Chronic Disease Group discussion

Why Can't I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease
Dr. Horowitz's Wisdom > Chapter 11: Discussion and Summary

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Rebecca Guglielmo | 50 comments Mod
Chapter 11: Lyme and Hormones

Discussion Questions:
1. Have you been tested for hormone imbalances?
2. Have you experienced hormone imbalances and if so, were you successful in re-balancing?


• Dr. Horowitz says that endocrine, or hormonal abnormalities, are the most important factor when trying to explain ongoing symptoms. Hormone deficiencies and imbalances are some of the most commonly overlooked caused for the failure of antibiotics in MSIDS patients.

• Thyroid Hormones are commonly found in Lyme patients, sometimes having an overlapping autoimmune thyroid problem, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

o Dr. H notes that patient’s thyroid function results should be evaluated using the new references ranges established by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. TSH 0.3 -3.0

o Cytokines can suppress thyroid hormone levels, so TSH and T4 may not be reliable predictors. A full thyroid panel including anti-TG and anti-TPO antibodies, T4, T3, free T3, and reverse T3 with a TSH.

• Adrenal dysfunction follows right behind Thyroid in common endocrine abnormalities in MSIDS patients. In times of stress the adrenal glands secrete high levels of hormones; DHEA, aldosterone, and cortisol.

o High Cortisol levels can disrupt sleep, the digestive system, learning and memory processes. Dr. H suggests Phosphatidylserine at night and adaptogenic herbs during the day to rebalance the adrenal glands.

o Symptoms of adrenal fatigue overlap MSIDS and Lyme disease; nonregenerative sleep, salt cravings, hypoglycemia, decreased libido, fatigue, low blood pressure, depression, memory issues, reduced immune system response.

• Low sex hormones can also explain treatment resistance as Dr. H discusses in the section, “Testosterone Replacement Therapies for Men.”

o Low levels of testosterone result in increased mortality levels being 88% higher than men with normal levels. This contributes to degenerative diseases of aging that involve chronic inflammation. Its deficiency is also associated with a decline in energy, lethargy, anemia, insomnia, low mental energy, depression and anxiety, loss of muscle, and increase in abdominal fat. Perhaps, “normal” with aging, but low T is also found in young men with Lyme Disease.

o There are both prescription and natural ways to increase testosterone. It is critical that men exercise regularly and get good sleep to naturally increase testosterone.

• Women also are affected by a lowering DHEA, cortisol and testosterone, but mainly it is estrogen and progesterone that play the major role.

o MSIDS patients tend to be either estrogen dominant or deficient. Symptoms include irregular and/or heavy menses, increased ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, weight gain, bloating, irritability, anxiety with mood swings and hypersensitivity.

o Can be caused by a poor diet, stress, adrenal fatigue, luteal phase deficiency, erratic cycles, and in post menopause estrogen can decline by up to 60%.

o Estrogen dominance is now common for many women because of the load of xenoestrogens that regularly enter the body from industrial pollution. Detoxification is important.

o Imbalances between estrogen and progesterone can cause fatigue, low libido, hot flashes and sweats, and memory and concentration problems.

message 2: by Vicki (new) - added it

Vicki (vicki46) | 52 comments This was my favorite chapter because I had Hashimoto's thyroididits before the Lyme. I have had a wonky thyroid since age 5. For most of my life I took Synthroid without much difficulty. The Lyme kicked the Hashimoto's into overdrive, I think, or at least now it is a LOT worse. I take Armour Thyroid now. And I have to take the adrenal saliva cortisol test, but am trying to pick a day when I am home and have no appointment or errands. It is a pain, that test!

message 3: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Guglielmo | 50 comments Mod
I think it's really amazing how certain things in our life can make us become more vulnerable to future infections. From toxins to our genetics. It is one complicated puzzle! Also, most testing is so unreliable especially when it comes to hormone levels, it makes it hard to know how to treat. For example, my progesterone and estrogen were in normal ranges and thus ignored until one doctor paid more attention to their ratio. My luteal phase was all over the place until we fixed that small imbalance.

Vicki wrote: "This was my favorite chapter because I had Hashimoto's thyroididits before the Lyme. I have had a wonky thyroid since age 5. For most of my life I took Synthroid without much difficulty. The Lyme k..."

message 4: by Vicki (new) - added it

Vicki (vicki46) | 52 comments Ha, I am not even sure what that means! I will look it up. But how did you fix it?

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