Too many yeast in the intestines (yeast overgrowth) is a common problem that occurs in those with chronic Lyme disease either during treatment or prior to beginning treatment. Antibiotics used to treat Lyme can lead to too many yeast. Immune suppression prior to starting antibiotics can also cause yeast overgrowth. Yeast overgrowth can result in an ongoing systemic allergic reaction to the yeast that can suppress the immune system. Yeast overgrowth also leads to inflammatory cytokine excess that cause many of the Lyme disease symptoms and pain. Food allergies and sensitivities can be the result of yeast overgrowth too.
How to Diagnose Yeast Overgrowth of the Intestines in a Lyme Disease Treatment
At the beginning of treatment.
There is not a useful diagnostic blood test or stool test for yeast overgrowth. While some may test for antibodies in the blood to intestinal yeast, antibodies are common even when yeast are in balance. In addition it is normal to have stool cultures grow yeast; so a culture does not indicate if yeast are in excess. For this reason, yeast are diagnosed using our yeast screening questionnaire. This questionnaire evaluates for the possibility of yeast overgrowth based on yeast overgrowth risk factors and intensity of symptoms. In general we find people benefit from treatment if the score is 140 or higher.
Often before antibiotics are started in a Lyme disease treatment it is essential to treat yeast. Doing so can limit the severity of Herxheimer die-off reactions from treating Lyme because removing yeast removes one source of inflammatory cytokine excess.
In the middle of a treatment.
The yeast screening questionnaire is not reliable in the middle of treatment. I make a decision to treat yeast in this situation based on symptoms.
Note: If a person has a sudden decline after doing better, there is a good chance yeast is the cause.
Other symptoms to consider include:
- sugar carvings,
- doing worse after having sugar,
- increased intestinal gassiness or bloating,
- vaginal itching or discharge,
- rectal itching,
- worsened skin rashes or acne,
- difficulty swallowing,
- or white patches in the mouth.
You do not have to have all of these symptoms to diagnose too many yeast.