Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What is Herxing?

I have had a couple of people ask me this week what "herxing" is.  I sometimes forget that not everyone is familiar with Lyme Disease terms...or ME/CFS terms for that matter.  I have started a list to the right and will add to it when necessary.

Herxing is the short term for Jarish-Herxheimer Reactions which occur when there is die-off of Lyme or co-infections bacteria(spirochetes), causing the bugs to give off toxins and the immune system to over-react.    I have heard a doctor describe it as "though a bomb drops on the spirochete blowing it into 10 pieces".  Suddenly the body has to fight ten times as hard to eliminate it.  An increase in symptoms or new symptoms appear.   Often the die-off is more disabling than the disease itself until the level of bacteria decreases in your body.  Some people herx all the time they are treating Lyme, others only during reproduction times.

***Both Sue ( Learning To Live With CFS) and Joanne(Looking At Lyme )let me know that people with ME/CFS who go on anti-virals for such viruses as XMRV also experience herxing!  People with candida/yeast die off also experience herxing. 

Any other questions please let me know and I will try to answer them.


Elaine said...


Thanks so much for the great info! I was so unsure, but was making guesses... never a good thing to do with all this.

Hope and pray things are going well for you.

God Bless,

Sue Jackson said...

Good idea, Renee - we tend to forget not everyone is familiar with the lingo.

I believe herxing is not limited to just Lyme and co-infections - people with CFS who have high viral counts and go on anti-virals also experience herx reactions.

Struggling right now with changes in Jamie's Lyme treatment and symptoms - so hard to know what it the right thing to do!


Joanne said...

Hi Renee sorry I haven't stopped by recently but just happened to notice this post and as I was listening to the Presentations today from Annette Whittemore and Judy Mikovits and interestingly they mention last video Judy talking about treatments that with ME/CFS patients on anti retroviral treatments that they also experience a herx.

Also interesting that they keep finding similar pathways with Lyme and XMRV and also the small study of 65 Chronic Lyme patients who were all found to have XMRV a higher incidence than in ME/CFS patients!!
I just posted the link on my blog.

Renee said...

You are welcome, Elaine...I am praying for you and Rob too. How is he doing now?

Renee said...

Hi Sue
I also added what you and Joanne both shared about herxing with anti-virals.
What is going on with Jamie's change of treatment and symptoms??? Is he on new meds now? Bart is so nasty.

Renee said...

Hi Joanne
You are always keeping us informed and I love that. I did add a bit on the herxing with antivirals to my post after both and Sue mentioned it....THanks for the info!

Bella Scarlett said...

No disease, surgery, accident, etc. ever compared to the herx I had from the die-off of Bb bacteria that had gotten into my brain and central nervous system. It was like a complete psychotic breakdown that fortunately lasted less than one hour each time. I thought I would (and wanted to) die!

Hope your treatments are going well and the herxes are not too difficult.

PJ said...

Great explanation - thanks for posting!

Joanne said...

Hi Again
just saw this link on Eurolyme and thought I'd share with this post

Renee said...

Hi Bella Scarlet
Herxing can be awful can't it! Thanks for coming by to comment...

Renee said...

Hi PJ !!!! Thanks..

Renee said...

Thanks Joanne!

Mountain Blessings said...

Hi Renee, Can I ask a question? I have had ME/CFS since 99, and more probably before that. I also am positive for Epstein Barr. I have not been tested for lyme, but wonder. My question is, I have a new symptoms, my scalp and my feet (tops, sides and bottom) feel like they are horribly bruised. It is agony just combing my hair, it is that painfull, and my feet feel like walking on bruises, I can't wear my birkenstocks because of the pain of anywhere my shoes touch my feet. Ever hear of such a thing? I am seeing my doc on Monday and will bring it up to him. Thanks in advance for any insight you may have. Blessings, Marla