Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Are You Just Tired Or Is It A Parasite?

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is the most common name used to specify a medical disorder, or group of disorders, generally defined by persistent fatigue accompanied by other specific symptoms for a minimum of six months, not due to ongoing exertion, not substantially relieved by rest, nor caused by other medical conditions.

Symptoms include post-exertional malaise (feeling dissatisfied after exercise), unrefreshing sleep, widespread muscle and joint pain, sore throat, cognitive difficulties, chronic (often severe) mental and physical exhaustion, and other characteristic symptoms in a previously healthy and active person. These symptoms may include muscle weakness, increased sensitivity to light, sounds and smells, orthostatic intolerance, digestive disturbances, depression, cardiac, and respiratory problems.

It is estimated that 1 million Americans are affected by CFS.  In Western medicine there is no real effective treatment for CFS, it is simply considered ”managed“.

In Chinese medicine there are many causes of fatigue, and chronic fatigue cases are usually treated very well. The only difficulty I have found clinically is when the patient is suffering from an amoebic infection. For this problem I have found western anti-protozoic drugs, in combination with Chinese medicine, to be the most effective treatment. Western anti-protozoic drugs are needed to kill the pathogen and Chinese medicine is needed to bring the patient’s vitality back to normal. The drugs alone can kill the amoeba, but the patient could still be tired for up to one year, especially if they have had the infection for an extended period of time.

Researchers estimate that around 50 million people worldwide are infected with amebiasis. Amebiasis is the infection of one or more parasites known as amoebas. In the United States, the most common form of this type of infection is called Giardia. This protozoa proliferates in our rivers and lakes. It is carried by wild animals and when they defecate in our waterways the amoebas then live in those waterways. If a human drinks infected water, they run a high risk of being infected with the amoeba. Washington State waterways are known to have Giardia in them.

The foreign version of Giardia is called Entamoeba Histolytica. This amoeba proliferates in South and Central America, including Mexico. It also is found extensively in the Indian subcontinent, Asia, and Africa. I have personally traveled in most of these areas and have found myself infected a total of nine times. The first time was in India in 1969 and it took several days in the Tropical Disease Hospital in London to find the parasite. I felt terribly tired and had slight bowel problems.

Through a course of drugs I recovered nicely. Over the course of the last 40 years I have had 8 other infections, and by personal experience have learned a great deal about the disease. In Chinese Medical School I wrote my Master thesis on Amebiasis, and in a clinical setting I have treated over 300 people with amoebic infections.

The biggest problem with this disease is testing for it. The standard protocol is to conduct stool testing, but this method very often gives what we call false negatives. In other words, the stool test tells you that you are not infected; but in actuality you can be loaded with the parasite. Why is this so? Because amoebas do not live in our stools. They live in the mucoid of the small or large intestine. They do slough off into the stool occasionally, but when they do they ball up and form cysts. When the lab technician looks at the stool through a microscope, they very often miss them because these cysts look exactly like dead white blood cells.

The best protocol is to use a sigmoid tube, which is inserted into the rectum. It uses a small filament within the tube to take a fresh sample of the mucoid of the upper rectum and lower bowel.  This works great, as you can look at the mucoid directly with a microscope. If an infection is present, it will be clearly visible.

The major problem that I see, is that in 40 years of advising friends and patients about this disease, I have found only one doctor in America who knows and uses this testing procedure. His name is Dr. Kevin Cahill, and he practices in New York City.  Dr. Cahill and I have become friends over the years and I have sent him over 200 patients for testing. To date I have only been wrong 5 times. Not a bad track record.

Dr. Cahill has an impeccable resume. He has been the personal physician to more than one president. He has written 34 books on internal, parasitic, and humanitarian medicine. He also holds honorary Ph.Ds from numerous Ivy League schools for his medical contributions to third world countries. I once asked him to fax me his resume and it literally jammed up my fax machine it was so long. Dr. Cahill was instrumental in teaching me everything I know about parasitology. Dr. Cahill served as the chief medical advisor to the UN for a number of years, and today any doctor working for the UN in the field is required to take Dr. Cahill’s parasitology course at the University of Dublin.

Whenever a patient comes to me with a complaint of chronic fatigue I immediately investigate which countries they have traveled to, as well as get a history of their camping experiences in the United States. If the patient has traveled in infested countries, or if they have done a lot of camping and swimming in Washington lakes or streams, then I begin to suspect a protozoic infection. This is especially true when the patient has been to multiple doctors, has undergone many tests, and has been labeled with undiagnosed, etiology unknown, or chronic fatigue.

I can assure you that the number one test that was overlooked with these patients is the test for an amoebic infection.  Why is this so?  Because doctors in the United States are clearly deficient in their understanding of parasitic infections.  They most likely spent maybe one day on the topic in medical school, and subsequently it is not usually on their radar screen. They are more apt to look for Lyme’s disease or Lupus than they are a simple amoebic infection.

The biggest problem is that doctors associate amoebic infections with bowel issues, such as chronic diarrhoea or abdominal pain. What they don’t understand is that the major symptom of this disease is not bowel issues, but cyclical chronic fatigue. The patient will feel ok for a day or two and then feel totally exhausted for a few days. And this pattern keeps repeating itself.

For those of you who have this type of complaint, or who know someone who does and their doctor has failed to find the cause of the chronic fatigue, then please consider this diagnosis, and call the clinic today to schedule an appointment.

 

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