Archive for the ‘Transmission’ Category

Lyme Disease Transmission: Can It Spread From Person to Person?

Written by Marjorie Hecht

Medically reviewed by Gerhard Whitworth, RNon

June 11, 2019

Lyme Disease Transmission: Can It Spread from Person to Person?

Can you catch Lyme disease from someone else? The short answer is no. There’s no direct evidence that Lyme disease is contagious. The exception is pregnant women, who can transmit it to their fetus.

Lyme disease is a systemic infection caused by spirochete bacteria transmitted by black-legged deer ticks. The corkscrew-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are similar to the spirochete bacteria that cause syphilis.

Lyme disease can become debilitating for some people and life-threatening if it isn’t treated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source estimates that 300,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Lyme each year. But many cases may go unreported. Other studies suggest that the incidence of Lyme may be as high as 1 million cases per year.

Diagnosis is challenging because Lyme symptoms mimic those of many other diseases.

Historical facts about Lyme

  • Lyme takes its name from the Connecticut town where several children developed what looked like rheumatoid arthritis in the 1970s. The culprit was thought to be a tick bite.
  • In 1982, scientist Willy Burgdorfer identified the bacterial causeTrusted Source of the illness. The tick-borne bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, is named after him.
  • Lyme isn’t a new disease. Lyme-type spirochetes were found in the Tyrolean IcemanTrusted Source, a 5,300-year-old well-preserved body discovered in the Alps in 1991.

What’s the most common way to get Lyme?

Blacklegged deer ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi transmit the Lyme bacteria when they bite. The ticks, Ixodes scapularis (Ixodes pacificus on the West Coast), can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are called coinfections.

A tick requires a blood meal at each stage of its life — as larvae, nymphs, and adults. Ticks normally feed on animals, ground-feeding birds, or reptiles. Humans are a secondary blood source.

Most bites to humans are from tick nymphs, which are the size of poppy seeds. It’s hard to spot them, even on open skin. The prime seasons for human tick bites are late spring and summer.

As an infected tick feeds on you, it injects spirochetes into your blood. Animal researchTrusted Source has shown that the severity (virulence) of infection varies, depending on whether the spirochetes are from the tick’s salivary glands or the tick’s midgut. In this animal research, infection required 14 times more midgut spirochetes than saliva spirochetes.

Depending on the tick’s bacterial virulence, you could be infected with Lyme within 24 hoursTrusted Sourceof the tick bite.

Can you get Lyme from bodily fluids?

Lyme bacteria may be found in bodily fluids, such as:

  • saliva
  • urine
  • breast milk

But there’s no hard evidence that Lyme spreads from person to person via contact with bodily fluids. So don’t worry about kissing someone with Lyme.

Can you get Lyme from sexual transmission?

There’s no direct evidence that Lyme is sexually transmitted by humans. Lyme experts are divided about the possibility.

“The evidence for sexual transmission that I’ve seen is very weak and certainly not conclusive in any scientific sense,” Dr. Elizabeth Maloney told Healthline. Maloney is president of the Partnership for Tick-Borne Diseases Education.

Dr. Sam Donta, another Lyme researcher, agreed.

On the other hand, Lyme researcher Dr. Raphael Stricker told Healthline,

There’s no reason why the Lyme spirochete can’t be sexually transmitted by human beings. How commonly it occurs, or how difficult it is, we don’t know.”

Stricker has called for a “Manhattan Project” approach to Lyme, including more research.

Indirect studies of human transmission are suggestiveTrusted Source, but not definitive. A few animal studiesof sexual transmission of the Lyme spirochete have shown that it does occur in some cases.

It’s not ethical to test sexual transmission by deliberately infecting humans, as was done with syphilis in the past. (The syphilis spirochete is transmitted sexually.)

A 2014 studyTrusted Source found live Lyme spirochetes in semen and vaginal secretions of people with documented Lyme. But this doesn’t necessarily mean there are enough spirochetes to spread infection.

Can you get Lyme from a blood transfusion?

There are no documented cases of Lyme transmission via a blood transfusion.

But the Lyme spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi has been isolated from human blood, and an older 1990 research studyTrusted Source found that Lyme spirochetes could survive the normal blood bank storage procedures. For this reason, the CDCTrusted Source recommends that people being treated for Lyme shouldn’t donate blood.

On the other hand, there have been more than 30 cases of transfusion-transmitted babesiosis, a parasite coinfection of the same black-legged tick that transmits Lyme.

Can Lyme be transmitted during pregnancy?

A pregnant woman with untreated Lyme can transmit the infectionTrusted Source to the fetus. But if they receive adequate treatment for Lyme, adverse effects are unlikely.

A 2009 studyTrusted Source of 66 pregnant women found that untreated women had a significantly higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Infection from the mother to the fetus can occur within the first three months of pregnancy, according to Donta. If the mother is untreated, the infection would result in congenital abnormalities or miscarriage.

There’s no credible evidence, Donta said, that maternal-to-fetal transmission manifests itself months to years later in the child.

Lyme treatment for pregnant women is the same as for others with Lyme, except that antibiotics in the tetracycline family shouldn’t be used.

Can you get Lyme from your pets?

There’s no evidence of direct transmission of Lyme from pets to humans. But dogs and other domestic animals can bring Lyme-carrying ticks into your home. These ticks could attach to you and cause infection.

It’s a good practice to check your pets for ticks after they’ve been in tall grass, underbrush, or wooded areas where ticks are common.

Symptoms to watch for if you’ve been around ticks

The symptoms of Lyme vary widely and mimic those of many other diseases. Here are some common symptoms:

  • flat red rash, shaped like an oval or bull’s-eye (but note that you can still have Lyme without this rash)
  • fatigue
  • flu symptoms such as headache, fever, and general malaise
  • joint pain or swelling
  • light sensitivity
  • emotional or cognitive changes
  • neurological problems such as loss of balance
  • heart problems

Again, there’s no direct evidence of person-to-person transmission of Lyme. If someone you live with has Lyme and you develop symptoms, it’s most likely because you’re both exposed to the same tick population around you.

Preventative measures

Take preventive measures if you’re in an area where there are ticks (and deer):

  • Wear long pants and long sleeves.
  • Spray yourself with an effective insect repellent.
  • Check yourself and your pets for ticks if you’ve been in an area where there are ticks.

The takeaway

Lyme is an underreported epidemic in the United States. Diagnosis is challenging because Lyme symptoms are like those of many other diseases.

There’s no evidence that Lyme is contagious. The one documented exception is that pregnant women can transmit the infection to their fetus.

Lyme and its treatment are controversial topics. More research and research funding are needed.

If you suspect you have Lyme, see a doctor, preferably one who has Lyme experience. The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) can provide a list of Lyme-aware doctors in your area.

**Please see link at top of page for Sources**



Sigh… we go again.

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!”

Since borrelia is extremely evasive and difficult to culture and observe due to its affinity to sequester in tissues, & organs including the brain, prudence would err on the side of cautionwhich has not been the case historically.

Please understand that both Donta and Maloney (I respect them both) are highly vested in mainstream medicine due to their current roles. Donta is on the tick-borne disease working group and Maloney offers continuing medical education to doctors. Both feel the acute pressure of mainstream medicine and it’s emphasis on peer-reviewed, double blind placebo studies.  Problem is – those things don’t exist for Lyme/MSIDS. This monster just doesn’t fit into that paradigm at present and nobody’s doing the required work, which is:

Since Lyme/MSIDS is such a controversial subject, those in the spotlight, such as Donta and Maloney have taken a rigid stand that unless science has proven it, it’s unlikely.

Dr. Stricker, on the other hand, is still treating patients and sees a different reality.

That’s an important distinction. Notice the two viewpoints:

  1. Donta & Maloney: The evidence is weak and inconclusive and therefore unlikely.
  2. Stricker: There’s no reason why Lyme can’t be spread sexually….

In sum, while there is no DIRECT evidence, there’s plenty of indirect evidence and studies showing transmission by numerous means:

Genital lesions (By Dr. MacDonald who states he predicted Lyme transmission in the bedroom in 1986)  Excerpt:

…results show that DNA of Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia bavariensis and Borrelia garinii could be detected in ten Culicidae species comprising four distinct genera (Aedes, Culiseta, Culex, and Ochlerotatus). Positive samples also include adult specimens raised in the laboratory from wild-caught larvae indicating that transstadial and/or transovarial transmission might occur within a given mosquito population.

BTW: the last study on the potential of other bugs transmitting Lyme (minus the German study on mosquitos) was done over 30 years ago.  And, while no spirochetes were isolated from the hamsters, antibodies were found – even back then.

All I can say is I wished I knew about the potential of sexual transmission. This knowledge could have potentially spared me from disease which has been life-changing to say the least.

One thing’s for sure – the research is screaming to be done, yet The Cabal prefers to sit on their ivory tower and just proclaim the only way for you to become infected with Lyme is solely through the bite of the black-legged tick.

Sorry.  I just don’t believe people who have patents on the organism, test kits, and vaccines.


Morgellons & Lyme Disease Connection – Joe Rogan: “Lyme Disease is Terrifying”

**Warning – explicit language in each video**

 Scroll to 2:21

Joe Rogan on the Morgellons & Lyme Disease Connection

“Everyone who has Morgellons also has Lyme disease.”

Rogan explains how a tick is full of pathogens – Lyme is only one of many.

There’s discussion on Bells Palsy and some doctors state to just wait until it goes away.  I would caution this approach as this is often a Lyme disease symptom. While symptoms wax and wane with Lyme disease, just because the symptom disappears does not mean you are not still infected systemically. Waxing and waning symptoms is hallmark of Lyme disease. You need to see a Lyme literate doctor who understands these things. (Contact your local support group to find these specially trained doctors) In this article, Dr. Cameron warns against using steroids for facial palsy due to this practice causing refractory disease in Lyme/MSIDS patients:

 Approx. 10 Min.

Taken from Joe Rogan Experience #1234 w/David Sinclair

Joe Rogan: “Lyme disease is terrifying”

Approx. 15 Min.

Joe Rogan Experience podcast #873 with Steven Kotler

Around 5:00 he talks about Morgellons as well.

For More on Morgellons:

Ticks? There’s An App For That

Just in time for summer tick season, a free smartphone app is now available to better understand and limit exposure to disease-carrying ticks. The Tick App helps scientists track the threat of tick-borne diseases and also serves as a prevention tool for users, providing a tick risk forecast by location and information on how to prevent tick bites and identify and remove ticks. The app was developed in part by the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease, co-directed by Lyric Bartholomay, professor in the UW School of Veterinary Medicine.

Therapeutic Efficacy of Favipiravir Against Bourbon Virus in Mice

Published: June 13, 2019


Bourbon virus (BRBV) is an emerging tick-borne RNA virus in the orthomyxoviridae family that was discovered in 2014. Although fatal human cases of BRBV have been described, little is known about its pathogenesis, and no antiviral therapies or vaccines exist. We obtained serum from a fatal case in 2017 and successfully recovered the second human infectious isolate of BRBV. Next-generation sequencing of the St. Louis isolate of BRBV (BRBV-STL) showed >99% nucleotide identity to the original reference isolate. Using BRBV-STL, we developed a small animal model to study BRBV-STL tropism in vivo and evaluated the prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of the experimental antiviral drug favipiravir against BRBV-induced disease. Infection of Ifnar1-/- mice lacking the type I interferon receptor, but not congenic wild-type animals, resulted in uniformly fatal disease 6 to 10 days after infection. RNA in situ hybridization and viral yield assays demonstrated a broad tropism of BRBV-STL with highest levels detected in liver and spleen. In vitro replication and polymerase activity of BRBV-STL were inhibited by favipiravir. Moreover, administration of favipiravir as a prophylaxis or as post-exposure therapy three days after infection prevented BRBV-STL-induced mortality in immunocompromised Ifnar1-/- mice. These results suggest that favipiravir may be a candidate treatment for humans who become infected with BRBV.


More on Bourbon Virus:



PCOS: A Mysterious Disease

PCOS: A Mysterious Disease

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone-related condition that affects millions of women. This condition is also known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome (after the doctors who discovered it more than 80 years ago), Anovulatory Androgen Excess (AAE), or polycystic ovary disease. If left untreated, PCOS can lead to more far-reaching health concerns, such as diabetes, heart disease, and endometrial cancer.

Though “polycystic ovary syndrome” implies that the predominant symptom is ovarian cysts, PCOS is really a hormone imbalance characterized by an overabundance of androgens and resistance to insulin. PCOS is the most prevalent hormone imbalance in women under the age of 50. Estimates suggest that between 4-8% of the female reproductive population may have PCOS, yet most cases are presumed to be undiagnosed.

As mentioned previously, the name “polycystic ovary syndrome” is misleading because PCOS can occur with or without ovarian cysts. Even the presence of ovarian cysts does not necessarily mean that they are caused by PCOS. The cysts associated with PCOS are actually eggs that do not get released from the ovary because of abnormal hormone levels.

In most cases, PCOS starts during adolescence or even pre-puberty. Because the symptoms take a long time to develop, however, it may not be detected until women are in their late 20s or 30s.

Infertility is closely connected to PCOS: infertility is the primary clue that leads to most diagnoses of PCOS and PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility. In addition to infertility, the more obvious symptoms of PCOS include menstrual abnormalities, acne, unwanted facial hair, and unexplained weight gain. Symptoms vary widely from one woman to the next; for instance, some women with PCOS retain fluids and hold body fat, whereas others are slender. Tumors and increased risk of cancers may also be associated with PCOS, but they are rare.

Considering the myriad symptoms of PCOS, medical professionals still debate how to define and diagnose it. The primary consensus seems to be that women with PCOS:

  • Do not ovulate in a predictable manner
  • Produce excessive quantities of androgens, particularly testosterone and/or dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
  • Are insulin-resistant
Dr. Jerilynn Prior asserts that the most common cause of PCOS is not actually cysts on the ovaries, but rather ovulation dysfunction and/or disturbance and subsequent lack of progesterone.

What are Androgens?

Androgens are steroid hormones vital to physical and sexual development. They are secreted by the adrenal glands and are also produced by the nervous system, including nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system. Other tissues may also produce androgens, such as cells found in the liver, skin, and hair, and by the ovaries in women.

Androgens affect every aspect of our bodies in some way. They are necessary for the functioning of the liver and blood cells, nourishing the bones, and creating muscle mass. Because they are used for muscle development—and muscles burn fat—androgens are critical to weight management.

Patients with PCOS tend to have elevated levels of androgens. Imbalances of other hormones are also common, further contributing to PCOS symptoms:

  • High levels of androgens, specifically testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA, and DHEA-sulfate (DHEA-S)
  • High estrone levels, though their estradiol level is usually within the normal range
  • Low thyroid levels
  • High or low cortisol levels
  • High insulin levels

What are the Symptoms?

For many women, PCOS is a lifelong disease, with symptoms appearing in adolescence and persisting through the reproductive years and into menopause. While some women with PCOS may develop cysts on their ovaries as the name suggests, the most prevalent indicators of PCOS and other androgen disorders fall into one of three general categories: changes in appearance, menstrual abnormalities, and metabolic or systemic disorders.

Examples of Changes in Appearance

  • Acne and skin problems
  • Hirsutism (excessive hair on the face, chest, abdomen, and other parts of the body)
  • Unexplained weight gain or fluid retention

Examples of Menstrual Abnormalities

  • Severe menstrual pain
  • Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
  • Oligomenorrhea (infrequent periods, possibly coupled with infertility if the woman has tried and been unable to become pregnant)

Examples of Metabolic or Systemic Disorders

  • Infertility or reduced fertility
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Hyperlipidemia (elevated cholesterol)
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Breast cancer

Because sensitivities to excess androgen vary considerably, symptoms can differ dramatically from one woman to the next. In general, symptoms cluster according to life stages:

  • Pre-puberty: weight gain, early puberty or menarche, acne, high blood pressure
  • Adolescence: irregular periods, obesity, acne, hirsutism
  • Reproductive years: infertility, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia
  • Perimenopause: diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart disease, cancer

Unfortunately, many women who suffer from the symptoms of PCOS don’t seek medical treatment. They may be embarrassed, or the symptoms may seem trivial and unrelated. Many of the symptoms might be perceived as awkward phases of development, reactions to stress or lifestyle choices, or concerns about imperfect physical appearance.

For those who do seek treatment, doctors often misinterpret their symptoms as being connected to some other cause. Changes in appearance may be categorized as cosmetic (and therefore not covered by insurance). For instance, some women may remedy excess hair with laser treatments rather than consulting their physician.

Possible Causes of PCOS

As of this writing, the exact cause of PCOS is still a mystery. However, several theories have been suggested by various researchers:

Defects in the Endocrine System

One theory suggests that PCOS may be due to a defect in the endocrine system, affecting the hypothalamus and/or the pituitary glands. In this scenario, the production of either gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) or luteinizing hormone (LH) is elevated. Dr. Prior concludes that it is not simply high levels of LH, but the rate of its pulsing that has gone awry. This increased rate overstimulates the ovaries and results in excess androgen production, which disrupts the normal menstruation cycle.

Lack of Ovulation

Dr. Jeffrey Dach suggests that PCOS results from the body’s failure to ovulate. Without ovulation, progesterone is not produced. Because ovulation cannot take place without progesterone, this perpetuates a cycle, as ovulation will not occur without progesterone and leads to increased testosterone production by the ovaries.

Scar Tissue from Iodine Deficiency

According to Dr. Jorge Flechas, PCOS is a scar tissue disease caused by a lack of iodine. He suggests that low iodine levels are responsible for the production of cysts, nodules, growths, and scar tissue. Iodine deficiency is the cause of such diseased tissues no matter where they occur in the body.

Environmental and Chemical Exposures

Dr. John R. Lee’s theory points to xenobiotics: chemical compounds such as drugs, environmental pollutants, and carcinogens that are foreign to a living organism. Xenobiotics can disrupt hormone function and can also alter the development of fetal tissue. During the development of a female embryo, between 500 and 800 thousand follicles are created, each containing an immature ovum.

Dr. Lee reports that studies show “the creation of ovarian follicles during this embryo stage is exquisitely sensitive to the toxicity of xenobiotics.” One example of harmful chemical exposure is Bisphenol A (BPA), which is found everywhere from plastics to the lining of canned foods and even paper receipts. BPA may alter estrogen receptor proteins, leading to ovarian difficulties.

While a pregnant woman exposed to such chemicals may be unaffected, her baby “is far more susceptible, and these chemicals may damage a female embryo’s ovarian follicles and make them dysfunctional; unable to complete ovulation or manufacture sufficient progesterone.” This damage may not be apparent until after puberty, and even then may exhibit in a wide variety of symptoms.

Insulin Resistance

Another theory is that insulin resistance may set off a chain reaction that throws the hormones out of balance. Medical research suggests that when insulin levels in the blood are high, the ovaries may be stimulated to produce more testosterone. However, PCOS appears to be unique in that, independent of body weight, excessive insulin production is coupled with insulin resistance.

Dr. Sara Gottfried thinks that PCOS is connected to insulin, noting that the risk of Type II diabetes rises by approximately 80% if cysts are present (whereas it increases by only 50% with high androgen levels alone). In The Hormone Cure, she explains that high insulin levels cause the ovaries to produce excessive amounts of androgens, and also cause the liver to produce less sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), resulting in even more free testosterone. She also notes that insulin resistance increases aromatase, which converts testosterone to estradiol, thereby setting the stage for estrogen dominance and lack of ovulation.

Genetics and Other Possible Causes

Dr. Gottfried suggests that genetics, chronic stress resulting in an excess of DHEA, and excess body fat (especially around the midsection) may all contribute to PCOS. Another possible cause is obesity, which itself typically causes insulin levels to rise. Approximately 50% of women with PCOS have excess body fat, and women with a high waist-to-hip ratio (i.e., apple-shaped figures as opposed to pear-shaped figures) are more likely to have some ovarian dysfunction.

What Goes Wrong?

When functioning normally, the hypothalamus gland acts as a control center in the brain, monitoring hormone levels and regulating the menstrual cycle. During a normal menstrual cycle, the hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which stimulates the pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). In proper proportions, these hormones act on the ovaries to start producing estrogen (mostly estradiol), and stimulate the maturation of eggs.

In a normal ovary, a single egg is released each cycle. The first follicle that ovulates releases its egg into the fallopian tube and quickly changes into the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum produces a surge of progesterone, which simultaneously puts the uterine lining in its ripening phase and turns off further ovulation. If fertilization does not occur, the ovary stops its production of both estrogen and progesterone, and the sudden decrease in the concentrations of these hormones causes the blood-rich uterine lining to slough off, resulting in menstrual bleeding.

But what happens if a follicle does not release the egg for some reason?

If the ovary is not functioning properly and the egg is not released, the follicle may become a cyst and the normal progesterone surge does not occur. The lack of progesterone is detected by the hypothalamus, which continues to try to stimulate the ovary by increasing its production of GnRH, which in turn increases the pituitary production of LH.

An increase in pituitary hormones stimulates the ovary to produce more estrogen and androgens, which stimulates even more follicles to ovulate. If these additional follicles are also unable to release an egg and produce progesterone, the menstrual cycle is dominated by increased estrogen and androgen production, without progesterone, and multiple cysts may develop.

How is PCOS Diagnosed?

Currently, there is no single test for diagnosing PCOS. Your healthcare practitioner may perform an endoscopic exam or use a diagnostic tool such as an ultrasound to determine if your ovaries are enlarged or have cysts. A diagnosis of PCOS is more likely if the ultrasound shows something similar to “a string of pearls” although the absence of this does not discount the possibility of PCOS altogether.

Hormone testing may also be used to determine hormone levels that may be indicators of PCOS, including:

  • Elevated testosterone
  • Elevated LH
  • Normal to low follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Elevated prolactin

High LH seems to be a good marker for PCOS. Dr. Gottfried also suggests that PCOS patients have their levels of progesterone, glucose, fasting insulin, and leptin checked.

During diagnosis, your healthcare practitioner will try to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms. One possibility is Cushing’s syndrome, a complex hormone condition characterized by excess cortisol that affects many areas of the body. Other potential diagnoses are disorders associated with the pituitary or adrenal glands, such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which is a genetic defect that can also lead to androgen imbalances.

What Treatments are Available?

Often PCOS has been treated with oral contraceptives, androgen suppressors, synthetic estrogens, or other drugs that block hormone production, especially the production of LH. These conventional approaches suppress the symptoms but do not address the underlying cause.  Instead of blocking hormone production, many practitioners–including Drs. John Lee, Jeffrey Dach, Jerilynn Prior, and Allen Washowsky–believe that a cyclic regimen of progesterone therapy is an obvious starting point to treating PCOS.

Dr. Lee treated his PCOS patients with a bioidentical progesterone supplement in conjunction with proper diet, adequate exercise, and stress management. He claimed that “If progesterone levels rise each month…as they are supposed to do, this maintains the normal synchronal pattern…and PCOS rarely, if ever, occurs.” (For more information, see our Connections eBook, A Lifetime of Progesterone.)

Another approach for treating PCOS is with insulin-lowering medications. For women with PCOS, it is especially important to regulate insulin production so that ovaries have a chance to function normally. Studies demonstrate a significant decline in ovarian androgen levels in PCOS patients while taking these medications.

Dr. Jason Fung proposes that the underlying mechanism of PCOS is high insulin levels or insulin resistance. Patients may find it easier to manage insulin levels by incorporating periodic fasting into their lifestyle. Dr. Fung discusses the details of various fasting plans and their potential health benefits in his book The Complete Guide to Fasting.

Insulin-based treatments work best when coupled with a healthy diet and proper exercise. Many healthcare professionals recognize that metabolic aspects influence the reproductive and dermatologic health of their patients, especially those with PCOS. For PCOS patients that are overweight, reducing their body weight by as little as 15% may significantly improve insulin sensitivity, restore ovulatory function, and reduce the effects of excess androgen.

In addition to progesterone therapy and insulin-based treatments, Dr. Gottfried believes that a holistic approach is the key to successfully treating PCOS. This approach includes lifestyle and dietary changes such as:

  • Decreasing stress by practicing yoga
  • Eating low glycemic foods
  • Eating high fiber foods (as fiber prevents recirculation of hormones from the gut as well as increases testosterone excretion)
  • Omitting sugar
  • Avoiding dairy products
  • Eating more protein
  • Using more omega-3 oils
  • Supplementing with zinc and vitamin D

Studies of a supplement called D-chiro-inositol (DCI) have yielded promising results in the treatment of PCOS. Inositol is a nutrient found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and is known to affect nerve function. Because it is based on inositol, DCI may play a role in the cellular function that mediates the action of insulin.

A similar nutrient to DCI is myo-inositol. A study conducted by Dr. Alfonsa Pizzo et al. compared the two in women with PCOS, and found that “myo-inositol showed the most marked effect on the metabolic profile, whereas D-chiro-inositol reduced hyperandrogenism better.” Therefore, while DCI may help PCOS symptoms related to the metabolic hormone insulin, other symptoms related to the androgenic hormone testosterone may be better regulated by myo-inositol.

PCOS in Men

There are different theories as to the cause of PCOS, and not all of them involve the ovaries. While PCOS is practically an epidemic in women, there is evidence that similar imbalances manifest in young men. According to Dr. Matthew Cavaiola, if PCOS is not caused by a defect in the ovaries, men can also suffer from this condition. Symptoms of PCOS in men include:

  • Early onset of male pattern baldness
  • Excessive body hair
  • High levels of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • These symptoms are often considered normal or inevitable body changes, but as with women, PCOS in men serves as a clue that their health is compromised. Even if PCOS symptoms are not severe, they may indicate more serious underlying conditions or health concerns. For instance, men with PCOS have an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


During the midlife changes of perimenopause, menopause, and andropause, we pay attention to the hormonal decline and how it negatively affects health and wellbeing. However, the prevalence of PCOS in young men and women is evidence that hormone imbalances can occur at any age. Fortunately, solutions are available to prevent PCOS from becoming an inevitable or lifelong condition.

While there is currently no cure for PCOS, there are several measures that can be taken to prevent or curtail its effects, starting with:

  • Adopting healthy lifestyle habits including eating, exercise, and sleeping habits
  • Addressing health concerns that may contribute to PCOS, such as reducing stress
  • Monitoring and documenting any changes in appearance (especially skin and hair), as well as any unexplained weight gain or menstrual irregularities
  • Speaking with healthcare practitioners about symptoms that might be related to PCOS

We have much to learn about PCOS, what causes it, and how to treat it. As men and women become aware of the symptoms—and bring those concerns to their doctors and other healthcare practitioners—the medical profession will continue increasing its understanding of PCOS. In the meantime, it’s possible for patients to become more proactive about their health.


Connections is a publication of Women’s International Pharmacy, which is dedicated to the education and management of PMS, menopause, infertility, postpartum depression, and other hormone-related conditions and therapies.

This publication is distributed with the understanding that it does not constitute medical advice for individual problems. Although this material is intended to be accurate, proper medical advice should be sought from a competent healthcare professional.

Publisher: Constance Kindschi Hegerfeld, Executive VP, Women’s International Pharmacy
Co-Editors: Michelle Violi, PharmD., Tami Haas and Laura Strommen; Women’s International Pharmacy
Writer: Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP; Women’s International Pharmacy
Illustrator: Amelia Janes, Midwest Educational Graphics

Copyright © Women’s International Pharmacy. This newsletter may be printed and photocopied for educational purposes, provided that your copy(s) include full copyright and contact information.



I post this article because PCOS-like symptoms were my first symptoms of Lyme/MSIDS:

While I was never diagnosed with PCOS it demonstrates that Lyme can go anywhere in the body and cause symptoms.

Scheduled to undergo surgery for an epigastric hernia, a MRI showed 2 deflating cysts. The pain was unbelievable, that I suffered with for months.  After this, my knee swelled up twice it’s normal size, was red and hot to the touch, and I developed a fever in the middle of January in Wisconsin along with seeing flashing lights along with heart palpitations, and other bizarre symptoms. I was told by the doctor I had “washer woman’s knees” from washing floors.  Problem is I use a bucket and mop….it also doesn’t explain the accompanying fever.  

I’m convinced I never got Lyme/MSIDS from a tick bite but directly from my husband. Initial symptoms all originated in the pelvic region and metastasized from there.

Since the CDC states outright Lyme is not a STD, little to no work has been done in this area to the demise of patients.

For more:

Key Quote: “The presence of live spirochetes in a genital lesion strongly suggests that sexual transmission of Lyme disease occurs,” said Middelveen. “We need to do more research to determine the risk of sexual transmission of this syphilis-like organism.”


Florida Wildlife Officer With Lyme Disease Opens Up About Living With Tick-borne Illness

Florida wildlife officer with Lyme disease opens up about living with tick-borne illness

When it comes to living with Lyme disease, an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wasn’t afraid to be candid about how the tick-borne illness —  which he says he contracted while on the job —  has affected him.

Officer Lee Lawshe recently told local news station News4Jax about the disease he said changed his life forever.

The wildlife officer said he lived with the illness for years before he was formally diagnosed with the disease, which is primarily caused by two types of bacteria —  Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii — in the U.S., specifically, according to the Mayo Clinic. Lawshe received the diagnosis in 2018.

He told the news station he will live with the disease for the rest of his life due to the length of time it took to receive an official diagnosis. (Some patients who contract the disease may at first receive a negative blood test for Lyme disease, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)


Though Lawshe told News4Jax he takes medication for the disease, there are days where he has trouble getting out of bed. Last year, he had to take half a year off of work due to the severity of his symptoms.

“It’s really just turned our lives upside down,” Lawshe told the outlet. “I used to do whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to.”

Lawshe spends a lot of time outdoors for his job. Some days, he will come home with numerous ticks on his body.

“I’ll go in the woods and pull 100 ticks off me. My wife sits and picks [ticks] off, 40 or 50 at a time. Do I get them all? Maybe, maybe not,” he said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, those who spend time in “grassy and heavily wooded areas” are more likely to contract Lyme disease, which is curable with antibiotics, especially if caught early.

“Most patients who are treated in later stages of the disease also respond well to antibiotics, although some may have suffered long-term damage to the nervous system or joints,” the CDC added.

Early symptoms of the disease include a rash at the infected tick bite site as well as fever, chills, fatigue, headache, body ache and other flu-like symptoms, per the Mayo Clinic.

Those with Lyme disease may also later develop a rash on other areas of the body, joint pain and even neurological problems such as meningitis and numbness in the limbs. Some infected can also experience severe fatigue and eye inflammation, according to the medical facility.

In a statement to News4Jax, the FWS said it’s taking “all preventative measures including the use of enhanced repellants.”

“We stand behind our employees and will do anything we can to support them and ensure their well-being,” it added.

The presentations of Lyme symptoms are wide and variable – with many never getting a rash at all.  It does not take 36-48 hours of tick attachment to get Lyme:
Lyme is everywhere and and has been found in every single state. Telling people where Lyme is and where it isn’t has been killing people for over 40 years:
It is true that working outdoors increases your risk as well as having pets that go outdoors.  Prevention needs to be taken as seriously as a heart-attack. 
And while ticks are certainly a big part of this issue, many feel there are other routes of transmission:

Death of Hampton Man With Rare Tick-borne Virus Probed

Please read comment below article….Powassan is not rare.

Death of Hampton man with rare tick-borne virus probed

Submitted photo – Armand Desormeaux, of Hampton, right, is seen with his daughter, Dianne Rude, in a June 2018 photo. Desormeaux had tested positive for the rare tick-borne Powassan virus. He died May 16, and the cause of death has yet to be determined.


By New Jersey Herald

Posted: Jun. 9, 2019
An investigation by the Sussex County Division of Health is underway after two cases of the rare tick-borne Powassan virus were confirmed in Sussex County this week.

One of those persons who tested positive for the virus died in May, according to officials, but the immediate cause of death has yet to be determined.

Should it be confirmed that the cause of death was the virus, it would be the first death in Sussex County and only the second confirmed fatality due to the virus in the state, according to Donna Leusner, spokesperson for the state Department of Health. It would also be only the 10th confirmed death in the United States since 2008, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The second individual confirmed to have Powassan in Sussex County is recovering at home, Leusner said.

While officials declined to disclose the names, ages or hometowns of the patients due to privacy concerns, on Friday, Dianne (Desormeaux) Rude told the New Jersey Herald she received confirmation on Monday that her father, Armand Desormeaux, 80, of Hampton, was one of those confirmed Powassan cases in Sussex County. Desormeaux passed away on May 16 at Newton Medical Center.

Rude said her father’s infectious disease doctor confirmed the diagnosis on Monday following testing done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Rude, her father, while he suffered with several medical issues over the years, was quite active up until May 6, when he began running a high fever.

Rude, who lives next door to her father on Halsey Road, took Desormeaux to the hospital, where he was checked out and released, she said. Within 12 hours, Rude said, her father’s health quickly deteriorated and he was taken by ambulance back to Newton Medical Center.

“He was having seizures, shaking uncontrollably,” Rude said.

Suspecting possible Lyme disease, Rude said her father remembered being bit by a tick around April 15 while he was gardening, but had removed it himself and didn’t think much of it because it didn’t form a rash.

Rude said her father was suffering with tremors, violently shaking, unable to verbalize and started losing the ability to move his limbs. While her father had previously been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a progressive lung disease, Rude said his symptoms made sense when she received the call Monday that he had the tick-borne disease.

The Powassan virus, named after the Ontario community where it was first discovered in 1958, is spread through the bite of an infected black-legged, or deer, tick, which caries Lyme disease, or the woodchuck tick, according to a press release sent to the New Jersey Herald from the Sussex County Department of Health.

While some people do not develop any symptoms, others may develop symptoms one week to one month after being bitten. Symptoms include fever; headache; swelling of the brain, also called encephalitis; swelling of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, also known as meningitis; vomiting; weakness; seizures; fever with stiff neck; limb weakness; confusion; loss of coordination; trouble speaking; and memory loss, according to the county health department.

Those with other medical conditions are at a higher risk of developing complications from the virus. Several clinical reports indicate the virus is fatal in about 10% to 15% of cases. For the survivors, about half will suffer with permanent neurological symptoms, such as paralysis, cognitive difficulties and muscle wasting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states.

Rude, who posted about her father’s diagnosis on Facebook initially to friends only, said she didn’t expect to get much attention from it. But after her friends shared her post on public forums, Rude said she is glad to be “opening up a world of conversation” about a tick-borne illness that isn’t Lyme disease, which is the most commonly known.

While she continues to mourn the loss of her father, a U.S. Marine who worked as a custodian at Frankford Elementary School until his retirement in 2007, Rude believes that telling others of her father’s diagnosis could prevent others from being infected.

“Spray your yards, Frontline your animals and check yourself for ticks,” she said.

Frontline is a flea and tick protection product.

The Powassan virus is so uncommon that just one other person — a 51-year-old Warren County woman in 2013 — has died from the virus in New Jersey. Since 2013, there have only been 10 confirmed cases in the state, including the two confirmed this week in Sussex County, according to Leusner.

Nationally, there have been about 75 cases of Powassan virus reported in the past 10 years, most of the cases in the northern woodlands of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New York.

There is no medicine or vaccine to cure or treat the virus, but there are several ways to reduce the risk of getting the virus.

When headed outdoors, avoid contact with ticks by steering clear of wooded areas with tall grass, stick to hiking in the center of a trail and apply insect repellent to clothes and gear with permethrin, a substance that incapacitates ticks and prevents them from biting. Wear long-sleeved shirts and light-colored clothes to be able to see ticks, and tuck long pants into socks. Check the body for ticks, and if one is found, remove it immediately.

It is important to seek medical attention if symptoms develop.

For more information about Powassan, visit the state Department of Health website at and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

Lori Comstock can also be reached on Twitter: @LoriComstockNJH, on Facebook: or by phone: 973-383-1194.



Powassan is NOT rare.  Please read the following excerpt by Coppe Lab here in Wisconsin,

For the last two years, Coppe Laboratories has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to dispelling the myth that infection with Powassan virus, a virus transmitted by tick bite, is rare. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reports only 100 cases of Powassan virus infection in the United States in the last 10 years. Indeed, that statistic gives the illusion that Powassan infection is rare. However, did you know that the only infections reported to CDC are those that are life-threatening, particularly cases causing severe inflammation of the brain like the case reported in LiveScience? Coppe has published three new papers in the last year that clearly show Powassan virus infection is not rare are at all, and until testing for this virus is included as part of tick-borne disease screening panels infections will continue to be underreported. Coppe’s Powassan Guide, which can be downloaded from the website, summarizes the findings from both tick and human Powassan prevalence studies, as well as defining the patient populations that would benefit most from Powassan testing.

Coppe Laboratories offers the first commercial panel designed to detect exposure to Powassan virus throughout all stages of infection.

Powassan can be transmitted in 15 minutes, so all the comforting words by the CDC on the emphasis that transmission of Lyme takes anywhere from 24-72 hours falls flat regarding Powassan. Also, to my knowledge, no work has been done on transmission time when multiple pathogens are being transmitted concurrently, or what happens when a person perhaps gets bitten, obtains Powassan but doesn’t have symptoms, and then in the future gets another tick bite and perhaps gets Lyme with that one. Does that second bite activate a latent virus infection with Powassan?

These questions have never been broached by the CDC.

The news article states, the virus can be worse in those with “other medical conditions.”  

Nobody really has a clue what a concurrent infection with Powassan looks like, but I would label that another medical condition. What if someone has Powassan and Lyme?  Or, in my case, what if you have Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, and then Powassan on top of that?

This is the fly in the ointment that current research is NOT addressing.

In this article Coppe Lab, right here in Wisconsin has uncovered some interesting findings:  A study completed in May, 2016 of 106 patients with suspected acute tick borne disease showed 10.4 % had Powassan.  Nearly 17% of the patients with positive Lyme results also tested positive for POWV exposure. The authors concluded,

“Infection with POWV may be underdiagnosed and may contribute to the persistent symptoms often associated with Lyme disease diagnosis.”16

They postulate:

In both studies, the percentage of Lyme patients co-infected with POWV was about 17%, coinciding with the 10 – 20% of patients treated for Lyme that develop lingering symptoms attributed to post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.

One thing’s for sure.  The CDC is not getting the memo because every single article I read on Powassan calls it “rare.”  

Question to ponder:  How many have to die before something is no longer rare?