by Dr. Bill Rawls
In short, yes, symptoms of Lyme disease can come back after remission, but you can prevent a Lyme relapse — if you stay on top of things. In this video, Dr. Bill Rawls shares how he keeps his immune system strong so he can enjoy a symptom-free life, and how you can too. Read all about Dr. Rawls’ natural journey to overcoming chronic Lyme disease here.
Question: Can Lyme symptoms come back after remission?
Hello, I’m Dr. Bill Rawls. The question: Can Lyme disease symptoms come back after you’ve been in remission? The answer is, of course they can.
When you look at this complex thing that we call Lyme disease, it’s not just the microbe Borrelia burgdorferi; it’s a whole string of microbes. The core of chronic Lyme disease is chronic immune dysfunction, so the microbes are there.
There’s very good evidence that you can’t completely get rid of these microbes. Even after six months of antibiotic therapy, it has been found that people still retain microbes in their tissues.
What you’re looking at as far as living a symptom-free life is keeping the lid on those microbes, and keeping the immune system healthy enough to contain those microbes so they don’t bother you. You have to assume that the microbes are still there. Even if your immune system was able to get rid of Borrelia, there are other microbes like it present.
So yes, symptoms can recur if your immune system becomes disrupted again. It’s really important to keep the immune system healthy. I have been through a lot of relapses over my time. I had my life disrupted by Lyme disease when I was in my late 40s, early 50s, and it took me about five years to really get a handle on it, which was really an up-and-down process.
I’ve been pretty much what I would call in remission for about five to seven years now. I know how to keep myself there. I still take the herbs. I still assume that the microbes are there, but I keep my immune system strong.
I’m pretty particular about my diet. I don’t go overboard on that. I don’t do anything extreme. I eat a very comfortable diet with a target of eating more vegetables than anything else; the key is avoiding inflammatory processed foods.
I try to keep my stress level down. Stress happens, so you learn to live around stress. You learn to allow your body to recover on the fly, because you can’t eliminate stress.
A big thing is getting plenty of sleep at night. I try to allow eight to nine hours of time that I can sleep every single night, so I get at least the minimal amount of sleep that I need to function every day.
All of these are important for keeping your immune system healthy to keep those microbes in check — not just the microbes of Lyme disease, but all the potential bad actors in this thing that we call the microbiome, which we know extends to all tissues in the body, even the brain.
Beyond that, I take herbs. That’s an ongoing thing. I took high concentrations of a lot of herbs when I was going through my primary recovery, but I still take a regimen of herbs. I take a couple of antimicrobial herbs and some adaptogenic herbs and some anti-inflammatory herbs, a basic regimen every single day of my life, twice a day.
I will do that for the rest of my life because I think that’s the best way that I can keep those microbes in check, stay in remission, and continue to live symptom-free.