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What is herx?

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Old 09-08-2006, 04:38 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2006
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bettysmithers HB User
What is herx?

My doctor told me yesterday she thinks I have Lyme. The first test was negative and am waiting for Western Blot test results to come back. She went ahead and put me on Doxycycline for 3 weeks. From what I am reading this may not be long enough but I am taking it for right now. I also bought Acidophilus to take along with the antibiotics. My father had a severe intestinal problem several years ago when he took antibiotics for an extended period of time and I dont want that on top of how I am feeling. I keep reading the word "herx" wherever I go to educate myself about Lyme....can someone explain it to me...thanks so much....there is so much to learn.

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Old 09-09-2006, 05:07 AM   #2
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sleeperwoken HB User
Re: What is herx?

Hi bettysmithers, sorry to hear you may have lyme. You are right when you say that three weeks may not be long enough. It's likely that your dose is not high enough too, that is common. How high is your dose?

Please don't go in the sun at all while you are on doxy, you could burn your skin very badly. Also, don't lie down within a half an hour after taking it as you could potentially burn your esophagus if it comes back up your throat. Don't take any calcium or magnesium supplements at the same time as doxy because these minerals bind to the medication, keeping it from being absorbed into the body. Also, don't take the acidophilous at the same time as any antibiotic, take it at a different time of day or the abx will kill the probiotics and that would be a waste.

As far as what a herx is, it is the body's reaction to the toxins that are formed when lyme and its coinfections are killed by the antibiotic. If you have lyme in your body and you start the process of killing it off with abx, the lyme doesn't disappear, it dies and is still in the body, causing pain in the joints, neurotoxins, depression, extreme fatigue and a slew of other problems that seem to be very individualized. This is a herx, the full name is Jarish Herxheimer reaction, you can look that up and get a better explanation. The best way to alleviate this is to detoxify. Look at other threads that talk about detoxifying, because this is a whole topic in itself.

There are doctors who believe that a herx is a good sign, meaning that they see it as an indication that the medication they chose is working to kill lyme. There are other doctors who say herxing is not necessary and it is a major stress on an already weak body. These doctors are usually naturopaths who prefer not to use antibiotics. I recommend that you study both schools of thought and decide for yourself which one is right for you.

I hope you feel better soon.

Old 09-09-2006, 04:17 PM   #3
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6Blues HB User6Blues HB User6Blues HB User
Re: What is herx?

Hi bettysmithers.

I second what sleepwoken had to say -

Some antibiotics kill bacteria during their cell reproduction. The Lyme bacteria has a life cycle of about a month, so some people herx every 3 - 4 weeks, as their cell membranes split open and toxins spill out.

Herx's can make a person feel worse than before they started taking medicine. New symptoms can also appear during a herx.

Sleepwoken was right - the best thing to do is flush those toxins right out with a lot of water, healthy eating, detox baths, and other detox methods.

I'm going through a herx right now. I can tell because about once a month, I feel even more crappy than usual and my rashes come back.

The good news is that I know my medicine is working - Yay!

Acidopholus is a great thing to take also. The best quality pro-biotics (as they are called) need to be kept in the fridge. Try not to take them 2 hours before/after your medicines or they will cancel each other out.

I take Doxy. I've been taking 600mg per day for 10 months straight. It's helped me. But the thing that has helped me the most was treating my co-infection. Were you tested for co-infections?

Please stay out of the sun. I was careful and I still managed to get burned. Its not like a normal sunburn - more like a chemical burn and it lasted for weeks even though I was wearing a good sunscreen.

Aslo, within 2 hrs before/after the Doxy, avoid dairy and some minerals - magnesium I think? Anyway, your info sheet from the pharmacy should have the precuations on it. Just take 'em seriously, Ok?

I hope we didn't throw too much at you at once. LOL Lots of info!!

Is your doctor an LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor)?

Hang in there. Peace and health to you.

Old 09-09-2006, 05:21 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,247
Pearlscale HB User
Re: What is herx?

A friend of mine also has lyme. I ask him once if he herxed and how it was. He said he didn't know what a herx was but he sure did hurt. That is a good description. You hurt, in places that didn't hurt before, the hurt jumps around sometimes by hours.

If no one has mentioned it, you might want to keep a medical journal. Each day write down how you feel. My Dr had me list them as 1. neuro-cognitive 2. cns-irritability 3. symptoms-pain in muscles, achiness 4. neuro-logical-numbness tingling, burning, face/ear eye. pins and needles. 5. fatigue-compared to pre-illness. Beside each give it a 1 to 10. Over time, you will see this start to improve.

A LLMD is the best choice to determine if it is lyme, co-infections or something else. Most other doctors don't understand current protocol. They tend to listen to CDC and old protocol. (or don't listen at all.) Which was established some 20+ yrs ago.

Keep us informed. We're here to help.

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