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Lyme Disease Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine 1 Hero

What Causes Lyme Disease? The Top 5 Reasons Lyme Disease Remains Chronic

Over 300,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease every year. Despite growing awareness of Lyme disease’s prevalence, the tick-borne illness often goes unnoticed. Even properly diagnosed, Lyme disease can remain in your system for years and severely affect your quality of life.

The doctors at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado are Lyme disease specialists who use functional medicine techniques to diagnose and treat chronic Lyme disease. Their experience with Lyme has revealed the top five reasons Lyme disease remains chronic – some of which might surprise you!

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Some people get Lyme disease and never know they have it. But for others, Lyme remains chronic in their system for years. 

Lyme is chronic when it persists in your body for six months or more, during which time the disease can cause significant damage. 

Acute Lyme symptoms may start with headaches, fever, fatigue, and a skin rash. If left untreated, Lyme can spread to the joints and organs and provoke other health problems, including chronic fatigue, joint pain, achiness, flu-like symptoms, recurrent fevers, and fibromyalgia. 

The ticks that transmit Borrelia Burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) may also carry other bacteria. These co-infections can present distinctive symptoms like migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia, shortness of breath, and more. 

The doctors at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine have successfully helped many of their patients resolve symptoms of chronic Lyme, and their experience has revealed that five health problems can play a significant role in perpetuating the disease.

Functional Medicine Treatment for Lyme Disease

For patients with chronic Lyme disease, we look at the terrain or the internal conditions that allow the Lyme bacteria to replicate and remain active in your system.

We start with the toxic load or total body burden. When your bucket overflows with biotoxins, mycotoxins, neurotoxins, and environmental toxins, your system crashes, and symptoms emerge.

At Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine, we take steps to make the terrain (your body) inhospitable to Lyme. We support the detoxification pathways and help clear the system of toxins. As we detoxify and heal the terrain, your system becomes strong enough to fight Lyme. 

The five reasons Lyme disease remains chronic include mold toxicity, gut dysfunction, high toxin loads, parasitic infection, and yeast overgrowth. Each of these factors makes it harder for your system to function optimally, which makes it harder for your body to clear Borrelia Burgdorferi. 

Keep reading as we dive into what causes chronic Lyme disease and how a holistic approach can help!

Lyme disease boulder holistic functional medicine

1. Mold Toxicity

Mold Toxicity in building contributing to lyme disease

Mold attacks the immune system, suppressing good immune cells and increasing inflammatory cells. In the presence of mold, Lyme can become opportunistic. It reactivates, replicates, and wreaks havoc in the system. 

Mold secretes mycotoxins, which are pathogenic or disease-causing in humans. The mycotoxins and neurotoxins increase the total body burden, causing your bucket to overflow.

About 25% of the population is sensitive to mold. For mold-sensitive people, mold toxicity can cause migraines, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, frequent illness, dizziness, hair loss, and chronic congestion. Over time, mold toxicity can cause neurological symptoms such as involuntary muscle movements, numbness, weakness, and neuropathies.

Thankfully, mold toxicity is treatable, and treating it may help resolve your chronic Lyme disease symptoms! Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine tests for mold toxicity if you have Lyme disease, and vice versa. 

For more information about mold toxicity symptoms and treatments, read this article here.

2. Gut Dysfunction 

A healthy gut is essential for optimum health. Seventy percent of your immune system lives in your GI tract and microbiome. 

Your microbiome is a wide variety of beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. An ideal microbiome has more bacterial cells than human cells! 

The benefits of a diverse microbiome are immeasurable. Most researchers agree that the more beneficial bacteria you have in your gut, the healthier you will be. That’s partially because the microbiome is the body’s greatest immunomodulator. 

Immunomodulation means that these bacteria increase our good immune signaling and decrease immune dysfunctions like allergies, auto-immunity, and inflammation. These bacteria also contribute to healthy digestion, mood, and weight.

When you have gut dysfunction, your immune system is unable to effectively fight off Lyme disease which can cause it to become chronic. 

Gut dysfunction is a common symptom of lyme disease
If the doctors at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine find symptoms of gut dysfunction, they will order a comprehensive stool study and food panel. These two tests will reveal the health of your microbiome and your overall gut health and help them determine if your gut is part of the reason your Lyme disease remains chronic. Dysbiosis, SIBO/SIFO, hypochlorhydria, and chronic inflammation are some examples of gut dysfunction. For more information about the functional medicine approach to gut dysfunction, read this article here.

3. High Toxin Load

Heavy metals are neurotoxins and a high heavy metal load interferes with the body’s ability to clear Lyme. Your body can only fight off so many outside pathogens and toxins at a time. Your chronic Lyme disease symptoms may emerge as a result of a high toxin load. Environmental toxins include plastics, pesticides, glyphosate, and thousands of other chemicals. Studies show that environmental toxins affect all of the body’s processes, and can cause autoimmunity, allergies, neurological illness, reproduction dysfunction, and more. These toxins contribute to the total body burden, and as the total body toxic load continues to increase, the bucket will overflow, and you may become symptomatic. Toxins disrupt the body’s processes on a cellular level. You can find known environmental toxins in everyday items like airbags, cigarette smoke, cosmetics, packaging, plastic cups, and toys.

4. Parasites

Parasites can be tricky to detect. Many of them can exist in your body for years, causing symptoms like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, migraines, and a myriad of other symptoms. With a chronic parasitic infection, the immune system is overwhelmed trying to fight off the parasites, creating a chronic state of inflammation. It also makes it harder for your body to fight off Lyme and its co-infections. Not to mention, parasites disrupt the microbiome to further impact immune function. In chronic Lyme, parasites must be treated and removed for the body to return to homeostasis. Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine may advise a parasite cleanse protocol to get rid of any potential parasites. Once the parasites are treated, your Lyme symptoms may lessen or disappear altogether!

5. Yeast Overgrowth

Yeast overgrowth might start with antibiotics, which kill your beneficial bacteria and allow the yeast to take over.

You can get yeast overgrowth from mold. Mold and yeast are fungal, so they often go hand in hand. Mold creates all the right conditions for yeast to flourish.

The overgrowth can also be exacerbated by your diet since an abundance of simple carbohydrates and processed sugars feed yeast.

Women experiencing yeast overgrowth which is a symptom of lyme disease

Yeast overgrowth can cause symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, GERD, weight gain, SIFO, nausea, acne, MCAS, and food sensitivities. It also causes brain fog, fatigue, headaches, and rashes. 

Like mold, yeast is hard to remove from the system without help from an experienced practitioner. It creates a home inside your gut or sinuses and secretes a biofilm to protect itself from your immune system. 

At Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine, we use low-dose immunotherapy to clear yeast from the system. Patients with yeast overgrowth typically see an improvement in their digestion and gut health, but also in symptoms of chronic Lyme disease!

Work with Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine

Happy women after being treating for lyme disease at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine

The doctors at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, are Lyme disease specialists who use a whole system approach to treat chronic Lyme disease. They guide you through cleaning up the terrain and making your body inhospitable to chronic infections like Lyme disease.

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine will also help treat untreated infections, such as parasites and yeast. They can help detoxify your body and decrease your body’s toxic burden. Once your terrain is clear, your body will have the strength to fight off Lyme and its co-infections, and you can reclaim your vibrantly happy and healthy life!

Want to learn more about Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine’s specialties and services? Fill out our new patient form to see one of our Lyme Disease specialists today!

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Dr. Terri Rebibo Fox

Dr. Terri Fox is a holistic, integrative, functional medicine doctor in Boulder, Colorado. She works on your behalf as a medical detective searching for the underlying dysfunction, instead of just treating your symptoms. She has expertise in fatigue, bio-identical hormones, sleep disorders, gastro-intestinal dysfunction, and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome from mold toxicity and Lyme disease.