The American Gastroenterological Association reports that 40% of Americans’ lives are disrupted by digestive problems. The most common issues are GERD, gallstones, Celiac, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis.
Many people seeking help with their symptoms related to these issues meet with a general practitioner who orders lab work and prescribes medicine to control the symptoms. When the lab work returns to normal, they refer you to a specialist who orders endoscopies, colonoscopies, and sonograms. When nothing is found, they change your diet and lifestyle. This makes you feel like your digestive pain is your fault when it could be something more serious, like Lyme disease.
Fortunately, Lyme-literate doctors understand the gut-Lyme connection and are helping many people get the relief they deserve.
How Can Lyme Disease Affect the Gut?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease. When a deer tick infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi bites and embeds under the skin of a human, the bacteria are transmitted into a person’s bloodstream. Bacteria, or spirochetes, multiply and spread to various body parts, causing extreme and painful symptoms in those areas.
When most people think of Lyme disease, they think of arthritis and fatigue, which are very common. However, another area the bacteria can travel to is the digestive tract.
Multiple studies on children and young adults with digestive problems ranging from Crohn’s to ulcerative colitis were tested to see if the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria was present, and in most cases, it was.
Bacteria in the Digestive System
If your digestive system is not working well, the rest of your body will feel the effects. The gut contains good bacteria that absorb and distribute nutrients from the foods you eat. This gives you energy. The good bacteria also help control the harmful bacteria that try to sneak in and cause problems.
The bacteria in your digestive system, good or bad, influence the health of your heart, immune system, brain, and nervous system. The bacteria associated with Lyme disease are tough to control and can outnumber good bacteria. When this happens, it weakens your overall health.
When left untreated or if you are misdiagnosed, you may develop chronic Lyme disease. This can mean the bad bacteria are making it impossible to absorb your body’s nutrients necessary to thrive.
Symptoms of Lyme Bacteria in the Digestive System
Borrelia burgdorferi in the digestive tract can lead to inflammation, bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, reflux, and much more. The spirochetes burrow in the digestive system, causing significant issues.
Many symptoms of having bacteria in the gut do not appear in the gut. You will notice the symptoms in other parts of the body. It’s essential to note that what happens in the gut directly influences the rest of the body.
Gastrointestinal Lyme disease symptoms can appear in the early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated stages. Symptoms in each stage may include the following, which may worsen as the disease progresses:
- Abdominal pain
Specific Conditions Resulting from Gastrointestinal Lyme Disease
If you have ever been told that your liver enzymes are high or that you may have fatty liver disease, don’t count out Lyme disease as the culprit. Persistent disease can even lead to Hepatitis or inflammation of the liver. According to some, Hepatitis occurs in at least 15% of people with Lyme disease.
Here are a few more conditions resulting from gastrointestinal Lyme Disease
- Nervous System Dysregulation
The digestive system is complex but connects to the brain and central nervous system. Lyme bacteria in the gut can travel to these areas and change how they function, leading to the development of major conditions.
Autonomic neuropathy is nerve damage that impairs how the brain communicates with the body’s organs. It occurs when your nerves are damaged, leading to dysfunction of the digestive system and body functions.
Lyme bacteria attack the endocrine system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, causing hormonal imbalances and disrupting how the immune system responds to stressors.
The central nervous system regulates sleep. You may find falling or staying asleep hard when not functioning correctly. Lack of quality sleep affects your mood, weakens your immune system, and impairs cognitive functioning.
In the early disseminated stage of Lyme disease, a common symptom is facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy. Paralysis can also take place in the digestive system, known as gastroparesis. The Lyme bacteria attack the digestive tract and the nervous system, slowing motility. Essentially, the muscles that move food through the digestive tract become paralyzed, and food builds up, leading to nausea, vomiting, constipation, and pain.
- Leaky Gut Syndrome
Lyme bacteria triggers multiple symptoms that lead to leaky gut syndrome when combined. The way it works feels like a cycle that comes and goes. First, dysbiosis is a component that throws off the bacterial balance. Second, inflammation is sent to the gut to find the bacteria causing the imbalance. The back and forth between these two cause gaps in the intestinal walls, allowing food particles and bacteria into your bloodstream.
Treatment Options for Gastrointestinal Lyme Disease
Working with a Lyme-literate doctor is a must. They offer advanced treatments on modern equipment, following the most recent guidelines. For example, the first line of treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics. Lyme-literate doctors deliver the antibiotics directly to your bloodstream through an IV rather than have you take them orally.
Lyme-literate doctors go beyond antibiotics and offer treatments to give you clean, healthy blood. You can receive therapeutic apheresis, which replaces unhealthy blood with donated, healthy blood using a simple machine.
Treatments to boost and strengthen your immune system so it can do a better job at fighting Lyme bacteria include immunomodulation, hyperthermia, and detox protocols. IV Glutathione protects the nervous system, brain, muscles, joints, and more. You can receive custom neuropathy, anti-parasitic, and anti-viral protocols.
If you feel your gastrointestinal issues may be related to Lyme disease, consider traveling outside the United States, Canada, and the UK to Mexico to meet with a top clinic, Lyme Mexico. We can discuss your symptoms and the treatment options that work.