I had this experience right before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. There was some unknown illness that reminisced of flu-like symptoms settling into my sinuses and chest. No test would prove so, but nonetheless, I was terribly sick then confined to my bed for months.
One thing I do remember with vigor is that each time my doctor unwilling prescribed antibiotics I'd feel much better during the course of therapy. This went on for four months through three different prescriptions of various antibiotics. Each time symptoms began to abate only to return a day or two after that last pill was ingested.
I cam upon an interesting article from Pro Health I'd like to share a few tidbits with you. It was written by Gabe Mirkin, MD.
Before I prescribe any medication, I ask myself whether it will help or hurt. All of the autoimmune diseases cause severe disability. Conventional medications neither cure these diseases nor stop the progressive destruction that they cause. Doctors prescribe immune suppressives that sometimes have deadly effects. Antibiotics are far safer that the drugs conventionally used to treat these diseases. So, if antibiotics can be shown to help control these diseases, they should be used long before a doctor thinks of using the conventional immune suppressives.
When a germ gets into your body, you are supposed to produce cells and proteins called antibodies that attach to and kill that germ. These diseases are felt by many doctors to be caused by your own immunity. Instead of doing its job of killing germs, your immunity attacks your own tissue. If it attacks your joints, it's called reactive arthritis; if it attacks your intestines, it’s called Crohn’s disease; your colon, it’s called ultra ulcerative colitis; and if it fills your lungs with mucous, it’s called late onset asthma. I do not believe that your immunity is that stupid.
Accumulating data show that all of these conditions can be caused by infection. Many diseases that were thought to be autoimmune turn out to be infections: stomach ulcers are caused by bacterium, helicobacter pylori and others; multiple sclerosis may be caused by HHS-6 virus; rheumatic fever is caused by the bacterium, beta streptococcus, group A; Gillian-Barre syndrome may be caused by the bacterium, campylobacter; Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis by E. Coli, Klebsiella and Bacteroides; and so forth.
Shouldn’t We Be Concerned About Resistant Bacteria?
The argument that giving antibiotics causes bacteria to be resistant to that antibiotic is reasonable, but it has no place in discouraging people with these diseases from taking them. First, these people have serious diseases that cause permanent damage life and death. Second, the treatments that are available are toxic, shorten life, cause cancer, and have to be followed by frequent blood tests. On the other hand, I prescribe derivatives of tetracycline and erythromycin. These are extraordinarily safe and do not require drawing frequent blood tests.
If you were to become infected subsequently with bacteria that are resistant to these antibiotics, you would have lost nothing. No reasonable doctor would prescribe erythromycin or tetracycline for acute serious diseases, such as meningitis, pneumonia, or an abscess, because tetracyclines and erythromycins do not kill germs, they only stop them from multiplying. Instead, doctors prescribe far more bacteriocidal antibiotics that kill bacteria.
Many doctors criticize my use of antibiotics, but many antibiotics are far safer than conventional treatment, cost less, can be administered by a general practitioner, and often cure the condition, rather that just suppressing symptoms. I know that most physicians who develop these conditions will treat themselves with antibiotics because they know that conventional treatments with prednisone, chloroquine, azathioprine, and methotrexate are toxic and my treatments with erythromycins and tetracyclines are safe.
The Hidden Epidemic—Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, and Ureaplasma
Mycoplasma, chlamydia, and ureaplasma are the smallest of free-living organisms. They are unlike all other all other bacteria because they have no cell walls and therefore must live inside cells. They are unlike viruses because they can live in cultures outside of cells and can be killed by certain antibiotics. However, they cannot be killed by most antibiotics, as most antibiotics work by damaging a bacteria’s cell wall. They can be killed by antibiotics such as tetracyclines or erythromycins that do not act on a cell wall.
If you feel sick and your doctor is unable to make a diagnosis because all laboratory tests and cultures fail to reveal a cause, you could be infected with one or more of these bacteria. The only way that you will be cured is for your doctor to suspect an infection with these germs and for you to take long-acting erythromycin or tetracyclines for several weeks, months or years. They are the most common cause of venereal diseases and are a common cause of muscle and joint pains, burning in the stomach, a chronic cough, and chronic fatigue. They can cause transverse myelitis (paralysis of the spine); gall stones; a chronic sore throat; red itchy eyes, pain on looking at light and blindness; arthritis; brain and nerve damage with symptoms of lack of coordination, headaches and passing out; spotting between periods or uterine infections; kidney stones; testicular pain; asthma; heart attacks; strokes; cerebral palsy; premature birth; high blood pressure; nasal polyps; stuffy nose in newborns; chronic fatigue; belly pain; muscle pain; confusion; passing out and death; coughing; bloody diarrhea; and anal itching and bleeding.
Mycoplasma, chlamydia, and ureaplasma infections are extraordinary difficult to diagnose and treat. No dependable tests are available to most practicing physicians that will rule infections with these bacteria in or out, and most doctors will not prescribe antibiotics to patients unless they have results of a laboratory test that confirms a specific infection. If you feel sick and your doctor unable to make a diagnosis because all laboratory test and cultures fail to reveal a cause, you could be infected with mycoplasma, chlamydia, or ureaplasma and will be cured only by taking long-acting erythromycin or tetracyclines for many months.
Usually the first symptoms from chlamydia, ureaplasma and mycoplasma are burning on urination, a feeling that you have to urinate all the time, terrible discomfort when the bladder is full and vaginal itching, odor or discharge. Other first symptoms include itchy eyes, a cough or a burning in your nose. The bacteria are transmitted through sexual contact, or you can be infected when an infected person coughs in your face or you touched nasal or eye secretions from an infected person and put your finger in your nose or eye. Your chances for a cure are high if you are treated when you have only local symptoms; but after many months the infection can spread to other parts of your body and make you sick or damage nerves, joints and muscles.
Once these infections are allowed to persist for months or years, they are extraordinarily difficult to cure and often require treatment for many months. Even if your doctor is willing to prescribe antibiotics, treatment can be difficult. Often patients do not take the medication long enough to be cured, or they may have a close contact with an infected person and become reinfected. One patient in four takes of medication as prescribed and almost all women who had chlamydia one month after treatment had been reinfected by new or old partners.
My recommended treatment: I often prescribe 500 mg of azithromycin twice a week and/or doxycycline 100-mg twice a day. Many physicians disagree with these recommendations, so check with your doctor to see if you may be a candidate for this treatment.
Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
Fibromyalgia means that a previously healthy person develops unexplained exhaustion, fatigue and muscle aches and pains that last for more that six months; all blood tests are normal and doctors can’t find a cause. One recent report shows that a large number of people who were diagnosed with having fibromyalgia really had polymyalgia rheumatica, which does have abnormal blood tests. A recent report shows that many sufferers have low spinal fluid levels of vitamin B12 can be treated with 1000mcg of B12 each day.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia should be made only after all other causes have been ruled out. Many infections can cause fatigue and muscle pain.
The evaluation should include tests for infectious diseases; such as Lyme disease and Hepatitis B or C, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis or the helicobacter that causes stomach ulcers; autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis; hidden cancers such as those of the breast and prostate; hormonal diseases such as low thyroid; or side effects from a medication or illicit drug. Around 20 percent will be depressed. Most people miss work and complain of illness long before their diagnosis, but the majority will not have a known cause.
Chronic fatigue means that the primary symptom is exhaustion, but most also have constipation and diarrhea. Fibromyalgia usually means that muscle and joint pains are major symptoms, but muscle biopsies are normal, pressure points are not reproducible and ultra sound is normal. Multiple chemical sensitivities mean that patients think that their symptoms are caused by factors in their environment or they consult doctors who think the same thing. Untreated, the symptoms that that lead to any of these diagnoses will usually continue in adults for the rest of their lives. I have prescribed doxycycline 100-mg twice a day for several months, and sometimes azithromycin 500-mg twice a week, and some of my patients get better. However, this treatment is not accepted by most doctors. Please check with your doctor.
If you have belching, burping, a sour taste in your mouth, mouth odor, a white-coated tongue or a burning pain in your stomach or chest that gets worse when you are hungry and better when you eat, you probably have too much stomach acid. Doctors may say you have ulcers, esophagitis, gastritis, duodenitis, achalasia, chalazia, hiatal hernia or reflux. These terms mean that stomach acid is burning your gastrointestinal tract. Most people who have these symptoms have an infection with a bacteria called helicobacter pylori.
If you have these symptoms, you need blood tests to see if you have helicobacter and a special x-ray called an upper GI series to rule out a cancer. Since there are several bacteria that cause stomach cancers ulcers, a negative blood test does not rule out an infection. I usually treat all people with gastritis symptoms with a one-week course of antibiotics: metronidazole four times a day, clarithromycin 500-mg twice a day and omeperazole 20-mg once a day for one week. At least 12 weeks later, you need a follow up blood test for helicobacter.
If your symptoms are gone and the titer drops, you are probably cured. If your helicobacter titer is still high, your helicobacter is probably resistant to metronidazole and your need to be treated for at least ten days with amoxicillin 500-mg four times a day, tetracycline 500-mg three times a day and omeperazole 20-mg once a day. If you have regurgitation of stomach acid into your esophagus (reflux, hiatal hernia), you may need to be treated with 20-mg omeperazole once a day and 10-mg cisapride four times a day. Virtually all physicians have now accepted the infectious causes of stomach problems. Only the manufacturers of over-the-counter remedies still try to make you believe that stomach pain is caused by stress.
Doxycycline, Minocycline and Tetracycline
Many doctors have asked why I treat some of my patients with acne, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and late on-set asthma with antibiotic, doxycycline, when minocycline is probably more effective. Doxycycline is a fairly safe drug, although it can cause a sore throat, sunlight sensitivity, pigmentation and abnormal liver tests. It causes sore throat and heartburn when it gets stuck in your esophagus, so take it with large amounts of water to wash it down to your stomach. To prevent sunburn, avoid excessive exposure to the sun.
Minocycline is fairly safe, but it can cause more serious serum sickness-like reaction, hypersensitivity syndrome reaction, and drug-induced lupus: characterized by fever, joint pain, a rash, a feeling of being sick, hives itching and severe pain. Other reported side effects include dark colored eyeballs, and liver damage.
Minocycline is more effective than doxycycline because it achieves much higher concentrations in the tissues where it does work in reducing swelling, killing germs, and stopping pain. Although minocycline and doxycycline are in the same class of antibiotics as tetracycline, we rarely use tetracycline because it does not achieve high tissue concentrations. Doxycycline achieves much higher tissue concentrations than tetracycline, while minocycline penetrates tissue far more effectively than doxycycline.