I've been spending a fair amount of time these days on adrenal-thyroid boards. My latest Jarisch-Herx reaction got me suspicious about what's been really causing the majority of my symptoms, and what I've learned may be of benefit to you, too.
After a full moon herx filled with aches, chills and fatigue (chills and flu-like aches are a crystal clear sign that JH is operating), my whole body catapulted into major dysfunction the following week, far and beyond what tends to be the norm for me these days. And being that the symptoms came as an aftermath of the herx led me to conclude that these were not a result of Lyme, but rather adrenal fatigue. When Jarisch had done its work, my adrenals were left wiped out.
Further, since my bug load has been reduced by about 80% at this stage, I have to conclude that my symptoms aren't as much Borrelia's fault as they are the result of sputtering adrenals.
And this latest, clear-cut turn of events has me wondering for how many Lymies, adrenal fatigue is primary, and the Borrelia infection, secondary?
Okay, so Lyme causes adrenal fatigue, but what if the adrenal fatigue preceded the infection and instead allowed the infection to get a foothold in the body? It would mean that treating the fatigue, alongside the infection, would be of vital importance.
I don't know about you, but I feel that all of the natural adrenal supports short of cortisol are adequate only for the beginning stages of adrenal fatigue, which is not what most Lymie's have. Those of us who have catapulted into chronic fatigue are likely to need hormonal support, namely, cortisol, if the adrenals are to be restored to normal function.
But much controversy surrounds the use of cortisol to treat adrenal fatigue, and with good reason. Moderate and high doses of natural cortisol (above 15 mg), such as that found in Isocort, have been known to send the adrenals into shutdown mode, for good, and especially when the hormone is given every day.
Some schools of thought, however, such as that found on: www.stopthethyroidmadness.com, would contend that low doses of natural cortisol (15mg or under) which are pulsed, pose little danger of adrenal shutdown, and, contrary to popular belief, actually aid the immune system rather than suppress it.
But for many, 15mg of natural cortisol is insufficient for restoring the immune system, and neither is it enough to resolve the symptoms caused by adrenal fatigue. Higher doses may be needed, but the sufferer will have to decide if it's worth it to play roulette with his/her adrenal function. Some may even require synthetic hydrocortisone, which is more powerful but also riskier to the body.
It's not a decision to be taken lightly.
But what if, in the end, living a functional life depended upon you taking the risk?
I don't know about you, but the more rounds of sleeplessness and fatigue I endure, and the more of my life that gets filled by inactivity, the more appealing cortisol seems.
Taking a saliva cortisol test can provide some indication of adrenal function, as can pupil dilation tests and an overall symptom evaluation. If you've been treating Lyme a long while with only minor to moderate improvement, and you feel that bug load is no longer the primary cause behind your symptoms, consider that adrenal fatigue may be playing a larger role, and hence require treatment alongside Lyme.