Have you heard of, “herxing or Jarish-Herxheimer?” For a chronic Lyme, this often is the result of the antibiotic treatment they are on. Herxing happens due to the dead or dying bacteria that is releasing large amounts of toxins in the body at a fast pace. Then, due to the large amount of toxins in the blood it triggers the Jarish-Herxheimer reaction in the form of an inflammatory response. The body produces this inflammatory response simply because the body tries to get rid of, or release those harmful toxins. The difficult thing about Lyme disease is that the bacteria is unique, it likes to hide in the body from the immune system. It is in the form of a spirochete and can drill into the body’s white blood cells and then thrive in them. Then the immune system tries to react by “herxing.” A common symptom that results from the Jarish-Herxheimer reaction is fluid build up around the knee or foot area. For myself, I have fluid accumulation on my feet. A common trigger for herxing in a Lyme patient can be due to starting a new medication. From the first time I ever started an antibiotic, my Lyme specialist warned me that I would have worsening pain initially, and he couldn’t have been more right. I can speak to this because, when I start a new medicine I expect to have worsening pain (herxing) for a little while till I would feel improvement. However, my Lyme doctor always tries to fit my medications accordingly so that I would not herx or suffer to bad. This would be a great thing to ask your Lyme specialist about if your starting a new medication. I do have some good news! Some people many not experience herxing!! However, chronic Lyme patients often do not just get a diagnosis and then take proper medicine, which then makes them to feel better within a short amount of time. It’s known that a persons specific treatment can often times be as hard on the body as the disease itself, simply due to the herxing reaction.
Some common symptoms of herxing can be; worsening joint & muscle pain, fatigue, muscle cramping, headaches, swollen glands, dizziness, neurological issues, etc. Symptoms can vary among each person, it all depends on the stage of Lyme and the medications one is on.
A great tip to try and help prevent herxing yourself is detox, such as lemon water because it helps the body to flush toxins! Also try to incorporate healthy whole foods, while avoiding white sugar. I practice this as well 🙂 I also go for IV glutathione injections once a month to help flush toxins and boost my immune system. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that your body naturally produces and recycles. It is made in the liver, and is essential to have optimal liver functionality when on heavy antibiotics. IV glutathione would be a great option to ask your doctor about! Also, try to avoid unnecessary stress, and get lots of rest. Also, remember to give your worries to God, because a lot of times herxing can cause weird stresses on the body, even to the emotions. This is where YOU can use your Lyme Light and stay positive!
A great tip for a Lyme patient is to keep a Lyme Log, so that you can record and keep track of each day and your herxing patterns. This then enables you to give your doctor the best response to how your truly feeling. It is easy to have all the days mesh together in your head, and feel like your not getting any better. A Lyme Log can also be an encouragement as you watch your body start to heal again 🙂
***This is my personal response to Lyme “herxing”, which includes research and information from my Lyme doctor.
Dr. Frank Noonan