Mainstream medicine is extremely unwilling to recognise M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as most often a gut condition. This begs the question, why? I come to this subject with experience of M.E. myself and a long struggle to find the cause of the symptoms. I contribute to forums and try to support friends who have this chronic illness...and have been delighted to see many people find ways to manage their illness and many to be near enough "cured" (please see notes below).
In this blog though, I want to think about both the causes of M.E. and the long-standing medical abuse of patients with this illness. I also, in my inimitable fashion (!), want to look at the psychological factors that place M.E. sufferers in a place somewhere between the legitimacy of a physical illness and the disrespect of a psychological one. Let`s ask what it really means to have a physical illness that is still in the dark ages of medical recognition and treatment, and why there should be a medical establishment blunt-headedness that prevents proper research into the real causes of M.E.
As usual, I am very much interested in how our social groups, with their inbuilt survival mechanisms, figure in the status, and consequent treatment, of an illness, and if it all sounds a bit too intellectual to be worth much to those who suffer, I would argue that it is only when we see the bigger picture can we understand and maybe, just maybe, influence the medical profession to change.Much of this will be in the second part of this blog.
Okay, so here goes:
Firstly, why should doctors be happy to shunt off people with M.E into a place where their symptoms aren`t recognised as a gut disorder? Well, funny things happen where there is guilt involved, and judging by just how many folks come down with M.E after taking a antibiotic, there is ample reason for doctors to avoid any attribution to gut issues. Still further, when one goes to one of an increasing number of physicians, usually outside the N.H.S., the question they ask is, "how many antibiotics have you taken?" The reason why many doctors believe that M.E. is a gut disorder, or more precisely, a gut dysbiosis, is that antibiotics can knock out the good flora in our guts, allowing the proliferation of harmful flora that take over, damage the gut lining and produce a whole range of symptoms from fatigue to allergies, to the neurological. In very simple terms, when a gut dysbiosis is caused, toxins are produced that leak out of a damaged gut wall into the bloodstream.
Of course antibiotic triggers for M.E. are direct cause and effect indicators of exactly what is underlying Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but the history of the patient, too, can make them at greater risk from antibiotic use.
You will notice, above, that I said that antibiotics can knock out good gut flora..Well,the reason that some people can go on taking antibiotics till the cows come home with no apparent ill effect, is that the consequence of taking this drug is dependent upon what sort of state our gut (and our general health) is in when we take it..... It`s rather like the case that most babies don`t get allergies or eczema or autism after vaccinations, most are fine, but an infant who has compromised gut flora at the time of vaccination is at greater risk. It is not really so arbitrary as we might imagine.
This latter example also bears relevance to what happens to some people`s health after taking antibiotics, namely that the symptoms they exhibit, in babies asthma, for example, is manifested damage to gut flora. Babies inherit flora from their parents, so a baby with good flora will be less susceptible to vaccinations compared to a baby who has not such good flora at the time of vaccination. But let`s also be aware that babies are future parents, who in their turn pass on their flora to their own children, and a baby with compromised flora will likely pass on that gut ecology to their offspring.
In the end, babies struggling with allergies or A.D.H.D. or any gut-related condition, will carry a less that adequate gut flora into their adulthood and will, therefore, be at greater risk from antibiotics than the greater population.
To be continued..........................
N.B. For those of you with C.F.S., please check out the Specific Carbohydrate diet, S.C.D.
and Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride`s treatment protocol.
Parents with concerns about A.D.H.D.or autism please see: