Zithromax-caused diarrhea is preventing me from treating Lyme

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lifelieswaiting
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 2/18/2018 1:53 PM (GMT -6)   
This will be long because it's complicated, but I really need some good advice from people who understand Lyme, etc. If you decide to read and comment, thank you very much.

I believe I was infected way back in 1989, so 29 years ago. However, I wasn't diagnosed until early last year, so only one year ago. For most of the time I've had Lyme, I was symptomatic, but in a relatively steady, non-progressive sort of way. No longer.

With the onset of perimenopause in 2011, my Lyme went active/progressive on me. My health has been going downhill since then. And it's not just that I'm getting worse, but that the speed with which I'm getting worse is accelerating. Like a snowball rolling downhill.

I'm certain that I have neuroborreliosis. I know Lyme is in my muscles; especially head/neck/shoulders. I'm pretty sure it's the cause of my chronic interstitial cystitis. But most distressing to me is that I believe it's eating away at my spine.

That last part is a relatively recent development. I was diagnosed with osteopenia a year and a half ago. I'm awaiting test results to see if it's progressed to full-blown osteoporosis. I've gone from being a person who had no orthopedic issues to being a person who has ice strapped to my back much of the time.

In September, I went to see a respected LLMD here in Texas as I felt I needed the big guns (antibiotics) to attack Lyme and cos before things got much worse for me. He wanted me to do a month of gut prep (probiotics, dietary modification) before commencing antibiotic therapy. However, only two weeks into the prep, he told me I had sky high mycoplasma numbers and wanted me to start Zithromax right away. The Zithromax gave me severe diarrhea.

When I Googled "Zithromax diarrhea," it took me to the Mayo Clinic website where I read this: "Azithromycin may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. It may occur 2 months or more after you stop using this medicine. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. Diarrhea medicines may make the diarrhea worse or make it last longer."

It's been three-and-a-half months since I discontinued the Zithromax. I've been taking double probiotics and double Saccharomyces boulardii the entire time. My diet is gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy light, with no processed crap. The diarrhea improved by 50% pretty quickly ... but stalled there. I've had testing done and ruled out C. diff, H. pylori, other infections, worms, and even colon cancer. I don't have any of those things.

So now, my questions ...

1) Because of the diarrhea, I can’t begin antibiotic therapy for Lyme. However, I also can’t afford to wait any longer. Everything in me screams that my circumstances are urgent; that it’s almost too late for me to salvage enough of my health to matter. Unfortunately, money is a huge issue for me, so I can’t, for instance, get regular IV therapy of any kind or do HBOT or anything else that would require me to regularly plunk down a huge chunk of change. What I’m hoping is that someone with a compromised gut could do one of the herbal protocols along with other things like stevia, loratidine, etc. Or perhaps there's another avenue I'm not taking into account.

2) What can I do to recover from the diarrhea?

RedLabel
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2017
Total Posts : 217
   Posted 2/18/2018 2:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry toy are dealing with three issues. I too had diarrhea from azithromycin. What have helped for me is to increase my probiotics to at least 200 billion per day and take the azithromycin right after my main meal, dinner. Don't know if it affects the effect of it but at least I don't have explosive diarrhea 30 min after I take it. One time I actually crap my pants at work. That was fun!
Lyme, CPN, Yersinia, Coxsackie, CMV and Bartonella after LLMD visit.
CD57 0, 2, 0, 3

Started treatment in May 2017
Currently on Azithromycin, Doxycycline, Plaquenil, Rifampicin, Delimmun

lifelieswaiting
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 2/18/2018 2:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Possibly because I misunderstood the LLMD, I was under the impression that I couldn't commence antibiotic therapy until this symptom was completely resolved, but it sounds like you're not only undergoing antibiotic therapy despite this symptom, but even continuing with Zithromax. Hmm. I think I need to call the doctor's office on Monday and get clarification.

Which probiotic do you like? Also, thanks for replying.
Infected 1989, but not diagnosed until 2017. Borrelia burgdorferi (symptomatic, clinical diagnosis only). Bartonella henselae, Borrelia recurrentis (asymptomatic for both, DNA Connexions confirmed). Epstein-Barr virus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae (symptomatic for both, LabCorp confirmed). iGenex IgG positive bands 41, 45, 58, 66; IgM indefinite bands 31, 41. CD57 short panel: 45 (February 2017).

RedLabel
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2017
Total Posts : 217
   Posted 2/18/2018 2:51 PM (GMT -6)   
The severe diarrhea was for me a side effect of the Azithromycin. I also had other issues with my digestion but not as severe as when I took azithromycin.

Now I take NOW foods probiotic-10 100 billion, bought from iherb. I take two a day in addition to a liquid probiotic that i buy i Norway called "probioform"
Lyme, CPN, Yersinia, Coxsackie, CMV and Bartonella after LLMD visit.
CD57 0, 2, 0, 3

Started treatment in May 2017
Currently on Azithromycin, Doxycycline, Plaquenil, Rifampicin, Delimmun

RedLabel
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2017
Total Posts : 217
   Posted 2/18/2018 2:53 PM (GMT -6)   
have you tested for yersinia infection by the way? I have this, and it can cause diarrhea and digestion issues
Lyme, CPN, Yersinia, Coxsackie, CMV and Bartonella after LLMD visit.
CD57 0, 2, 0, 3

Started treatment in May 2017
Currently on Azithromycin, Doxycycline, Plaquenil, Rifampicin, Delimmun

lifelieswaiting
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 2/18/2018 4:07 PM (GMT -6)   
No, that wasn't one of the things the LLMD tested me for when he did all of his blood work. However, my PCP recently did comprehensive stool testing on me. I have no idea if that testing would've picked up Yersinia. To be perfectly honest, I never heard of Yersinia before you mentioned it. I really think the Zithromax was/is the culprit. I was having no issues in that department before taking it and diarrhea is a known side effect of the drug.

WalkingbyFaith
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Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 1988
   Posted 2/18/2018 8:54 PM (GMT -6)   
lifeiswaiting,

The first part of your story sounded much like mine. I must tell you, based on what you said and the symptoms you described, I would seriously look into bartonella. Negative bartonella tests are common and do not mean the infection isn't there. I would highly recommend you get Stephen Buhner's book on healing bartonella and mycoplasma. He covers both those infections in the same book and discusses simultaneous treatment of both infections.

Bartonella can cause interstitial cystitis, osteomyelitis, and affects bone, bone marrow, muscles, and tendons.

1000Daisies
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2016
Total Posts : 2473
   Posted 2/22/2018 10:37 AM (GMT -6)   
Per OP : "I've been taking double probiotics and double Saccharomyces boulardii the entire time. "

Please be cautious about taking Saccharomyces boulardii. Although they claim it's harmless and doesn't cause a yeast imbalance, that is not accurate unfortunately. It can and does cause a yeast imbalance problem. After battling with doctors, I finally learned that I have a "rare" (or so they say...) chronic systemic yeast infection of the saccharomyces cerevisiae strain. I have posted about this previously.
S. boulardii is tricky, It can be helpful to one issue but may inadvertently cause another issue.


I'm sorry - I don't have much help for you on this. We didn't personally have any persistent diarrhea issues.

However, I do know a person who had c-diff. It was difficult for her to treat/resolve. She had a reoccurrence which she thought was c-diff again. But it wasn't. They FINALLY did another stool sample and found a different bacteria overgrowth. She was treated with a different abx to resolve it. It tooks months of repeat/different doctors to figure it out.
Have you gone down this path? Or tried any other herbal-type remedies?

Sorry you are dealing with this.

lifelieswaiting
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 2/22/2018 12:14 PM (GMT -6)   
WalkingbyFaith,

I definitely have Bartonella. My DNA Connexions test was positive for that.

1000Daisies,

Thanks for sharing. I had wondered whether the probiotics I'm taking to resolve this situation might not actually be contributing to it. I think I'll try taking a vacation from them and see what happens.

To All,

First off, thanks for replying.

Secondly, I've been in touch with the LLMD. He absolutely will not let me commence antibiotic therapy until my gut is in good functioning order. I told him I couldn't wait that long to treat, so he's going to have me do Banderol, Samento, and Stevia. I plan to ease slooooowly onto those so my body doesn't completely flip out on me.
Infected 1989, but not diagnosed until 2017. Borrelia burgdorferi (symptomatic, clinical diagnosis only). Bartonella henselae, Borrelia recurrentis (asymptomatic for both, DNA Connexions confirmed). Epstein-Barr virus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae (symptomatic for both, LabCorp confirmed). iGenex IgG positive bands 41, 45, 58, 66; IgM indefinite bands 31, 41. CD57 short panel: 45 (February 2017).

Lapis_29
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 882
   Posted 2/22/2018 12:22 PM (GMT -6)   
doing IV ABX might be exactly what you need since it bypasses the gut and goes directly to the blood stream

1000Daisies
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2016
Total Posts : 2473
   Posted 2/22/2018 1:04 PM (GMT -6)   
lifelieswaiting said...
WalkingbyFaith,

I definitely have Bartonella. My DNA Connexions test was positive for that.

1000Daisies,

Thanks for sharing. I had wondered whether the probiotics I'm taking to resolve this situation might not actually be contributing to it. I think I'll try taking a vacation from them and see what happens.

To All,

First off, thanks for replying.

Secondly, I've been in touch with the LLMD. He absolutely will not let me commence antibiotic therapy until my gut is in good functioning order. I told him I couldn't wait that long to treat, so he's going to have me do Banderol, Samento, and Stevia. I plan to ease slooooowly onto those so my body doesn't completely flip out on me.


My doctor (functional medicine MD) will treat people herbally/supplements when they can't tolerate the abx. So, it makes sense to me that is what your doctor recommended.
I do agree that starting abx with a persistent case of diarrhea could be very troublesome/concerning.

Girlie
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 33785
   Posted 2/22/2018 1:55 PM (GMT -6)   
If you go back on antibiotics - try something else. Azithromycin isn't the only option for lyme/bart.

Azithromycin has a long half-life of approx. 68 hours. If you were taking it for several weeks, it was in your system a long time. Maybe that is in part why the diarrhea didn't stop at the 2 month mark.
Moderator, Lyme Forum
Symp started April/2013; Buhner's Lyme May 15-July24/14; Igenex pos. July 3/14
Doxy: July 4-Aug.24/14;Zithro July26-Aug24/14; Amox + Proben. Aug. 29/14;
added biaxin Sept. 26/14
Disc. amox,added Ceftin Nov. 20th.;
Disc. biaxin added Buhner bart herbs Dec/14;Jan/15 pulsing Tinda (w/ Ceftin);
Abx/herb break Apr-July/15; July-mino; Aug. added Rif;
Nov./15 mino - to biaxi

lifelieswaiting
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 2/22/2018 4:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Lapis_29,

He mentioned IV antibiotics, but then dismissed it pretty quickly as, he says, some portion of that eventually hits your gut. It's just as well, though. There's no way I could afford to pay for that out-of-pocket.

Girlie,

There's no way I'll take Zithromax again. It's known for causing long-lasting diarrhea in some patients and I'm apparently one of them.
Infected 1989, but not diagnosed until 2017. Borrelia burgdorferi (symptomatic, clinical diagnosis only). Bartonella henselae, Borrelia recurrentis (asymptomatic for both, DNA Connexions confirmed). Epstein-Barr virus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae (symptomatic for both, LabCorp confirmed). iGenex IgG positive bands 41, 45, 58, 66; IgM indefinite bands 31, 41. CD57 short panel: 45 (February 2017).

1000Daisies
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2016
Total Posts : 2473
   Posted 2/22/2018 4:55 PM (GMT -6)   
lifelieswaiting said...
Lapis_29,

He mentioned IV antibiotics, but then dismissed it pretty quickly as, he says, some portion of that eventually hits your gut. It's just as well, though. There's no way I could afford to pay for that out-of-pocket.

Girlie,

There's no way I'll take Zithromax again. It's known for causing long-lasting diarrhea in some patients and I'm apparently one of them.


I hear what you are saying. I read an article recently that said IV abx affect the gut more than we think. But I can't remember where I read that, sorry!!
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