for early-stage Lyme is 14-21 days of oral antibiotics such as doxycycline (for adults and children older than 8) or amoxicillin or cefuroxime (for adults, younger children, and pregnant or breast-feeding women).
If the disease involves the central nervous system, your doctor might recommend an intravenous antibiotic for 14-28 days. Intravenous Lyme disease treatment often eliminates infection, but it may take you some time to recover from your symptoms. These antibiotics can cause such side effects as a lower white blood cell count, mild to severe diarrhea, or colonization or infection with other antibiotic-resistant organisms unrelated to Lyme.
Lessons from the Darkness
After treatment, some people still have some symptoms, including muscle aches and fatigue. These continuing symptoms are known as post-Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), and their cause is a mystery. In these cases, treatment with more antibiotics usually doesn’t help. In addition, some experts believe that some people who get Lyme disease are predisposed to develop an autoimmune response that contributes to their symptoms.
As I described in Lessons from the Darkness, I suffered from Lyme disease for nearly four years. I dealt with one symptom after another and saw one specialist after another. I took antibiotics and costly medicines (each with its own side effects). I spent hours each week scouring scientific studies, health forums, and message boards in search of a magic bullet.
People with chronic Lyme disease often turn to a million alternative “miracle” treatments in the hopes that they bring relief. I did too. My solution came down to science. The one that worked for me is Phyllanthus niruri, an all-natural herb that grows in the Peruvian Amazon. As I came to learn, it’s possibly the world’s healthiest plant.
Phyllanthus niruri for Chronic Lyme
I discovered Phyllanthus niruri (also called Chanca Piedra and Stone Breaker) through extensive research. Phyllanthus niruri is an anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-plasmodial plant used in traditional medicine to attack the spirochete that causes syphilis. It’s also known for providing great kidney stone support. I drank Phyllanthus niruri tea three times a day for three months and no longer had Lyme. That was almost 10 years ago.
I’m not suggesting that Phyllanthus cured me. However, I believe the tea supported my immune system and interacted with the Lyme pathogen in ways that helped my body clear the infection. Armed with weapons of “stealth pathology,” the Lyme spirochete is a formidable infectious agent. Phyllanthus niruri neutralizes or disarms many of the agent’s weapons, leaving the spirochete vulnerable to the power of the body’s immune response.
Phyllanthus also assists the body’s healthy response. It has been shown to block DNA and RNA transferase, stopping the spirochete from replicating. Blocking the spirochete may decrease the bacterial load to a level that won’t overwhelm the body’s defenses.
Phyllanthus niruri offers exceptional immune system support. The more I learned about the plant, the more I appreciated the elegance of the actions of its phytoconstituents. These phytoconstituents are why I consider it the ultimate support for those battling Lyme disease.
Learn more about Lyme disease and Phyllanthus niruri here:
- Lyme Symptoms and Lyme Disease Support
- Borrelia burgdorferi and Lyme
- Phyllanthus FAQ
- Find a Trusted Source for Phyllanthus
- Phyllanthus Immune Support
- Phyllanthus for Kidney Stones
- Immune Support Kits Containing Phyllanthus