Post-Treatment Dysbiosis/Hormonal Issues Willing to Share

Hi all. I'm here as someone "post health issue" willing to share/talk with people who are currently going through stuff, maybe to help you feel like it'll be OK.

The past two years of my life were spent suffering from, getting diagnosed with, and having treatment for adrenal fatigue (a hormonal issue) and gut dysbiosis (Google it, sorry for nastiness). All of this brought about huge changes in my skin and hair, along with the over-arching health problems. I was really sad with my hair and skin for a long time, most especially during my recent treatment - even though it made me feel TONS better all-around. At the worst, I had teenager-in-a-movie type breakouts over basically my entire head: neck, face, scalp, and even inside my ears. My hair kind of stuck down flat to my head, and even had a bit of a weird green tint (I'm a natural brunette with auburn tones).

I'm back to better skin and hair, and so I thought I'd offer myself as a resource for people who are still having the "Will I ever look OK again?!" feeling (quick answer: yes, you will, but you might look a bit different than you did). I'm also willing to share what worked for me, but obviously the same things don't work for everyone.

Also available for rants. Lord knows I've had enough of them myself in the past two years!
I sort of blog
I'm mostly away doing field work through mid-May.

Hair: curlybob, fine, dense, low-po, big waves/ringlets (2C/3A)
Co-Wash: Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner
RO: YTC Carrot, Aubrey Organics GPB
LI: BS Shea Soft Styling Cream (HG)
Styling: KCCC, Garnier P&C Gel
1xWeek: low-poo, gelatin PT or Joico K-Pak
Hair Likes: aloe, coconut oil, humidity, protein, long walks on the beach
Ugh, bosanbo, I have almost the same exact story, but I'm not quite out the other side yet.

My hair, naturally brunette, fell out/broke off in clumps, came back white, then red, then brown, and now going (more slowly this time, thank heavens) back to white. It also got wavy, go figure. It doesn't look nearly as nasty as it did in the worst of my illness, when I had extreme thinning accompanied by red and white 'baby hairs' sticking up all over.

Did your curl pattern change?

I would be curious to know what treatments you did for the dysbiosis--I've tried almost everything without much success. Please PM me if you're comfortable sharing.
2a/2b, fine and thin
new wavy!

currently using:
cleansing: BS/ACV rinse weekly
PT: Gelatin PT
Conditioner: Desert Essences fragrance-free
Styling: LOTD Aloe
Heck, I'll share in the open. I'm a science gal and I'm not uncomfortable talking about this stuff. I think health is very important, so if my experience helps you or any random bystander, yay for that.

The baby hairs are so annoying! I know it's a good sign, because hair I lost is growing back, but it does a good job of looking broken/frizzy sometimes. The curl pattern changed repeatedly: limp and straight for about a week, then limp waves, and now it is headed back up into curls. I lost all curl back in maybe February of this year, so it can return very quickly. The same goes for the healthy look... I thought I would have to grow a whole new head of hair before it looked right again, but that wasn't the case. There are weak points in my hair and nails, though, as they have grown out during times of health stress. I notice it more in my nails, because in the past they have broken quite suddenly along a much weaker band of growth. I try to operate as if the same happened to my hair, and not treat it roughly.

My hair didn't change color, but a friend of mine with a stronger hormonal issue had her hair grow back in almost colorless. I think she looks like a fairy princess. She uses it as an excuse to dye it wild colors, since it takes them really, really well now. Last I saw, her hair was auburn with hot pink roots, and it looked amazing!

I saw a PCP and an integrative physician concurrently. The PCP diagnosed me, then defered to the IP for further testing/treatment (I guess hormonal stuff is regulated oddly in my state, so it was easier to do it through the IP). My IP, who is really cool, gave me a lot of tests of exactly the kind you'd suspect getting when having gut issues. 'Nuff said. The cultures returned pathogenic growth of a bacteria and a fungus, both, along with testing indicating their resistance/susceptibility. She chose treatment based on that, and we opted to avoid any antibiotics because A) that would worsen the issue and B) one of the non-antibiotic treatments rated just as effective.

I did a course of an antifungal for four weeks. I had extreme die-off symptoms - essentially a hangover combined with World's Angriest Skin. That got better over the four weeks. By the end of four weeks I felt pretty awesome, and in fact I felt better, faster, than I ever thought I would. I took one week off, then took the antibacterial treatment which... you know, it wasn't awesome. I didn't have as extreme a reaction, but I smelled like salad everywhere and in every way because of the high plant oil content! You name it, if it was on me or came from me, it reeked like Italian Herb Mix or something. It upset my stomach a lot, too. I did that for two weeks.

During this whole time I was also taking glutamine, which tastes like crap, to repair my gut (I really think this contributed to my skin and hair healing quickly), a high dose of Omega 3/6/9, and a high dose probiotic on a tight opposing schedule to the antibacterial/antifungal (to avoid killing the new, good bacteria).

It was exhausting. I had to make a spreadsheet, and I called my IP pretty much every day. The total treatment took about two months, and I did feel worse before I felt better - but it was pretty fast. My fatigue and muscle problems ended after about two weeks, which was phenomenal.

I want to stress that all of this was very much decided and coordinated by my doctors, not me. This was a pretty delicate process, and I'd hate to seem to suggest that anyone do it alone without the right information.

I do strongly believe in fermented foods and prebiotic foods now, though. I work in the sciences, including food studies and human evolution, and even after all my years of knowing about the gut, understanding gut flora, and reading about this kind of thing, I still severely underestimated how much a healthy gut makes you feel healthy all over. So I try to stay away from things that will harm my little buddies, and feed them the stuff they like. Fortunately I was already a big fan of kombucha, kefir, yogurt, miso, and the like. I can't eat kimchi, but I'm learning to make sauerkraut. I try to eat fermented foods daily now, as well as prebiotics (mostly foods containing natural inulin, which the bacteria like to chow down on) like artichokes, asparagus, and cabbage. I'm also still currently taking the high dose probiotic. I own a juicer so I try to drink veggie juice, which again, I'm fortunate enough to enjoy already. I know some people don't like straight veggie juice.

I try to avoid white flour products, processed food, sugar, and especially artificial fiber and inulin that has been extracted and added back in to a product. For some reason that last one REALLY messes me up. I will also know, in the future, to talk to a doctor before taking a course of antibiotics, to ensure that it is the best treatment at the time, and to follow it up with a probiotic regimin with the doctor's help.

I hope this helps, and I'm always up for answering questions. And again, please don't take me as a doctor, I'm very much not! I like doctors and feel that finding one you can talk to really benefits your health. I knew my doctor(s) were the one(s) for me when they weren't bothered by my random "is this related to that?" questions. I firmly believe in holistic health and treating the entire body as a functioning, integrated system.
I sort of blog
I'm mostly away doing field work through mid-May.

Hair: curlybob, fine, dense, low-po, big waves/ringlets (2C/3A)
Co-Wash: Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner
RO: YTC Carrot, Aubrey Organics GPB
LI: BS Shea Soft Styling Cream (HG)
Styling: KCCC, Garnier P&C Gel
1xWeek: low-poo, gelatin PT or Joico K-Pak
Hair Likes: aloe, coconut oil, humidity, protein, long walks on the beach
I also found this podcast episode very informative. I was already a fan of Radio Lab, and just so happened to listen to this right before starting my treatment. My brain went... "OH!" It's the section on the swimming mice, but the whole episode is also pretty cool. Mmm, guts.
I sort of blog
I'm mostly away doing field work through mid-May.

Hair: curlybob, fine, dense, low-po, big waves/ringlets (2C/3A)
Co-Wash: Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner
RO: YTC Carrot, Aubrey Organics GPB
LI: BS Shea Soft Styling Cream (HG)
Styling: KCCC, Garnier P&C Gel
1xWeek: low-poo, gelatin PT or Joico K-Pak
Hair Likes: aloe, coconut oil, humidity, protein, long walks on the beach
Super cool, thanks for sharing, bosanbo!

I work in the sciences too, and have been "enjoying" various iterations of all kinds of treatments for about 7 years now.

I seem to have an extremely intractable gut biome issue--multiple rounds of antifungal/antibacterial treatments along with literally years of high-test probiotics have had minimal impact on the overall results of various...cultures. My doc calls it playing "whack-a-mole" with the bad bugs. So I'm always on the lookout for something that can help that little bit more.

One of my major problems is that because for me all this health crap was precipitated by gluten intolerance (or was it? Who knows?), I also have a ton of food sensitivities and a generally very low-functioning digestive tract. So I can't take most supplements, fish oil, most fermented foods, etc. etc. Whine, whine, I know. It's tough to keep acting as if this situation is going to improve, but I guess that's what I have to do.

p.s.--I know exactly what you mean @ the herbal oils. Yowza, that was weird!
2a/2b, fine and thin
new wavy!

currently using:
cleansing: BS/ACV rinse weekly
PT: Gelatin PT
Conditioner: Desert Essences fragrance-free
Styling: LOTD Aloe
I'm sooo glad I'm not the only person who wound up smelling like salad dressing. Rashes and oily hair, forget it -- that was the thing that made me most self-conscious!

I'm sorry to hear this has been such a long process for you. I feel lucky in that it was such a fast thing for me, once the docs figured it out. I mean, it was about a year and a half of feeling like **** before that. I went from being a dance teacher/yoga person/avid hobbyist cyclist to nothing. It crushed me to not be able to do the physical things I enjoyed, but every time I did, I felt like someone was piling bricks on me faster and faster. Very uncool.

I'm not gluten intolerant. I went gluten free (along with other stuff) for 60 days, and I also got tested, and it made no difference. Dairy either. It shocked my doctor, since those are the two big culprits, but not for me. I mainly killed my gut through massive stress from a prolonged family crisis, and antibiotics (I get strep if someone looks at me funny).

Are you able to take glutamine? Are you able to eat cabbage? I've heard a lot of anecdotal stuff about cabbage juice and gut health.

Are you able to do physical stuff? When I was unable to go to my regular power/Vinyasa yoga, I found my way to a yin/restorative yoga class that consisted of an hour of passive stretching in a few poses. It felt great when I wasn't able to do anything else, and I'm a pretty firm believer that activities like yoga really help support the body. I'm headed to a Yin Yoga class tonight, in fact, because even though I'm now able to do more strenuous activity, I find it really flushes the stress out of my system!

Are you able to get omegas from seeds (like flax) or nuts?

I'm sure this is nothing new. I'm just curious, and maybe something I did will help you.

What field are you in? I'm an anthropologist/archaeologist, but I'm moving into a grad program for human/environment relations and sustainable design/disaster psychology. If you're into science, have you read about hookworms? They're fascinating!
I sort of blog
I'm mostly away doing field work through mid-May.

Hair: curlybob, fine, dense, low-po, big waves/ringlets (2C/3A)
Co-Wash: Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner
RO: YTC Carrot, Aubrey Organics GPB
LI: BS Shea Soft Styling Cream (HG)
Styling: KCCC, Garnier P&C Gel
1xWeek: low-poo, gelatin PT or Joico K-Pak
Hair Likes: aloe, coconut oil, humidity, protein, long walks on the beach
I went from being a dance teacher/yoga person/avid hobbyist cyclist to nothing.
Originally Posted by bosanbo
Sounds like we have a lot in common--I was a serious hobby cyclist and dancer before too. It was definitely tough to lose that.

I mainly killed my gut through massive stress from a prolonged family crisis, and antibiotics (I get strep if someone looks at me funny).
Originally Posted by bosanbo
Lucky ducky, not to be gluten intolerant! I don't miss it, but it's sure logistically challenging. I suspect the stress thing is a bigger piece of the picture than anyone (especially me) really wants to think about.

Are you able to take glutamine? Are you able to eat cabbage? I've heard a lot of anecdotal stuff about cabbage juice and gut health.
Originally Posted by bosanbo
I can take glutamine, which I've been cautiously adding. I found some that's synthesized (rather than made from corn, which I gather is more common). I definitely eat cabbage. I used to make my own sauerkraut (which was So Good) but I developed an intolerance for that too. Sigh. I'm getting a treatment for my intolerances (LDA) which seems to be really helping; I could probably add that back, but it's a little hard mentally to convince myself to do science experiments on me these days.

Are you able to do physical stuff? When I was unable to go to my regular power/Vinyasa yoga, I found my way to a yin/restorative yoga class that consisted of an hour of passive stretching in a few poses. It felt great when I wasn't able to do anything else, and I'm a pretty firm believer that activities like yoga really help support the body. I'm headed to a Yin Yoga class tonight, in fact, because even though I'm now able to do more strenuous activity, I find it really flushes the stress out of my system!
Originally Posted by bosanbo
I am pretty able to do normal-activity type stuff now, not 'real' exercise. I still don't recover really well, but it's tough to say how much of that is being deconditioned and how much is pathological fatigue. I'll have to check out Yin Yoga--I know there's kundalini available in my town--is that the same thing? I'm not so great at stress management. I think most people who wind up with these kinds of problems are pretty, um, Type A.

Are you able to get omegas from seeds (like flax) or nuts?

I'm sure this is nothing new. I'm just curious, and maybe something I did will help you.

What field are you in? I'm an anthropologist/archaeologist, but I'm moving into a grad program for human/environment relations and sustainable design/disaster psychology. If you're into science, have you read about hookworms? They're fascinating!
Originally Posted by bosanbo
Hookworms? Man, I not only researched them, I got them. In my own backyard. In the US. In January. So if anybody thinks they're immune to parasites because they live in a "developed" place? um, no.

So that was fun! Maybe it helped my guts, who knows? People have definitely inoculated themselves on purpose to try to solve these kinds of problems.

I'm a regulatory affairs person working in a research facility, so I actually work with a bunch of archeologists/archeometrists, in addition to the radiopharm people, epidemiologists, and various flavors of physicists/materials scientists. It's pretty fun stuff.

Your new grad program sounds fascinating. Multidisciplinary is the new black, man. I'd love to move into a more integrated field--I'm a total generalist.
2a/2b, fine and thin
new wavy!

currently using:
cleansing: BS/ACV rinse weekly
PT: Gelatin PT
Conditioner: Desert Essences fragrance-free
Styling: LOTD Aloe
First things first: (science dancing boogie time)

Now that that's out of the way...

Stress is huge. I encourage you to check out a book, delightfully titled "When the Body Says No." I read it when a friend of mine was diagnosed with early Lupus. It's fascinating.

I agree that, after a lot of discomfort (especially digestive), it is good to take some time off from "experimenting." Not only is it mentally fatiguing, it definitely taxes the body. But I love cabbage-cucumber juice, I found it so soothing when I was just like... RAAAR, food sucks!

Yoga: do NOT go to kundalini. I love kundalini. In fact, I have felt some of the best moments of my yoga journey in and after a kundalini class. But it is not for you at this point, hands-down, no way. Yes, I'm trying to scare you off! Kundalini involves what is called "breath of fire," which sounds kind of like a very fast version of the fake breathing that women do on TV when giving birth (as opposed to how it really sounds, LOL). It is forceful and builds up a lot of heat in the body, and some of the poses are not good for people who are ill. It is mentally and physically difficult, even if it looks easy. I practiced it for several months very intensively about five years ago, and remembering how it felt, and how I felt with dysbiosis two years ago, the two would have been an awful combination.

Yin is much more passive and cooling. A good example would be a seated forward fold. In Yin, you would go into that fold with your head hanging, legs straight but feet relaxed, and then hang... forward... for three minutes. Just breathing. There is a focus, in Yin, on only trying to go deeper into the pose after some time has passed, and only by steadily relaxing. I've found some amazing release in Yin, and it was something I was able to do throughout my illness (when I had the energy to actually get to a yoga studio). I bet you could find it on YouTube, or order a DVD? Otherwise, PM me and I can send you a list of the most common poses and some more info.

Your job sounds interesting. I work in environmental engineering, so I also get to interact with other science folks - biologist and engineers, mainly. And a bunch of bureaucrats. But that's for another conversation.

I too am very Type A. Organized to the point of non-harmful OCD (not real OCD!), a control freak to the extreme, scheduler-planner-researcher, to the point where I even rehash the past constantly for a better way of having done something that is already done and over with. I definitely had to learn to relax and let go. A lot of that was learned the hard way, but a lot of it has also been conscious. Yoga helped. I hated yoga the first time I did it. I felt unproductive and my mind raced. It took me several years to go to more than one class in any given period of time, but somehow I made it on through and suddenly found it very, very wonderful. When I was able to go to a class in the morning, I found I handled the whole rest of the day with more patience and grace.

Learning to notice just how much of what people say and do has nothing to do with me also helped, a lot. It's amazing how people can be talking about you, right to you, and just be saying stuff about themselves. You can listen and absorb it, but that doesn't mean you have to stress about it.

I also just taught myself to goof off. I started playing video games. Not a lot, but enough to just have fun. I try to take a lot of cues from my dog, and just run around and be crazy when he does, because clearly, it is about time to be crazy and free. I also try to spend a lot of time out hiking around and looking at plants and animals, because I find a lot of useful feelings while doing that. Hard to describe. I think it's important to find something that just soothes your brain down, and that does it for me.

I also try to remember, in the midst of a job FULL of last-minute deadlines, and the prospect of grad school, that there is nothing, NOTHING as ragingly crucial as my well-being. So yes, that report has to be in the mail by 6 PM and it isn't reviewed yet, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't take 20 minutes at some point to leave my desk, drink some water, walk outside, and realize how totally insignificant my job is in the greater scheme of things (archaeology helps this!). Spending that 20 minutes to calm the **** down and not get wound up will make the rest of my time more productive, but it will also keep me healthier in the long run. "Calm the **** down" may seem like a bad personal motto, but it helps me on a daily basis!

Lastly, I forgot to say this earlier: my hair didn't fall out, but my eyebrows totally did. I lost about 70% of my eyebrow hairs, especially on the inner corners. I just kind of drew them back on... it wasn't as big a deal to me as the other stuff happening at the time. Applying castor oil every night with a Q-tip brought them roaring back in a few weeks.
I sort of blog
I'm mostly away doing field work through mid-May.

Hair: curlybob, fine, dense, low-po, big waves/ringlets (2C/3A)
Co-Wash: Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner
RO: YTC Carrot, Aubrey Organics GPB
LI: BS Shea Soft Styling Cream (HG)
Styling: KCCC, Garnier P&C Gel
1xWeek: low-poo, gelatin PT or Joico K-Pak
Hair Likes: aloe, coconut oil, humidity, protein, long walks on the beach

Last edited by bosanbo; 04-03-2013 at 06:16 PM.
Argh!

Hookworms!

Why did I read this thread????

Shuddering as I walk away.......

Dogs and nature abhor a vacuum.
http://geaugadoggy.wordpress.com
Argh!

Hookworms!

Why did I read this thread???? I love science and biology, but I didn't foresee the appearance of parasites.

Shuddering as I walk away.......

Dogs and nature abhor a vacuum.
http://geaugadoggy.wordpress.com
Sorry Claudine19. I happen to think they're fascinating (and potentially really helpful to some people), but I completely get the "ugh parasites" feeling. Sorry to surprise you with it!

Then again, this thread is about gut dysbiosis, which is already pretty "ugh." Hence my lack of detail. UGH.
I sort of blog
I'm mostly away doing field work through mid-May.

Hair: curlybob, fine, dense, low-po, big waves/ringlets (2C/3A)
Co-Wash: Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner
RO: YTC Carrot, Aubrey Organics GPB
LI: BS Shea Soft Styling Cream (HG)
Styling: KCCC, Garnier P&C Gel
1xWeek: low-poo, gelatin PT or Joico K-Pak
Hair Likes: aloe, coconut oil, humidity, protein, long walks on the beach

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