I am a patient, not a doctor, so please keep that in mind when reading here. My blog is often about new medical research, not standard treatments, and GI health is the focal point. Bacteriotherapy, the use of probiotics rather than antibiotics, is the new paradigm, and I’m thrilled to be learning, along with so many others, who are healing their bodies after standard medicine failed.
Beginning in the early 1990s, my doctors gave me numerous courses of broad spectrum fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as Cipro and Levaquin. They didn’t know the damage they were doing at the time, neither did I, and by 2000 I had ulcerative colitis, from what those drugs did to my gut flora.
By late April, 2011 I had also developed numerous food allergies, asthma, prostatitis, and sinusitis, and UC had landed me in the hospital 5 times. Doctors wanted to treat me with Prednisone, Imuran, and 6-MP, drugs that weaken the immune system and carry the risk of cancer.
I followed their advice for a while, but ultimately just became weaker and eventually the steroids stopped working. I was at a crossroads.
One day I heard a radio show about helminthic therapy. People were using Necator Americanus hookworms to heal from a variety of autoimmune diseases. How so? Hookworms modulate our overactive immune systems, to hide in us. These tiny roundworms, with us since the dawn of time, disappeared about 100 years ago, as humans shifted from outdoor latrines to indoor toilets. That “progress” broke the symbiotic life cycle of human and worm, and once gone from our our guts, hookworm took their calming chemistry with them, leaving our immune systems to run amok.
For me, helminthic therapy was far more effective than any toxic immune suppressors or steroids I’d ever used. With about 100 hookworm on board, I no longer had asthma or ulcerative colitis, even my sinusitis was resolving, and all the little aches and pains I’d come to associate with aging also disappeared. Happy days!
However, in August of 2011 I cut my finger while cooking, and was given Levaquin one last time. Within a few days I suffered a major adverse drug reaction, known as being “floxed”. Symptoms included horrible chronic fatigue, a burning sensation in my brain, anxiety, hyperadrenergic POTS, which causes blood pressure spikes due to neurological impairment, and SIBO. I was left nearly bed-ridden and unable to work.
It’s been a long road to recovery, but three years later, 2014, many of these symptoms are greatly diminished, thanks to probiotic retention enemas, fecal transplants and continued helminthic therapy. If anyone is shocked by a fecal transplant, imagine what you’d do to reclaim your life.
I’ve also adopted a lower carb “Paleo” diet, am eating plenty of cultured foods, such as kefir, yogurt, raw, organic sauerkraut, aged black garlic, and feel much better. The idea is to finally restore gut flora I’ve been lacking most of my life, due to antibiotics. I’m also beginning to supplement iodine, which may improve thyroid function. Early in that process, a chronic candida overgrowth is resolving.
I still am dealing with chronic fatigue, and POTS/SIBO symptoms do flare up when my stress levels increase or gut function is impaired. This is a process, and my goal now is to optimized nutritional status and rebuild my “microbiome” as best I can, safely and steadily, as I continue into my 4th decade of life.
Healing and learning has always been a “group effort”, and the relationships I’ve created in forums around the web are so valuable. We can all learn a lot from each other, so if an article on my blog strikes a chord, please add your voice to the comments.
Terry Chattsworth, November 2014