LYME DISEASE And Sex Hormone Depletion

Book excerpt from?


A comprehensive and holistic approach to living with Lyme disease

Rika K. Keck

“We are designed to live with short-term stress followed by periods of recovery and rest with the help of the calming parasympathetic nervous system. Being in balance, with acute stress followed by rest, is called healthy stress adaptation. But with sustained inflammation from excessive environmental toxins, unhealthy foods, and Lyme-related infections, the body experiences insufficient rest and repair because it remains in fight-or-flight mode. This directly impacts our energy, blood sugar balance, fertility, sleep, and the ability to heal. The body is not concerned with those functions when it is in survival mode. Hormonal imbalances make Lyme symptoms worse, as they are closely connected with our nervous system, digestion, moods, and immune function.

The good news is that our body is always looking out for us; it is continually adapting or compensating to ensure our survival. In its innate wisdom, the body creates resources to fight infections, but it comes with a price. . . . For instance, when it is challenged with chronic infections, the body will resort to using building materials meant for sex hormones, such as progesterone or testosterone, for the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol. However, lower levels of DHEA, testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen, contribute to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and increased pain and inflammation.

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When living with chronic Lyme or mold-related illnesses, the sex and steroid hormones are often out of balance, but there are many treatment options avail- able. Some individuals respond well to hormone replacement therapy; others prefer glandulars, herbals, and homeopathy to support hormonal balance that is closely interlinked with the immune system. I recommend avoiding all synthetic hormones and only choosing a bio-identical option if you opt for hormone replacement therapy.

In those with persistent Lyme, the menstruation cycle is often affected, and even the cessation of menses can occur. With lower sex hormones, the libido is diminished, which can create conflict in personal relationships. Hormonal imbalances with symptoms such as PMS, insomnia, and migraines add other dimensions to an already complex Lyme scenario. Infertility, low sperm counts, or repeated miscarriages are also a concern.

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Functional testing from specialized labs is very helpful to gain additional information about the hormonal status in your body. But it is only as good as its interpretation within the context of clinical findings, and if the appropriate action is taken by your practitioner or doctor. Testing from specialized labs can be expensive, and the financial aspect can be restrictive and prohibitive for many because these tests are often not covered by insurance companies. Integration of hormonal balance is an important factor when living with the ongoing stress of Lyme disease, yet it is often neglected.”

Rika Keck, author


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