Mycoplasma, the Most Common Lyme Coinfection
- Genital infections are most common with four species of mycoplasma (M. hominis, M. genitalium, Ureaplasma urealyticum, U. parvum), but other species of mycoplasma can be spread sexually and cause genital symptoms. Genital infection with mycoplasma can cause UTI symptoms (burning and pain with urination) in both male and female. Typically the urine culture is negative.
- Genital mycoplasma has been associated with prostatitis, kidney infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical infection, and infertility (male and female). In pregnancy, mycoplasma has been associated with premature rupture of membranes, miscarriage, growth retardation, and postpartum infection. The genital area is an entry point for mycoplasma and can lead to systemic infection.
- M. pneumoniae is the most common mycoplasma to be associated with respiratory infections, but other species of mycoplasma also are found. Mycoplasma has been associated with childhood asthma. The feeling of needing to “catch breath” in fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and chronic fatigue may be related to mycoplasma.
- Mycoplasma commonly infects the synovial lining of joints (lining protecting the joint). 90% of people with rheumatoid arthritis test positive for mycoplasma in the synovial fluid. The most common mycoplasma species associated with rheumatoid arthritis is M. fermentans, but M. pneumoniae and other species have also been found. Mycoplasma or other stealth microbes may be an underlying factor in most forms of arthritis.
- Mycoplasma scavenge fats from the myelin sheath covering nerve tissue. Not surprisingly, mycoplasma (and other stealth microbes including chlamydia and borrelia) have been linked to multiple sclerosis. Mycoplasma has been closely linked to other neurodegenerative diseases including ALS (M. fermentans is most common) and Parkinson’s disease.
- Mycoplasma has been found in the bone marrow of children with leukemia.
- Mycoplasma has been found in cancer tissue, including cervical and ovarian cancer.
- Finding mycoplasma in cervical cancer suggests that it may be a cofactor in cervical cancer, along with human papillomavirus (HPV). (Mycoplasma has been demonstrated to facilitate the entry of certain viruses into cells.)
- Mycoplasma as a top candidate for explaining autoimmunity; it stimulates host self-damage and that it can live inside cells while simultaneously turning off the ability of the immune system to recognize the cell as abnormal. Mycoplasma has been linked to many autoimmune diseases; which disease occurs is dependent on the genetic profile of the person and other stealth microbes that may be involved.
- Muscle pain from breakdown of muscle fibers is common with systemic mycoplasma infection. Joint and muscle involvement may be the cause of pain in fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue.
- Intestinal mycoplasma infection causes destruction of villi and compromise of the intestinal barrier. This allows accelerated damage by lectins in grains (especially wheat), beans, soy, nightshade vegetables, and dairy).
- Mycoplasma is commonly found in biopsies of intestinal lining in Crohn’s disease sufferers. Very likely, mycoplasma contributes to leaky gut and food sensitivities common to Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia. Severe mycoplasma intestinal infection can lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight loss.
- Infection of gastric mucosa (stomach lining) can cause chronic gastritis with nausea and stomach discomfort.
- Nerve involvement can be associated with burning and tingling in hands and feet. Brain inflammation, contributing to insomnia, brain fog, anxiety, and depression, is common with systemic mycoplasma infection.
- Mycoplasma infection has been associated with hearing loss and ringing in the ears.
- Involvement of eyes (mostly children) can cause discomfort and lead to vision loss.
- Mycoplasma infection can be associated with anemia and vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels).
- Skin rashes, most commonly hives (itching red rash that comes and goes) are not unusual.
Diagnosing ItThe biggest problem with diagnosing mycoplasma is that we still don’t have a good handle on it. PCR is the best way to test for mycoplasma, but testing is species specific and focused on diagnosing acute respiratory or genital mycoplasma infections. Another problem with diagnosing mycoplasma is that medical science does not recognize chronic mycoplasma infections as being significant. Even though mycoplasma is commonly found in association with chronic degenerative diseases, it is also found in ⅓ - ⅔ of any population without causing symptoms. In other words, it is assumed that mycoplasma just happens to be there, but isn’t really a factor in disease. This type of thinking is simply a reflection of not understanding how stealth microbes operate. Mycoplasma does not cause disease unless it has an opportunity. Individuals with a healthy immune system can harbor mycoplasma and suffer few ill effects. If immune function is disrupted by environmental factors or coinfection with other stealth microbes, however, mycoplasma can definitely contribute to chronic disease. When testing for mycoplasma, it is best to order a complete mycoplasma panel, which will include M. fermentans, M. genitalium, M. hominis, M. penetrans, M. pneumoniae, M. synoviae, and Ureaplasma urealyticum. But...these are only the common known species of mycoplasma; other lesser known species could also be present. Another problem with testing is that there are other stealth microbes that can be associated with chronic infections with similar symptoms. The list of knowns includes Yersinia enterocolitica, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Campylobacter jejuni, and the Lyme coinfections including babesia, bartonella, ehrlichia, and anaplasma (multiple species of each). Complete testing for the full range of stealth microbes can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Possibly the best course of action is assuming mycoplasma and other stealth microbes are there. Stealth microbes only cause problems when immune function is suppressed. Addressing the causes of the underlying Chronic Immune Dysfunction is the most effective solution for overcoming infections with stealth microbes.
Overcoming Chronic Mycoplasma InfectionThe nature of mycoplasma makes it very resistant to conventional therapies. Mycoplasma does not have a cell wall, rendering several classes of antibiotics as completely ineffective. Other classes of antibiotics provide limited benefit in acute infections, but little benefit for chronic systemic infections. The best alternative is supporting the natural healing potential of the body. Artificially created food products, petrochemicals and other toxics, artificial sources of radiation, and the stress of modern life disrupt immune function and allow stealth microbes like mycoplasma to flourish. Minimizing these factors is an essential step for controlling the present epidemic of chronic diseases like Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, fatigue syndromes, and autoimmune diseases. Adequate nutritional support is very important for chronic mycoplasma infection. Replacing the nutrients that mycoplasma scavenge is essential for recovery. Sometimes this is challenging because of damage to the gut. Food sensitivities, including lectin sensitivities must be addressed. The recovery diet must be rich in healthful fats, protein, and low in carbohydrate. Natural anti-inflammatory substances, such as ginger, that suppress mycoplasma and heal the gut are important. Natural herbal therapy is the best therapeutic alternative for chronic mycoplasma. Herbs (especially medicinal mushrooms) suppress cytokine cascades, reduce inflammation, restore normal immune function, and suppress a wide range of stealth microbes.
Learn more about Dr. Rawls' herbal protocol here >>
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