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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Lyme disease and sex

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Author Topic: Lyme disease and sex
Junior Member
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I have been bitten by a tick about a year ago (July last year) and had no symptoms until last June when I had a strange arthritis problems and some mood changes/halucinations. I have been positively tested for Lyme disease and I am now on 1month doxycycline treatment which has helped a lot. My main worry is if it was possible to infect my wife via unprotected sex intercourse. The problem is we had a new baby whci was concieved last September which means I was already infected and I am worried if this infection could be transfered via my wife to our baby. Therefore I would like to ask a question - is it possible to pass Lyme disease on someone via standard vaginal sexual contact? If yea, is is possible that this disease has been transfered to our baby? I am so scared because of that.

Thank you for help,


Posts: 1 | From United Kingdom | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Sorry to say, but some experts believe it can be transmitted via normal intercourse. It has been documented to be transferred to the fetus via placenta.

I was concerned about this as well as many other folks here. I had my husband tested with the Western Blot and he was negative.

Perhaps having your wife get tested with the western blot would be a good idea. If you wanted your baby tested as well and could find a Doctor willing to do it, it certainly would not hurt.

Please dont be scared, be proactive. My friend did accidently transfer it to her baby in utero, had the cord blood sent to igenex and it was +. Her son was treated as an infant and today is completely well...I think he is around the age of 9 or 10.

Best wishes. I think all of us with Lyme have feared at some point we have exposed others to this. So little is known about the disease.

Posts: 747 | From Utah | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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My only comment is I believe 1 month of Doxy is not enough. YOu need longer treatment.

Can't say about your wife. I'm in the same boat..had it at least a year and had a daughter born in March.

Only thing that is giving me hope is typically the pregnant mothers with Lyme have issues. Mine didn't

Bite date ?
2/10 symptoms began
5/10 dx'd, after 3 months numerous test and doctors

IgM Igenex +/CDC +
+ 23/25, 30, 31, 34, 41, 83/93

Currently on:

Currently at around 95% +/- most days.

Posts: 3134 | From Massachusetts | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I don't think it can be passed from male to female to baby .. unless the mother got Lyme from the male or already had Lyme. Then the baby would be at high risk.

Through sexual transmission is very possible and I'm sure it has happened...but MANY of us have not found that to be true personally.

Opinions, not medical advice!

Posts: 96223 | From Texas | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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My LLMD thinks it is not sexually transmitted. That is up for debate. I am Catholic and believe in the Church's teaching .... but your wife is already pregnant. [Wink] I would use condoms during pregnancy just for extra safety despite what my LLMD says because we do know it is transmittable to the baby.

However, if your wife is not sick, I don't think it will be a problem. I had Lyme with all 5 of my pregnancies (one child is adopted, thus six kids), and none of my kids got Lyme from me. One got it from a tick bite. She and I are both well today.


Posts: 13449 | From Ohio | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I've had Lyme for over 20 years and my wife and I have had unprotected sex the entire time. She is fine and so is our teenage daughter; conceived after I was sick.
Posts: 252 | From NJ USA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I was finally diagnosed with chronic lyme in March after 20 plus years of symptoms. I was bit by a tick when I was 8 years old (32 years ago). I had a variety of subtle issues through the years that worsened with age, pregnancies etc.

To outsiders, my children are generally healthy but noone knows how tirelessly I have worked to keep them that way. Both have tons of environmental allergies & food allergies, my daughter has eczema & GI issues and my son is dealing with a parasite issue and some other subtle things that I know are outside the norm for a 10 year old. Both had a few bands on the Igenex test, as did my husband. It is possible that my husband got it on his own as he was bit by ticks growing up, but my children have never been bit. I know that I passed it to them and that their myriad of subtle issues are how the lyme is manifesting.

Just my experience.

Posts: 23 | From USA | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I don't mean to throw a damp rag on things, but anecdotal evidence of someone having it for a long time and not passing it on to his wife doesn't necessarily prove anything.

How can it be proven that Lyme was not passed on? To me, having the wife tested multiple times by a reliable lab without even a hint of infection (like no positive or indeterminate bands) might be the best way.

But if you're just looking at the fact the spouse hasn't been sick, that's not enough evidence to me. The spouse may not have had symptoms, but the spirochetes might be being controlled by the immune system to this point. Some people believe that Lyme acquired through means other than a bug bite (like catching it from an infected dog's urine, feces, saliva, or another person's body fluids) can lie quasi-dormant, controlled by the immune system.

In such cases of control, once something comes along to drag the immune system down or get it to stop recognizing the borrelia as an enemy, such as the accumulation of heavy metals past a critical point, the accumulation of mold toxins, or a variety of other immune-compromising events, then the person might become Lyme symptomatic and the downward spiral begins.

Here are the questions to which we really need answers from the scientific community:

1. Can borrelia and coinfections be spread through transfer of body fluids?

2. If so, then WHICH body fluids? Blood, saliva, semen, vaginal fluid, urine, feces, all of the above, or just some of the above? The reason I mention urine and feces is that there was a thread on here not too long ago on which someone suggested that transmittal to family members can occur through urine, i.e., toilet contact. Another theory was presented based on an anecdote that a whole family was infected except one child who never let their Lyme-infected dog lick his face and never cleaned up the dog's messes. If you can get it from an infected dog licking your face, you sure as heck can get it from kissing an infected person.

3. Once the answers to questions 1 and 2 are found, then it raises the questions of conditions and methods of transfer. For instance, some people believe that in can only be transferred from male to female through sexual contact. Why? Does this mean that semen, not saliva can carry the spirochete? If semen can carry it, why wouldn't vaginal fluid carry it? Does this suggest that while both fluids might carry the spirochete, it can only be transmitted when there is some kind of lesion or laceration into which the spirochete can enter the bloodstream? Often during sexual intercourse, small tears can occur to the vaginal tissues that are often unnoticed. Is this where the transfer of the spirochete can take place? Rarely is sex rough enough to cause cuts/tears on the skin of the penis (but it does happen occasionally, particularly at the urethral opening). Does this explain why some theorize that only male to female transmission is possible?

4. Sorry to get graphic, but what about oral sex? If the spirochete can be carried in semen, will it infect the male's partner via oral sex? Is just getting semen into the mouth, throat, esophagus or stomach enough for the 'chetes to start drilling into the body? Or once again, does it need an area of injury to do this? Does the digestion process take care of killing the spirochetes? This question might be of particular interest to couples who have used condoms to prevent pregnancy, but engage in oral sex.

If Lyme can be transmitted from person to person in any of the above described ways, then this means it is not only a tick-borne illness, but also a sexually transmitted disease. If so, this might explain why so many people are infected withouth ever recalling a bite of any kind.

I am one such person. I never had a bite or a rash. I was born and raised in Connecticut and lived there until I was 28. I was very sexually active while living there. One of my former girlfriends with whom I was involved for almost two years informed me about a few years ago that she had Fibromyalgia. So now this raises the question: Is her Fibromyalgia simply a case of undiagnosed Lyme? Did she have Lyme and pass it on to me and we were both asymptomatic until just recently? Did I give it to her? (I doubt it).

Anyway, no one seems to have any scientifically definitive answers on any of the questions I've asked. Heck we don't even have scientifically definitive diagnostics for Lyme infection itself yet, so until that happens I guess this topic will continue to be debated based on anecdotal evidence and unproven theories. It's very frustrating.

�Listen to the bell, Borrelia. It tolls for thee!�

Posts: 631 | From A little place called, "we'll see." | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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i don't know what sex is....

do not look back when the only course is forward

Posts: 12262 | From texas | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
janet thomas
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Was the cord blood saved?

If so you could contact Igenex lab & ask them about testing.

I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice but only my personal experience and opinion.

Posts: 2001 | From NJ | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LymeNet Contributor
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One thing I fail to understand.

How can folks be 100% certain they were never ever bitten?
I see this on all the forums.
Did they examine their backs every day forever? Before even knowing aobut lyme and ticks?
And one of my practioners claims mosquitoes can carry it...and fleas.

That aside...the nymph is the size of a pencil point and hides.

I am on my second overlapping case
and believe me after late stage undiagnosed lyme and hospitalized for paralysis wasitdown, I was looking!
And never saw the second until "blessedly" there was a bullseye rash or I would never have known.

Not everything in life that can be counted counts and not every thing that counts can be counted...Albert Einstein

Posts: 208 | From Northeast | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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This is from a Klinghardt publication of 2004 (Lyme Disease: A Look beyond Antibiotics)

"Making the history of a tick bite a condition for a physician to be willing to even consider the possibility of a Bb infection seems cynical and cruel.

To use conventional diagnostic tests such as the Western Blot, one has to think in paradoxes: the patient has to be treated with an effective treatment modality first before the patient recovers enough to produce the antibodies, which then are looked for in the test. A positive Western Blot proves that the treatment given worked to some degree.

A negative Western Blot does not and cannot prove the absence of the infection.

Having taken another route altogether, we have recognized the following:

Today many if not most Americans are carriers of the infection. Most infected people are symptomatic, but the severity and type of the symptoms varies greatly. The microbes often invade tissues that had been injured: your chronic neck pain or sciatica really may be a Bb infection. The same may be true for your chronic TMJ problem, your adrenal fatigue, your thyroid dysfunction, your GERD and many other seemingly unrelated symptoms.

In most places the diagnosis of an active Bb infection is made only, if the symptoms are severe, persistent, obvious and many non-specific and fruitless avenues of treatment have been exhausted. Acute new ``typical''cases of Bb infection are rare in my practice. Symptoms tend to get stranger and more obscure every year.

Frequently, if the patient is fortunate enough to see a practitioner who is ``Lyme cognizant'', the diagnosis of a supposedly fresh case of symptomatic Lyme disease is made when a significant tissue toxin level has been reached (threshold phenomenon) or when a new co-infection has occurred recently. The symptoms can mimic any other existing medical, psychological or psychiatric condition. The list of significant co-infections is limited: roundworms, tapeworms, threadworms, toxoplasmosis, giardia and amoebas, clostridia, the herpes virus family, parvovirus B 19, active measles (in the small intestine), leptospirosis, chronic strep infections and their mutations, Babesia, Brucella, Ehrlichiosis, Bartonella, mycoplasma, Rickettsia, Bartonella and a few others. Molds and fungi are always part of the picture.

The pattern of co-infections and the other preexisting conditions, such as mercury toxicity, determine the symptom picture, but not the severity.

The severity of symptoms correlates most closely with the overall summation or body burden of coexisting conditions and with the genetically determined ability to excrete neurotoxins."

In other words, many in the world carry the infection, but not everyone gets as sick as we do -- right away. When then?? Lifestyle, exposure, stress, genetics??

Take care.

Posts: 9834 | From Washington State | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LymeNet Contributor
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Geez, I'm really depressed now.....
Posts: 383 | From Ar | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Yes it can be transmitted to the baby- My children are proof of that.
Posts: 107 | From new jersey | Registered: Dec 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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"i don't know what sex is...."

LOL, randibear!
I feel so terrible so often that I'm sure this is my husband's sentiment as well...


"Yes, I'll have a Cosmopolitan... but please, hold the Lyme."

Posts: 17 | From Maryland | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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