Can Lyme Disease be Cured?
One question weighs on the minds of every patient, especially those with chronic Lyme disease: Can Lyme disease be cured?
I never use the word “cure” with my patients because it sets up an expectation that people are going to be fully rid of Lyme with never a trace and never another symptom ever again. I do believe, however, that if acute Lyme is caught within a few days, then the right antibiotic treatment can get rid of it entirely. But in my chronically ill patients, I talk about recovery and about being symptom-free, but I don’t say “cure.” I use the analogy of having mono – if one has had mono there will always be some traces of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will make that person unwell.
Let me explain.
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I have seen some very ill patients experience remarkable improvements, many getting to the place of being symptom-free, which is always my goal. Usually, it’s a long, arduous process taking far longer than any of us want, but in chronic Lyme disease treatment there are many pieces to address and elements to overcome. It’s not just about treating the infections themselves. Using a blend of medication and natural therapies for Lyme disease, we must correct adrenal and hormonal imbalances, detox adequately, rebuild gut flora and healthy digestion, balance brain chemistry, support genetic deficits, and manage inflammation in the body. Then, there is the process of repairing and rebuilding from the ravages of such a hostile disease.
I do believe that people can get to the point of being free from Lyme disease symptoms – I have seen it many times. I will say though, that remaining well requires time and effort. Good ongoing nutrition is key, stress management is key, and taking care of one’s immune system is crucial. Staying well, then, becomes a lifestyle and requires some decisions that may not have applied prior to Lyme disease. I also point out that if someone experiences a flare of symptoms somewhere along the way, that that can just be a bump in the road. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re back to square one.
Though the road to recovery is long, I find people can get the majority of their functioning back. And for those who get to 90%, most are happy with that because in comparison to the way they were before, it is a world apart and they’d choose that any day of the week.
This article was first published on ProHealth.com on August 25, 2015 and was updated on October 5, 2019.
About the Author: Dr. Nicola McFadzean Ducharme is a Lyme-literate Naturopathic Doctor and medical director of RestorMedicine, in San Diego, California. She is the author of The Lyme Diet, The Beginners Guide to Lyme Disease, and Lyme Disease in Australia, and is a chapter contributor to Connie Strasheim’s book, Insights into Lyme Disease Treatment: 13 Lyme-literate Health Care Practitioners Share Their Healing Strategies.