Is It A Lyme Relapse? Take These Steps

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Lyme disease relapse in a Lyme disease treatment image from Marty Ross MD

At some point after a Lyme treatment is complete, many with Lyme disease and the co-infections will relapse. But how do you know if the decline in your health is due to Lyme, a co-infection, or another problem? And if it is a relapse what do you do?

In this article I lay out the steps to figure out if it is a Lyme disease relapse. I also describe how to prevent a relapse.

Step One: Is It Yeast?

In my experience from when I practiced in Seattle, 80% of the time someone's health declines after Lyme treatment is complete too many yeast grow in the intestines. Yeast overgrowth in the intestines and Lyme disease can look the same. Why? Both of these conditions trigger an immune system reaction the creates more inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines are designed to boost the immune system. But when they are made in excess they give most of the symptoms we find in Lyme and in yeast overgrowth in the intestines.

Read A Silent Problem. Do you Have Yeast? to see if you have this problem. And if you do, read Kills Yeast: A Brief Guide for treatment options. If it is yeast and you treat it with one of the options I discuss, usually in 3 weeks you will have your health back.

Step Two: Is It Bartonella or Babesia?

If you had bartonella or babesia as part of your Lyme disease, it is possible your decline is due to growth of one of these germs. In my experience using the treatment approaches in Kills Bartonella: A Brief Guide and in Kills Babesia: A Brief Guide 95% of people will never have a relapse of one of these germs.

Read It Could Be Bartonella or Babesia: The Symptoms and Signs. to see if you have a relapse of one of these infections. A bartonella relapse can take 4 to 6 months to completely recover and babesia can take 4 to 5 months following the treatment approaches in our guides mentioned in the paragraph above.

Step Three: Is It Lyme?

Follow steps one and two first. Also be sure your downturn is not due to a more recent infection like a cold virus or the flu. But if your symptoms remain, then it may be a Lyme relapse.

Do not test for Lyme again with western blot testing or with a CD-57 test. I also do not think testing using a Lyme elispot test is useful either. These test are not reliable in a relapse. Read more about testing in 

In fact there is not a useful test to see if Lyme is active. It is a clinical decision to treat Lyme.

For herbal and prescription antibiotic options see A Lyme Disease Antibiotic Guide. Also when you choose antibiotics look back to see which combinations worked best for you during your treatment. Consider trying these again.

Good News: Generally if you get back in to treatment quickly at the beginning of a relapse the treatment is relatively quick (compared to the average initial 2 year treatment) and takes around 4 months to recover.

Marty Ross MD Discusses How to Figure Out a Relapse

This video was recorded when Dr. Ross practiced in Seattle, Washington. 

Video Thumbnail


Step Four: Prevent Relapse at The End of a Lyme Disease Treatment.

Follow the steps outlined in Finished? And How to Prevent Relapse. Be sure to take Transfer Factor L Plus 1 pill 2 times a day to boost your immune system. Read Transfer Factors: Turn On The Army for more information. Also consider using one prescription antibiotic or the otoba bark extract and cat's claw following the recommendations I discuss in Finished? And How to Prevent Relapse. These herbal and prescription antibiotics will police the environment to swat down the Lyme germs and to keep them in remission.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this guideline are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.

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About The Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice.

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The Institute for Functional Medicine, and The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).

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