Bloody Lymey

A Blog About Living with Lyme Disease

Why Does Lyme Disease Cause Weight Gain?

on July 16, 2012

I saw this was a search engine term that brought someone to my blog. And? It’s not the first time.

Researching it on the internet, I think it’s safe to say we are presented with conflicting answers.

While I’m not a doctor, I do know scads of people with Lyme/Chronic Lyme. What I’ve learned through all of these lived experiences is that Lyme goes for the jugular. If we have a weakness, the bacteria will find it. Likewise, some people experience a lot of weight LOSS from Lyme. (Not me! )

Why I gained weight:

1. The bacteria started with my thyroid. The bacteria is shaped similarly to the thyroid hormones our bodies use to function. My immune system attacks everything so-shaped. For me, my thyroid didn’t make me gain TOO too much weight — I thought it would be a fast track to obesity. What it does is metabolize not just calories, but vitamins and minerals. This is why I am fairly doomed to lose my teeth at some point. Lots of bone recession. More here: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lyme-disease/

When my thyroid is out of whack, I can also expect my heart rate to be lower, my body temperature to decrease, and my blood pressure to be down. Does that sound like someone who’s burning less calories even compared with before , say, sitting still???

Unfortunately, doctors’ protocol is typically this: if someone presents with thyroid symptoms and has blood tests resulting in “elevated” but within normal limits …. they are not going to prescribe hormone therapy for you. If you ARE treated and it works but your symptoms reappear after some time — say, a year or whatever — they are not going to up your dose if your labs come back within normal limits. Even if they’re elevated. Even if you’re freezing and your hair is falling out. Additionally, they don’t refer people to endocrinologists unless they are HYPERthyroid / Graves Disease. Here there is a risk of a heart attack or something sueable.

What to do?

What helps is hormone therapy! But if you can’t get it (and this won’t fix it, but might make it more bearable): Vitamin B supplements. Get the combined one with all kinds of B vitamins in it (like don’t lock yourself into B12 or any one type…. get the Complex. Go for the high dose).

2. One of the ways that Lyme kicked me in the nuts was with my bowels. I was horribly constipated for the longest time — and it seems to have morphed into IBS, so it’s one extreme or the other. Constipation makes me bloated like a full water balloon.

And antibiotics seemed to aggravate this — much to my specialist’s surprise.

What to do?
Be CAREFUL of laxatives. Your colon may depend on the stimulants and then you’ll be even worse for wear after!
Try:
A. Magnesium! This is a supplement and Lyme tend to gobble it all up, leaving us deprived of it and the constipation may be a symptom. There are supplements all on their own. Also eat leafy greens, rich in magnesium. Try an epsom salt bath – this is soaking in magnesium and getting it in your pores.

B. Diet A&W Cream Soda before bed. I don’t know what it is, but it guarantees me a BM the next morning.

C. Colon Cleanse: I found this supplement in an aisle in Price Chopper (and YES! This was what it was called! Literally! Colon Cleanse!). It is a compounded capsule with vitamins that “make you go.” I don’t remember what is in it and don’t have any on hand.

D. Are you eating enough fiber and drinking enough water? (This should probably be FIRST, but……)

E. Find your veggie or fruit! Some people swear by pears, others by cucumbers. Here’s a list of foods that tend to make people poo: http://www.healwithfood.org/constipation/foods.php

F. Are you getting your lipids? Olive oil and GOOD oils (sans saturated fat) are GOOD for you on so many levels, including lubing our insides.

3. PAIN! I just couldn’t move. With arthritis and nerve pain, who can go for a run or a bike ride? And don’t you want to shoot the TV when that Celebrex commercial comes on and they say “A Body In Motion STAYS in Motion?” SNARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRL. Sounds like a commercial-writer who never had this shit. Ooops. Did I say that out loud?

What to do?
A. Be careful of narcotics (for a number of reasons), but they may lead to constipation
B. Can you move a little in some way? Swimming is sometimes perfect for people with arthritis. With nerve pain, can you ride a bike instead? It’s lower impact than, say, running.
C. Nerve pain: can you have tonic water? The quinine helps — but be careful and ask a doctor. It may be bad for heart conditions among other things . Some B-Vitamins are reputedly good for nerve pain.
D. Arthritis: can you try an unconventional method such as Manuka Honey or Apple Cider Vinegar or Blackstrap Molasses? (If Motrin or the regular stuff isn’t helping)

4. Fatigue! One doesn’t burn as many calories when sleeping for hours on end. 🙂

What to do?
A. I have heard good things about Blackstrap Molasses (haven’t yet tried it).
B. B Vitamins for energy

This is a toughy. I never really found anything that helped too terribly much. Even sleeping didn’t help.

5. Muscular Atrophy/Muscle Wasting. On top of a sedentary lifestyle that goes against the “use it or lose it” philosophy with our muscles, Lyme itself causes muscle wasting. A person with toned legs and six-pack abs might find this displaced with some jiggle after a long time of having the disease. More here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/173404-diseases-that-causes-muscle-wasting/

I’m not sure what to do about this. Here’s another website with natural remedies/suggestions: http://www.botanical-online.com/english/muscularatrophyremedies.htm


4 responses to “Why Does Lyme Disease Cause Weight Gain?

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