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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Depressing Qestions

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Author Topic: Depressing Qestions
Jordana
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I've been reading about how Lyme can be transmitted through sexual contact. And it's actually found more in women than in men.

Does that mean I have to Inform My Partner that I have Lyme, use protection and basically know I could get someone sick by having sex with them?

Also -- you can never get rid of all the sprichetes, can you?

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Keebler
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Please try to look at these not as depressing questions but action to empower you for better health and communication. It's a stretch, I know, still an important shift in how you think about this.

My thoughts here, totally.

Q: Do I "have to Inform My Partner that I have Lyme?"

Yes.

But you would inform your partner if you had a cold, or anything else going on, too.

While the answer to sexual transmission is not 100% crystal clear in that lyme would ALWAYS transmit -- it is clear in that it COULD. Your partner has the right to know.

Both parties also have a right to know as, if there is a baby to come, while either partner has lyme, the fetus could acquire it in utero. That takes some planning for the best choices.

Q: Do I "have to use protection"?

Yes.

But that is also a good idea, anyway, for many reasons.


Q: Is oral sex a risk? [You did not ask but it's an important question.]

Yes. "Protected" oral sex is rarely discussed and it, well, it's just really "involved" let's just say. Still, anytime there is an interchange of intimate bodily fluids . . . all sorts of stuff can get passed around.

Candida is just one example.

Q: " could get someone sick by having sex with them? "

Yes. It is possible. But it's not always so clear as there are many ways a person can acquire lyme and not even know it.

Best to put it into perspective looking back, and change habits looking forward. With more information, we change, we grow. That's life.

First, as for two people becoming intimate, it's just understood that either one could have any number of unseen, undiagnosed conditions. Without protection, there is always a chance at either sharing or contracting a variety of infections. Herpes (many strains), HPV, etc. are also to be considered.

So, when both enter into unprotected activity, each assumes the possibility of some risk. Hopefully, with more talk about all this, the conversations beforehand will become easier.

Still, at any point in the relationship, it's always a good time for a conversation and change in habits.


There are so many people with undiagnosed lyme, etc. Many avenues of transmission.

Still, now that you know, it is your responsibility to inform your partner and take precautions.

Your partner should be assessed for lyme, too. Talk to your LLMD or LL ND about that. Many times, the partner will be fine but as there is some risk, it's important they have information and can take it from there.
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[ 12-01-2015, 06:08 PM: Message edited by: Keebler ]

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Keebler
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Q: "you can never get rid of all the [spirochetes] can you?"

That question can't be so easily answered. It's not just the spirochetes that are the concern. Lyme takes many forms besides spirochetes so it's important to treat ALL forms and that requires different classifications of approaches.

Be certain you are being guided by an ILADS educated LLMD or LL ND who is current with all the kinds of things other LL doctors are studying, etc.

Be certain all forms of lyme - as well as coinfections are being addressed.

Be certain to be assessed for all possible tick borne / other chronic stealth infections that can travel with lyme - or likely reactivate due to such a load.

Be aware that if you consider having a child, either partner can transmit lyme (or some other infections such as bartonella) to a fetus.

Proper care and thought prior to (when possible) is best. And treatment during pregnancy with certain precautions at birth have helped many babies be born healthy - or able to receive prompt treatment.

my hands must stop now but please see all this as just getting informed so as to be respectful to your partner and to maintain your own health, lessen your own risks, etc.

Many have gone into good solid remissions / recovery with lyme, long standing. It is possible.
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Jordana
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Thanks Keebler.

I thought about that, the oral sex thing.

No pun intended. This sucks.

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Keebler
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It need not, actually, is the point. (Pun intended). But sexual health does require some work.

There are many ways to show and share intimacy.

And there is nothing sexier than respect for self & others in taking care of health. With love, and if true partners, anything can be worked out.

For details, you might visit a doctor (gynecologist / urologist) or clinic specializing in sexual health.

Your LLMD or LL ND (if you have one) are also there for you on all matters, all questions.

As for condoms, some of the coatings on some can be irritating to tender tissue so this is where it's good to do some homework and find what will suit your needs.

HIV prevention also needs to be considered.

Not asking -- but as you mention unprotected sex, assuming that is referring to the transmission aspect and not the pregnancy aspect.

If you are on the pill, just be aware that the pill can have some effects on women with lyme.

And some antibiotics will make the pill less effective.

So (and I am assuming by your name that you are a woman - but I've made mistakes before) . . . well, whatever kinds of birth control you choose, your LLMD / LL ND really MUST know about it, just as with anything else you take.
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Jordana
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[Wink] . Yep, of course, female.

I've never taken birth control and I'm a serial monogamist but semi-single lately.

When I think about all the bullets I've dodged in my sexual history -- chlamydia, syphilis, AIDS, HPV, HCV, HIV -- etceteraetcetera, clean as a whistle from way back then to now -- now I've got a freakin Social Disease anyway.

I appear to be in the Anger phase of my disease acceptance process.

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Keebler
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No, you do not have a "freakin Social Disease."

Please be kind to yourself about this and repeat a hundred times and stand tall in the sun.

Lyme is not a "freakin Social Disease" yet it is an infection. Yes, it is an infection. And just about any infection can be spread with intimate contact.

Really, though, even sexually transmitted infections are not "freakin Social Diseases" - we are talking here about people, real people and what affects them profoundly. It's time to take the shame out of that and let some light in so that education and information can help.

Respect & dignity are the foundation for each person. Just as you would naturally extend that to others, so, too, hold on to your own.

Sexual health issues are health issues. Mental health issues are health issues. The need to be close is a human need. We all have needs and, for some, the way those needs are met may not be perfect but here is where education in these matters is so very vital.


Please do review birth control measures as, with lyme, it is best not to become pregnant until into remission or at least farther along in treatment.

Lyme in a baby can be devastating - and even fatal. So just be sure of whatever method you use. Lyme can also cause irregularity in timing of cycle. So that's really important to know.

Condoms, alone, are not totally fail-proof regarding pregnancy, either.
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Keebler
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Some infections can lie dormant for years, decades, so it's just important to be aware of that.

http://www.pamf.org/teen/sex/std/oral/

Sutter Health - Palo Alto Medical Foundation

Sexually Transmitted Infections - precautions

Safer Oral Sex Practices - because "You can get an STI from having oral sex."

Excerpts:

. . . STIs are caused by viruses or bacteria that like warm, soft, moist places such as your mouth and genital area . . . .

. . . Though there's admittedly less risk of STIs in oral sex than in . . . the risk still exists.

You can get a bacterial infection of chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhea in your mouth and/or throat and – in some rarer occasions – can develop genital warts in the mouth.

Herpes is commonly passed between genitals and the mouth, and HIV can be passed through cuts in the mouth or small abrasions [cuts, rough spots, over zealous flossing can cause cuts, too] . . . .

. . . [scroll down] . . . Barrier Methods for Protection in Oral Sex
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Keebler
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Some perspective from one of the more recent threads on the question of sexual transmission of lyme


TF posted on 01 November, 2015:

Many lyme doctors believe that lyme can be sexually transmitted. The one who cured me believed it could be but believed it was rare.

Another lyme doc said she saw it in married couples a lot. If she just treated one, they could never get well.

So, she always wanted to interview the spouse to see if they had any lyme symptoms. If they did, she encouraged them to be tested and treated also. One woman turned out to be positive for lyme that way.

My lyme doc said lyme is more easily transmitted from male to female because there is a greater exchange of bodily fluids male to female than female to male.

I had undiagnosed lyme for at least 10 years and I never gave it to my husband. I even had him tested through Igenex and he was totally negative except one + on band 41 and my lyme doc said he didn't have lyme. He has never had lyme symptoms all of these years (now 20 years.)

So, I think a lot depends on the health of your bodyfriend. If his immune system is in good shape and he has no symptoms, he likely does not have lyme right now.

[end TF post] --------


Robin123 says on 01 November, 2015:

From what I've seen, about half of couples both get Lymed. Maybe it depends on the strength of someone's immune system, maybe ability to detox - ie physiological ability to fend off a shared infection.

[end Robin's post] --------


Brussels added on 07 November, 2015

married and hubby never got lyme. I had lyme first in 2005. It's been 10 years,and he is still lyme free.

I dont' want to be an example, but so far, so good. He's got bitten only once by a tick and didn't fall sick either.

There is a doctor in a famous Swiss clinic (I live in switzerland) who said almost EVERYONE is infected with borrelia, but only a SMALL percentage have lyme symptoms.

He ran tests in the region I live, and the amount of DNA of Borrelia he found among the population was very high.

This Paracelsius doctor thinks that what makes people sick has to do with immune problems, not with the pathogen itself.

Dr. K. says virtually everyone has Borrelia in their bodies, but not all fall so ill with lyme.

I see people around me being constantly bitten by ticks and they still look fine (children, adults and old people).

[end Brussels' post]

from a different thread:

http://flash.lymenet.org/scripts/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=132874;p=0#000000

Brussels posts:

I'm married and hubby never got lyme. I had lyme first in 2005. It's been 10 years,and he is still lyme free.

I dont' want to be an example, but so far, so good. He's got bitten only once by a tick and didn't fall sick either.

There is a doctor in a famous Swiss clinic (I live in switzerland) who said almost EVERYONE is infected with borrelia, but only a SMALL percentage have lyme symptoms.

He ran tests in the region I live, and the amount of DNA of Borrelia he found among the population was very high.

This Paracelsius doctor thinks that what makes people sick has to do with immune problems, not with the pathogen itself.

Dr. K. says virtually everyone has Borrelia in their bodies, but not all fall so ill with lyme.

I see people around me being constantly bitten by ticks and they still look fine (children, adults and old people).

[end Brussels' post]


Robin123 shares:

From what I've seen, about half of couples both get Lymed. Maybe it depends on the strength of someone's immune system, maybe ability to detox - ie physiological ability to fend off a shared infection.

[end Robin's post]


TF writes:

Many lyme doctors believe that lyme can be sexually transmitted. The one who cured me believed it could be but believed it was rare.

Another lyme doc said she saw it in married couples a lot. If she just treated one, they could never get well. So, she always wanted to interview the spouse to see if they had any lyme symptoms. If they did, she encouraged them to be tested and treated also. One woman turned out to be positive for lyme that way.

My lyme doc said lyme is more easily transmitted from male to female because there is a greater exchange of bodily fluids male to female than female to male.

I had undiagnosed lyme for at least 10 years and I never gave it to my husband. I even had him tested through Igenex and he was totally negative except one + on band 41 and my lyme doc said he didn't have lyme. He has never had lyme symptoms all of these years (now 20 years.)

So, I think a lot depends on the health of your bodyfriend. If his immune system is in good shape and he has no symptoms, he likely does not have lyme right now.

[end TF's post]
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[ 12-10-2015, 02:02 AM: Message edited by: Keebler ]

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Robin123
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This question gets asked all the time at support groups. The answer, as I've seen it, is that around 50% of couples share the illness, meaning that 50% of partners do NOT exhibit the shared symptoms, only one of the couple - ie the infected one.

Which is very interesting. Are both infected but the other does very well at fighting it off? Or does the other one fight it off continuously and so never gets it?

It's hard to tell, because we don't have perfect testing at this point.

Whatever's going on, I just bet the partner has a great immune system, and possibly might be a very good detoxer, genetically. The 23andme test tests for people's ability to detox.

So, long story short, I'd be advising any partner to load up on strong immune boosting, like lots of Vit C, mushroom supplements like Host Defense, and have a very good, body-strengthening diet, as in eat real food and not junk food, sugar, etc.

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Jordana
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I ordered 23 and me it seems like a whole universe ago. Did you know they take eight to twelve weeks to process your DNA?

Ever since I've suspected I had Lyme it seems like eeeeeeverything I want to know, everything I need to find out, everyone I should really talk to is suddenly on a slow boat to China and won't be contacting me until I'm half dead.

Ah, there I go again

[Smile] Thanks for your replies, I love Justino, Keebler.

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WPinVA
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Right now, no one knows for sure if it is transmitted sexually but IMO it is wise to assume it is a possibility. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence of transmission this way, there is a lot to be learned, and I would not be at all surprised if eventually it is proven.

Syphilis is a spirochete and that's certainly transmitted sexually.

So, the responsible thing to do IMO would be to inform a partner of the potential risk, share information with him and then discuss what he is comfortable with regarding protection.

I have wondered if the chances of transmission vary depending on how ill the person is. Meaning that perhaps as the person improves, even if there is some lyme left, the chances of sexual transmission decrease. This last part is just speculation on my part.

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TF
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It may be that once you are on antibiotics daily at a high enough dose to kill germs (called a bactericidal dose), that you no longer can transmit the disease.

I just recall that Dr. J., the world-famous pediatric lyme specialist, says that an expectant mother on 2 antibiotics has an extremely low chance of transmission to the fetus. And, if on antibiotics, the mother of the newborn can breastfeed. If not on antibiotics, she should not breastfeed since the disease can be found in breast milk.

So, that makes me think that if you are properly medicated, the danger of transmission must be over.

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Keebler
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As any relationship happens much more outside of the bedroom than in it, I think it's important to first explain what is going on, share a bit about lyme including considerations for your overall life.

What that means for how your attention, time and resources will be allocated for coming months, what kind of practical help with domestic matters you might appreciate, etc.

As you explain the basics of the situation, then explain the intimacy concerns. That is just part of this - not the whole deal. Just as it's something you are going through but it does not define you.

Rather than categorize it as an STI, is a full body, all organ involving infection that can be acquired in various ways (tick, mosquito, other vectors).

It may be passed on with sexual intimacy but not necessarily. That is a very important distinction. And there is more to learn. We don't have all the answers yet so we all just do the best we can moving forward.

This could be an excellent time for your partner to learn more about lyme and that is just something that's good for everyone to know. Because anyone could get a tick or mosquito bite that "has their number on it" and being prepared is always good. It might also help prevention.

I hope your partner is really a partner, on your team. Give time to process, though. If someone even shares any kind of medical diagnose, it can take time for others to process this.
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Jordana
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Thanks for your thoughts all [Smile]
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Keebler
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As there are many good posts here and it's become a bit of a reference set, adding this for anyone new to this issue:


BLOOD / HUMAN TISSUE PRODUCTS

A question of acquiring via blood / tissue transmission.

As lyme may be & other tick-borne infections [esp. babesia, bartonella] have been transmitted through blood / tissue donations, that is something for some to consider.

And moving along to another issue with this, it's best to not donate - and be sure that's on final wishes as well.

The blood organiziations do not screen for lyme though they may for babesia. If anyone has ever had babesia, they should not donate blood / tissue for life or after death.

The issue with lyme / other TBD are certainly not -- clear, adequately considered in this area.

Ideally, better tests would help with screening and also a way to work with / "treat" all donations for the safety of patients who receive any blood or tissue products for there are various chronic stealth infections of which many are unaware.

We are a very long way away from all the considerations here, though, since the top governmental medical groups are in such denial about lyme / TBD.
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me
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Yes, it is your ethical obligation to inform your partner. I would never want someone to go through this. You can tell him/her that some evidence suggests it can be sexually transmitted and he/she can make the decision from there.

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Just sharing my experiences, opinions, and what I've read and learned. Not medical advice.

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bluelyme
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Ethically i am wrestling with this as far as a few of my ex partners ....

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Blue

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me
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Do you keep in touch with them?

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Just sharing my experiences, opinions, and what I've read and learned. Not medical advice.

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bluelyme
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No ,complicated ,Sending you pm

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Blue

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me
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Got it, Blue. Sent you a response. Hugs.

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Just sharing my experiences, opinions, and what I've read and learned. Not medical advice.

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