Lyme Disease Coinfections

Getting your Lyme Disease Coinfections treated

When people think of tick-borne illness, they usually think of Lyme disease.

However, ticks can cause many other diseases, such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, tularemia, Q fever, and tick paralysis (CDC). Lyme practitioners also recognize another type of tick-borne disease, from organisms in the Bartonella genus.

You might pick up these diseases without getting Lyme disease. However, if you have Lyme diseases, chances are that you have some additional tick-borne infections.

If you have Lyme disease that hasn't gone away with the typical 3-4 weeks of antibiotic treatment, you'll need to go to a Lyme-literate doctor (LLMD or LLND - for a Lyme-literate naturopathic doctor). You can get the name of a doctor from a Lyme disease forum. A good LLMD or LLND should test and treat you for any coinfections. However, many of the coinfection tests are not especially sensitive. For example, there are many species of Bartonella, yet the standard test is for only one or two species. Thus, doctors sometimes need to treat based on clinical symptoms, even with negative test results.

Because of the difficulty of identifying and obtaining positive test results for coinfections, it is important for patients to learn about the symptoms themselves.

For example, I have been experiencing sore soles of the feet in the morning upon waking. If I didn't know it was a Bartonella symptom, I probably would have disregarded it, but since I know it's a symptom, I was able to mention it to my Lyme-literate doctor.

 

Some Symptoms of Common Coinfections

Bartonella

  • Sore soles of the feet in the morning
  • Encephalopathy (brain involvement) out of proportion with symptoms in the rest of the body
  • Red splotches or raised spots on the skin
  • Subcutaneous nodules  
  • Feeling of "coming down with something"
  • Unexplained anxiety  
  • Mental symptoms  

Babesia

  • Sweats, including night sweats
  • Air hunger, shortness of breath
  • Heating/fever and chills, temperature instability 
  • Anemia

Ehrlichia

  • elevated liver enzymes 
  • persistent leukopenia (low white blood cells)
  • thrombocytopenia (low platelets)
  • muscle pain
  • headaches

Note: This symptom list is incomplete. Ehrlichia is usually treated by the same medication used as a first treatment Lyme disease, doxycycline. 

Learn more about the Coinfections

The book below, The Lyme Disease Solution, was written by a Lyme doctor and describes in detail the symptoms, testing, and treatment of the common Lyme disease coinfections. It helped me to know what blood tests would be good to request in order to see how Lyme and coinfections were affecting me.

This book also can be helpful for educating yourself about the coinfection symptoms. It has in-depth discussions of the major coinfections and their treatment. Another strength of this book is a good chapter about what to eat when you have Lyme and related diseases. The main message is to eat a low-sugar anti-inflammatory diet.

 

The Lyme Disease Solution
The Lyme Disease Solution

A great book on lab tests, symptoms, and antibiotic and natural treatments for all aspects of Lyme and coinfections.

 

Herbal Protocol for Lyme treatment back-up

Sometimes it takes a while to get an appointment with a Lyme doctor. You might have to wait a month or two or travel to see your doctor. This book, Healing Lyme, describes an herbal protocol of 3 or more herbs that you can use while waiting for antibiotic treatment.

The book describes and discusses the science behind herbs that might be helpful for:

  • Lyme disease
  • Bartonella
  • Babesia
  • Ehrlichia
  • Lyme eye symptoms (floaters, etc.)
  • memory and cognitive dysfunction
  • Lyme arthritis
  • Lyme carditis
  • Bell's palsy (mild facial paralysis)
  • immune support

In my experience, this protocol helped me greatly by staving off my usual relapse between when my regular doctors stopped prescribing me antibiotics and when I was able to have my first appointment with a Lyme-literate doctor. Some people get better on this protocol, but I mostly stayed the same, and once I had the option, I decided to go back on antibiotics.

In addition to describing herbs for Lyme disease and coinfections, this book gives an extremely in-depth description of scientific research about the Lyme organism and how it enters and affects the body. It is the most scientific Lyme book I have seen.

 

Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections
Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections

My favorite Lyme disease book. Describes the science behind everything in the book. Gives suggestions for using herbs as a back-up treatment if you have to wait for antibiotic treatment, or as a sole treatment if they work for you.

 
Andrographis paniculata, an anti-spirochetal herb (Lyme disease is caused a spirochetal bacterium).
Andrographis paniculata, an anti-spirochetal herb (Lyme disease is caused a spirochetal bacterium).

If you want more specific information and help for Bartonella or Babesia, you might look at Dr. James Schaller's books on these coinfections. They include discussions of antibiotic and non-drug treatment possibilities.

Conclusion

All in all, if you have reason to believe that you have any tick-borne illness, it is important to consider the many different tick-borne illnesses, not just Lyme disease. Tick-borne coinfections can cause some serious symptoms and should not be ignored.

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Comments 7 comments

moonlake profile image

moonlake 7 years ago from America

I have just had trouble getting doctors to test for lyme they laugh when their ask to test. It's common here I have two friends that got it last year. Good hub.


alex 7 years ago

Could you please email me and tell me your dr who treated and cured your Lyme? mine advances very very fast and I am afraid to wait until september 28 when I have my 1st appointment.


alex 7 years ago

Could you please email me and tell me your dr who treated and cured your Lyme? mine advances very very fast and I am afraid to wait until september 28 when I have my 1st appointment. ups haven t seen that you did not ask for email hidden. anyway I am greenhours on hotmail dot france


Little Nell 6 years ago

Good hub. Lyme disease awareness seems to be poor in the UK though we live in an area where it is known to be prevalent. Our GP has ruled it out as a diagnosis for my husband who has all of the symptoms as she says that Lyme cannot cause longterm health problems. I would like him to take doxycycline but she has refused to prescribe


LymeLiterate profile image

LymeLiterate 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

You did an amazing job writing your article! I am also writing Lyme articles, tackling co-infections. I also published the book, The Object of My Infection. Just wanted to say I think you did great! I was glad to see that you included andrographis- this is an herb that I live by. My LLMD turned me onto it! I also clicked a few of your ads to show my thanks for writing your article! Brightest Blessings! Tara


WordCrafter09 profile image

WordCrafter09 6 years ago from New England

Very informative Hub. Voted up.


LydiaBlogg profile image

LydiaBlogg 5 years ago from New England

Thanks for the nice, informative article. Have you heard of the CD57 blood test? I don't yet understand exactly what it is, but my doctor told me that results under a 60 have only ever been seen in Lyme patients.

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