Author's BioMy name is Chris Gregerson and I live outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
This site began in March of 1998 to share what I read in the medical literature on the gastrointestinal microflora and probiotic bacteria. I have been following this subject since 1995, and I think damaged GI microflora might be responsible for unexplained GI symptoms and systemic symptoms, such as fatigue. I've suffered from these symptoms since since taking tetracycline for a year in 1987. Probiotics, anti-candida medication, and avoiding sugar have been the only things that have helped.
I gradually developed severe fatigue and GI symptoms at age 18 while taking the antibiotic tetracycline for a year. It interfered with my schoolwork until I was no longer in school at all (I had been a "A" student). This led to a period of depression, while there was no conventional medial diagnosis (I was told my GI symptoms and fatigue were depression-related, although they began a year earlier).
The depression abated after 18 months, but the GI symptoms and disabling fatigue remained. Several physicians (including gastroenterologists) told me there was no medical explanation for my symptoms. I struggled to survive financially, with no idea what was wrong with me. After being sick for four years, I began to explore alternative medicine and "fringe" diagnoses such as unusual allergies.
Eventually, in 1992, I discovered that the anti-candida medication "Nystatin" significantly improved my heartburn and fatigue. This was the only medical intervention in four years to have a measurable benefit, and it continues to be effective for me today. I also found the elimination of sugar from my diet was extremely helpful. This empirical treatment result, combined with my symptoms and history, matched the description of candida-related complex (especially the fact my symptoms started after I took tetracycline, known to cause an increase in candida in the gastrointestinal tract).
My illness appears to be caused by overgrowth of candida in the GI tract, described as "chronic candida" or Candida-Related Complex (CRC). This syndrome has not been scientifically defined, and thus has no official diagnostic criteria. There has been one successful clinical trial confirming the existence of this syndrome 1.
Unfortunately, it was too late for my illness to be reversed by Nystatin and diet (I tried the prescription antifungal Diflucan, too, but it did not help). I also tried a large selection of supplements, such as caprylic acid, garlic, and probiotics, but they made a trivial difference in my symptoms at best.
Around 1994, I began reading medical literature about the gastrointestinal microflora and probiotic bacteria. I sought out probiotics which showed possible benefits in the medical literature, experimenting with dozens of probiotic strains. I found one to be significantly helpful, Lactobacillus GG. It reduced my fatigue, which is consistent with the medical research showing it helps helps reverse intestinal permeability.
Today, I remain ill and extremely limited by the fatigue this illness causes. I have been this way from 1987 to the present, over half my life. I find coping with the illness psychologicaly, emotionally, and financially to be as difficult as the symptoms themselves:
- the frustration and dissapointment of not being able to accomplish what you want
- the financial hardship of having an extremely limited ability to work in conventional employment
- doctors refusing to provide treatment because the illness is not officially recognized
- Other people unable to understand your illness, which has no visually observable symptoms
I have continued to try any probiotic which has medical research behind it, but not yet found another one which is beneficial for me. I recently tried Daktarin oral miconazole gel, but didn't experience a significant benefit. I have not yet tried Sporanox or Nizoral, party because I am unable to get them prescribed.
On the plus side, while I still struggle with the above symptoms daily, I have a beautiful wife and child, and I believe research being done on intestinal permeability and probiotics might lead to a treatment someday.
My own medical evaluations
Several endoscopies have shown I have esophagitis and gastritis. Around 1995, I requested a workup for malabsorption which showed I had a serum B12 deficiency, mild fat malabsorption (based upon quantitative fecal fat), and mild carbohydrate malabsorption (based upon a D-xylose test).
There is no conventional medical diagnosis for these abnormal test results. Possible explanations like celiac sprue, giardia, hypothyroidism have been ruled out. The symptoms of malabsorption and positive tests for the same have been dismissed by one doctor as a "coincidence" with no underlying medical cause.
My subjective symptoms, like fatigue, for which there is no medical test, were on occasion diagnosed as undifferentiated somatoform disorder, a psychiatric diagnosis based on the absence of a conventional medical diagnosis. This assumes that medicine is both a complete science (all medical disorders are already known and discovered), and practitioners never miss a diagnosis. In truth the FDA reports that we don't know all of the adverse drug reactions to drugs currently on the market, and my illness appears to be an adverse reaction to the tetracyline I was taking.
I know of other people with a history similar to the above, with the key features being identical. I would like to see epidemiological research done to establish what appears to be a unique pattern of symptoms.
- Santelmann H, et.al. "Effectiveness of nystatin in polysymptomatic patients. A randomized, double-blind trial with nystatin versus placebo in general practice." Fam Pract. 2001 Jun; 18(3):258-65.
This page last modified 2023-04-28