You might be familiar with the term or maybe you’ve never heard it before.
The fancy term is Herxheimer reaction. It’s defined as
a short-term (from days to a few weeks) detoxification reaction in the body. As the body detoxifies, it is not uncommon to experience flu-like symptoms including headache, joint and muscle pain, body aches, sore throat, general malaise, sweating, chills, nausea or other symptoms.
Sometimes it’s referred to as a healing crisis. The very day I started SIBO treatment, I started getting die-off symptoms. Namely, very bad lower abdominal pain, dull headaches, fatigue and light-headedness. There was one day last week that I could hardly move. Like, it hurt to move. Taking a shower was the only thing I accomplished that day, and even then I skipped shaving my legs. My tummy pain was crazy!
See, we are supposed to have plenty of good bacteria in our large intestine but very little in our small intestine. I have a LOT in my small intestine. Hence, major stomach pain almost daily. The four supplements I’m taking to get rid of the bacteria are completely herbal but don’t think for a minute that means they’re not powerful. They are very powerful! My small intestines are basically going “What in the sam hill is going on with us??” They’re trying to adjust to the strong little herbal warriors that are attacking the bacteria and they’re kinda freakin’ out about it.
It’s been about three weeks now and these symptoms are still hanging around. Dr. F assured me today that the more bacteria there are to remove, the longer the die-off will last. So it’s not at all surprising that I’m still feeling pretty miserable. It’s a very positive sign that the supplements are doing their job. They’re kickin’ bacteria BUTT.
But the waiting. Ohhh, don’t you hate waiting?
Waiting to feel better. Waiting to feel GOOD! Waiting to get over the Herxheimer hump. The other side of Herxheimer Hill. Right now it honestly feels like it will never happen.
But it WILL.
Feeling worse before feeling better is part of the healing. So I have no choice but to be okay with it. It’s temporary. It’s necessary. It’s okay.
During this brutal time, I’m so extra thankful for things that bring comfort. My family, laying in my cozy bed (sometimes for hours a day), kitties, my favorite radio station, candles, audio books, my amazing Bible study book, Netflix shows… I finished “Pretty Little Liars” and now I’m on to “Heartland.” SO good.
It’s making me want a horse or twelve.
And guess what? Yesterday I had tea that I LOVED!
Teavana Passion Tango from Starbucks. I think I might actually really like some fruity teas! I drank a tall on the drive down to Mom and Dad’s yesterday and it was very soothing. So far I’ve only had two cups of my Allegro coffee. Just a rare treat for now. But this fruity tea thing might really come in handy on the cold fall and winter days ahead!
While we’re on the topic of noms, it has been incredibly great to add rice, potatoes, corn and tomatoes back into my diet. [I go easy on the corn and only have corn tortillas and organic corn chips occasionally. No actual corn because it’s hard to digest the kernels.] Seriously. It’s much more doable now. It’s fun to modify recipes using ingredients that I can have (like subbing rice flour and coconut flour for regular flour, palm sugar for regular sugar, palm shortening for butter, etc). Most of the baked goods I’ve made have turned out pretty good. Tomorrow I’m gonna try my hand at a nice loaf of sandwich bread.
Hopefully my next post will be full of dancing and jumping and clapping because I’ll be starting to reap the benefits of all this craziness. The diet and the supplements and the exercises and the doctor visits. It’s always darkest just before dawn.
Thank you for stopping by.