1

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Tell me what to do next - still facing health issues and not sure where I'm going wrong

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 05, 2012 at 5:20 AM

Hi. I've been eating fully primal for about 2.5 months now, and for the year prior to that I was largely gluten/dairy free. I've lost about 35lb in the last 2.5 months by being primal and focussing on keeping my carbs low (I try to be under 50g a day at least 5 days a week). I exercise 2-4 times a week, usually 30-50 mins of cardio at approx 70% max heart rate, and occasionally weights. I drink 2L of water at least 5 days a week, and never below 1L on the other 2 days when I forget to keep track.

I have been told I have prediabetes before (about a year ago) and for the last 3-4 years I've been suffering from random rashes and hives, and recurring boils. I suspect the boils are to do with blood sugar, but I don't know why they aren't leaving when I'm controlling my carb intake 80% of the time. The hives I assume are food related - I think coconut milk is a no go for me. I also have another recurring rash in a specific place that I suspect is due to blood sugar issues as it often flares up if I cheat. I also often have low iron, but my platelet count is often too high? I suffer from fatigue - since being overweight I can't remember a time I haven't battled fatigue. I've also been low in vit D before.

Basically, I don't know what to do now. My boils/abscesses/carbuncles recur in the same locations all the time, and whenever the doctors swab them I don't hear back, which means it's not MRSA. Why can't I get rid of these infections?? I have really good hygiene, I wash with clorhexidine and I'm currently on doxycycline and I still have inflamed lumps.

I want to go in for a blood test and get the following things checked - Cholesterol (haven't had this checked in a long time) Thyroid (I suspect it's underactive. Even if it's in the "normal" range I doubt it's optimal) Vit D Iron

What specifically do I need to get them to check? I've heard the usual way they test for thyroid problems doesn't necessarily show everything? And what should I get them to check for vit d and iron, are the standard tests they do for that sufficient?

I just don't think it's normal to be having these infections constantly. I'm a reasonably healthy person otherwise.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on June 06, 2012
at 04:58 PM

My dermatologist wrote it down for me so I could accurately look it up when I got home. Have your doctor refer to you a dermatologist if you want a definite diagnosis. Have you been tested for celiac disease/gluten intolerance?

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on June 06, 2012
at 12:10 PM

Here's another link about DH with the iodine mention: http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/dermatitis_herpeti.html For me, too much iodine can set it off. I have to carefully balance my iodine intake to get enough without getting too much. DH is pretty rare. Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 people in the USA and DH only affects 10 to 15% of those celiacs, so approx 1 in 1,330. Celiac is vastly underdiagnosed in US, so is DH. Itchiness is a clue usually but my son gets it on his elbows and it's never itchy to him. So, I still think you should check into it, research yourself, whatever.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on June 06, 2012
at 12:03 PM

DH doesn't work that way, unfortunately. I've been on a very strict GlutenFree diet for over 3 years and still can get breakouts. Usually they are smaller as time goes on but then I got swabbed with iodine for surgery a few weeks ago and was covered with DH where the iodine was used (the reaction takes iodine too besides the antibodies.) It can take up to 10 years of a strict GF diet to resorb the antibodies deposited under the skin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatitis_herpetiformis#Pathology a 99% gluten-free diet would NEVER cut it for me. fyi, it is not always itchy as the lit says.

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 06, 2012
at 05:38 AM

I've also seen this before and thought it was freakily like what I've been dealing with. I really need to bring all the things I've looked at up with my doctor but I don't want her to think I'm self diagnosing from the internet all the time! The fact that both swabs I've sent away have come back with no real results says a lot if you ask me though

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 06, 2012
at 01:57 AM

Interesting... Something else I'll ask the doc about

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:58 PM

Doctors office just called back. The sample apparently grew a very small amount of normal skin flora, nothing out of the ordinary. I think these boils are coming from within :|

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:27 PM

D3 is essential long-term for you immune system to work properly. The C can help short-term--as can high doses of D (which can act as an antibiotic.)

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:16 PM

I had the boils and rashes before the weight loss unfortunately. They've been chronic for 3-4 years (ever since I became overweight in the first place). But thanks for the suggestion

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:15 PM

I've seen interesting stuff about high dose vit C for getting rid of infection so I'm thinking about doing that soon. Thanks for the info about the vit d testing, will make sure the right one is tested.

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:14 PM

I've seen DH before and wondered about it... but I have been 99% gluten free for almost 2 years, and the rash still occasionally makes a comeback? Because of all the confusion, I once at a small piece of bread just to see... the rash didn't flare up. Other times it flares up after seemingly nothing! The only thing I have really identified is high carb = the rash gets tingly. I will get the doc to check though

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:12 PM

I've been trying to get hold of the doctors office to find out what bacteria it is. Over here, what usually happens is the doc takes a sample, prescribes you an antibiotic, then when the results are back they only contact you if the results show a bacteria that the antibiotic they prescribed won't kill. So she hasn't called, which means whatever it is must be covered by the antibiotic she prescribed? But I still want to know what it is. I am taking probiotics as well, usually 80million a day. I also eat unsweetened, natural probiotic yoghurt. will look into GAPS, thanks :)

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 04:20 PM

Elimination diets are a lot more reliable than allergy testing.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 05, 2012
at 03:15 PM

Kixxa one of the biggest concerns with tap water for GI health is the presence of Chlorine. I "santizes" the water and also the gut! Kills good bacteria. Also, most tap water has other pathogens like parasites and bacteria AND (God forbid) prescription drugs. Yikes! You are drinking a lot of water (a good thing) but I advise you to find out what is in the water in your area. Also here (in Seattle) there is flouride. Not sure if its bad for the gut but is poison for me and others with thyroid issues - good for teeth, bad for body!!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on June 05, 2012
at 02:08 PM

Not everything can be attributed to diet. I wonder if there is some sort of autoimmune issue at hand here?

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:47 PM

I kind of agree that perhaps there is a gut issue, skin issues are another way that gut issues show themselves, hence no changes will result from hygiene or infection treatments. look into GAPS, you can taylor it to Paleo easily, and its a healing/elimination diet which might do you some good. Have a look at it and talk with your dr. about it, check for food allergies while at it, usually part of the issue..good luck!

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 09:04 AM

I doubt it's eggs but I mean it's definitely a possibility. I'm going to cut nuts & seeds for now and see how it goes

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 09:03 AM

All the docs I've seen seem reluctant to refer me for any allergy testing - always telling me to do elimination diets. I frequently do but I still really can't pinpoint what it is. I've had nuts suggested before so perhaps you're right, I'll cut them and seeds for 2 weeks and see how I go.

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:49 AM

I live in a country where there are generally no problems with tap water... exactly what is it that is wrong with tap water? Thanks for the advice about leaky gut, I had looked at it before but I'll give it some more serious research after your suggestion

E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26

(2384)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:23 AM

sry typo: *sensitive

E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26

(2384)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:22 AM

Possible cross reactivity with nuts and seeds in general. Also, some people are sentivie to egg whites...

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 06:11 AM

No I said I think the hives are food related :) The boils I don't think they are. Really there aren't any foods left I could be intolerant to. I don't eat gluten and dairy very rarely. I basically eat meat, veges, small amount of fruit, nuts, and eggs. The timing of the rash is really hard to link to anything specific - the only thing I really suspect is coconut milk, so I've stopped using it. But the only other things my rash flare-ups have in common are carb levels - more carbs makes my rash flare up.

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12 Answers

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1
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on June 05, 2012
at 07:24 AM

What comes to mind for me as I read your issues, is leaky gut. Sounds like you have been on more than one course of antibiotics recently and that alone can cause leaky gut and thus make you more susceptible to food sensitivities. I mentioned in another post that I had really good luck clearing up my l.g. with a really clean diet of course, but also a product called PermaVite by Allergy Research Group along with a very high dose of pro-biotics. Used used a combo of VSL3 and Klaire labs. I took 1 packet twice a day of the VSL3 (that is 450 billion twice a day) for 10 days then decreased it to one packet. I used the PermaVite for 90 days and used THREE tablespoons per day (the max dose they recommended). I was also on a high dose antioxidant protocol (Ubiquinol, R-La, Lycopene, cloves). I did a before and after GI Permeability Test, I think its from Metagenics. you might want to do that test, or just treat yourself for Leaky gut since you likley have it - its very common and especially from oral antibiotics. I hope you have a good primary care physician who knows what things should be tested on labs.
Also, in terms of the water you are drinking... its not tap water, is it? Yikes. I cannot believe all the people I know who drink tap water. So many bad bad things for the gut in tap water. Good luck.

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:49 AM

I live in a country where there are generally no problems with tap water... exactly what is it that is wrong with tap water? Thanks for the advice about leaky gut, I had looked at it before but I'll give it some more serious research after your suggestion

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on June 05, 2012
at 12:47 PM

I kind of agree that perhaps there is a gut issue, skin issues are another way that gut issues show themselves, hence no changes will result from hygiene or infection treatments. look into GAPS, you can taylor it to Paleo easily, and its a healing/elimination diet which might do you some good. Have a look at it and talk with your dr. about it, check for food allergies while at it, usually part of the issue..good luck!

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 05, 2012
at 03:15 PM

Kixxa one of the biggest concerns with tap water for GI health is the presence of Chlorine. I "santizes" the water and also the gut! Kills good bacteria. Also, most tap water has other pathogens like parasites and bacteria AND (God forbid) prescription drugs. Yikes! You are drinking a lot of water (a good thing) but I advise you to find out what is in the water in your area. Also here (in Seattle) there is flouride. Not sure if its bad for the gut but is poison for me and others with thyroid issues - good for teeth, bad for body!!

4
4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on June 05, 2012
at 03:00 PM

You need to confirm if the boils are bacterial in nature. There are a lot of bacteria out there that can cause problems, and MSRA is only one of them. If the antibiotics you are on are not effective against the strain of bacteria in the boils, then all of this is for nothing.

(I had a huge pus filled boil, and went on antibiotics for it, then found out that it was a weird bacteria strain that tends to only be seen in hospitals. never knew where I got it, but after the antibiotics it did go away.)

Otherwise, I second the recommendation of probiotics. Your system has been decimated with antibiotics, now there may not be any good bacteria left to fight off the incoming bad bacteria. Go for a majorly strong probiotic, and try to increase your fermented foods. You can also look into the GAPS diet as a way to both 1) do an elimination diet, 2) detox from some of the issues, and 3) seal and heal your gut.

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:58 PM

Doctors office just called back. The sample apparently grew a very small amount of normal skin flora, nothing out of the ordinary. I think these boils are coming from within :|

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:12 PM

I've been trying to get hold of the doctors office to find out what bacteria it is. Over here, what usually happens is the doc takes a sample, prescribes you an antibiotic, then when the results are back they only contact you if the results show a bacteria that the antibiotic they prescribed won't kill. So she hasn't called, which means whatever it is must be covered by the antibiotic she prescribed? But I still want to know what it is. I am taking probiotics as well, usually 80million a day. I also eat unsweetened, natural probiotic yoghurt. will look into GAPS, thanks :)

3
C9e0dac48ce11c69c303e28638abc72c

(30)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:13 AM

Great to hear your exercising as well - I'd consider tweaking your excercise program. Cardio is great, but it is just that - just cardio for the heart. Without going into specifics, it doesn't help your goals as much as doing more weights will.

I'd suggest talking to a trainer that has good experience working with diabetes and similar conditions.

2
F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:15 AM

What you are describing, I would bet is hidradentis suppurativa. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidradenitis_suppurativa

It's an autoimmune condition that is not infectious or contagious and the pus is generally sterile. You won't find anything from cultures. It is aggravated by excess androgens, and in women generally flares up with your cycle as a result.

You need to be diagnosed by a competent dermatologist. Nobody in my primary care office had a clue what it was. Because it's not bacterial, standard disinfectant and antibiotic treatments are useless. Standard treatment is spirinolactone to reduce circulating androgens or hormonal birth control (did keep me in remission for years but I didn't want to mess with my hormones anymore). There are several radical treatments (like chemo and skin grafts) that people undergo for severe cases.

The good news - by being 100% gluten free, I am almost completely cleared up. I still do get small flareups occasionally. But nothing like I did before. The last really bad outbreak was a direct result of getting seriously glutened at the wrong time of the month. I believe that if I can dial in my diet well enough to heal my gut and get my autoimmune issues in check it will go away completely. But even if it doesn't, it is at a point that it is completely tolerable. Good luck.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on June 06, 2012
at 04:58 PM

My dermatologist wrote it down for me so I could accurately look it up when I got home. Have your doctor refer to you a dermatologist if you want a definite diagnosis. Have you been tested for celiac disease/gluten intolerance?

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 06, 2012
at 05:38 AM

I've also seen this before and thought it was freakily like what I've been dealing with. I really need to bring all the things I've looked at up with my doctor but I don't want her to think I'm self diagnosing from the internet all the time! The fact that both swabs I've sent away have come back with no real results says a lot if you ask me though

2
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 05, 2012
at 06:51 PM

Definitely get your D tested. Make sure it is the 25(OH)D test. Sun/supplement to 60-80 ng/ml.

You may also need to supplement Zinc and C to help your skin heal. Liver(for A & iron) and gelatin (for collagen) will help, too.

Coconut oil is great for antibacterial/antifungal topical use. Chlorhexidine may be messing up your skin pH.

Agree with addressing gut health, since all the supplements & good food in the world will not be of use if you aren't absorbing them.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:27 PM

D3 is essential long-term for you immune system to work properly. The C can help short-term--as can high doses of D (which can act as an antibiotic.)

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:15 PM

I've seen interesting stuff about high dose vit C for getting rid of infection so I'm thinking about doing that soon. Thanks for the info about the vit d testing, will make sure the right one is tested.

2
94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:13 PM

What about checking for celiac disease and/or also have a dermatologist do a skin biopsy for dermatitis herpetiformis? Most celiacs with DH get their rash in a recurring area, these photos show a range of locations: http://hardinmd.lib.uiowa.edu/dermnet/dermatitisherpetiformis.html A swab of the lesion won't tell you anything. A skin biopsy taken from good skin immediately adjacent to a rash or lesion can be looked at microscopically to look for antibodies. Sorry, I'm in a rush but I would check into it. I was an undiagnosed overweight celiac for decades. Not all celiacs are underweight with diarrhea. A third don't have any symptoms. 10-15% have the rash, DH.

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:14 PM

I've seen DH before and wondered about it... but I have been 99% gluten free for almost 2 years, and the rash still occasionally makes a comeback? Because of all the confusion, I once at a small piece of bread just to see... the rash didn't flare up. Other times it flares up after seemingly nothing! The only thing I have really identified is high carb = the rash gets tingly. I will get the doc to check though

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on June 06, 2012
at 12:10 PM

Here's another link about DH with the iodine mention: http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/dermatitis_herpeti.html For me, too much iodine can set it off. I have to carefully balance my iodine intake to get enough without getting too much. DH is pretty rare. Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 people in the USA and DH only affects 10 to 15% of those celiacs, so approx 1 in 1,330. Celiac is vastly underdiagnosed in US, so is DH. Itchiness is a clue usually but my son gets it on his elbows and it's never itchy to him. So, I still think you should check into it, research yourself, whatever.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on June 06, 2012
at 12:03 PM

DH doesn't work that way, unfortunately. I've been on a very strict GlutenFree diet for over 3 years and still can get breakouts. Usually they are smaller as time goes on but then I got swabbed with iodine for surgery a few weeks ago and was covered with DH where the iodine was used (the reaction takes iodine too besides the antibodies.) It can take up to 10 years of a strict GF diet to resorb the antibodies deposited under the skin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatitis_herpetiformis#Pathology a 99% gluten-free diet would NEVER cut it for me. fyi, it is not always itchy as the lit says.

1
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 01:22 PM

It's possible the rashes and boils could be related to your rapid weight loss. Toxins are often stored in body fat and will be dumped when that fat is dropped. Your body could be having a hard time processing and detoxifying them quickly enough. Drinking more water daily will help with excretion, as will sweating a lot - as in a sauna - but only with extra water. The "detox" products all over the internet are scams, don't go there.

And as others have said, check out possible allergens.

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 11:16 PM

I had the boils and rashes before the weight loss unfortunately. They've been chronic for 3-4 years (ever since I became overweight in the first place). But thanks for the suggestion

1
Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260

on June 05, 2012
at 06:45 AM

Nuts and eggs can be highly allergenic. Have you been tested for allergies? Also Doxy is a pretty strong antibiotic and kills the good with the bad.

I'd try avoiding nuts first for a bit and continue with your clean diet. A lifetime of abuse, won't clear up in just a couple of months. Hang in there.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 05, 2012
at 04:20 PM

Elimination diets are a lot more reliable than allergy testing.

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 09:03 AM

All the docs I've seen seem reluctant to refer me for any allergy testing - always telling me to do elimination diets. I frequently do but I still really can't pinpoint what it is. I've had nuts suggested before so perhaps you're right, I'll cut them and seeds for 2 weeks and see how I go.

1
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on June 05, 2012
at 05:46 AM

I really doubt your hives are due to blood sugar issues. What exactly are you eating? It sounds like your digestion is screwed and you have an intolerance to something.

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 09:04 AM

I doubt it's eggs but I mean it's definitely a possibility. I'm going to cut nuts & seeds for now and see how it goes

E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26

(2384)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:22 AM

Possible cross reactivity with nuts and seeds in general. Also, some people are sentivie to egg whites...

81681c0fc0e52af934e5c83250782818

(15)

on June 05, 2012
at 06:11 AM

No I said I think the hives are food related :) The boils I don't think they are. Really there aren't any foods left I could be intolerant to. I don't eat gluten and dairy very rarely. I basically eat meat, veges, small amount of fruit, nuts, and eggs. The timing of the rash is really hard to link to anything specific - the only thing I really suspect is coconut milk, so I've stopped using it. But the only other things my rash flare-ups have in common are carb levels - more carbs makes my rash flare up.

E2b72f1912f777917d8ee6b7fba43c26

(2384)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:23 AM

sry typo: *sensitive

0
Medium avatar

on June 05, 2012
at 03:13 PM

Be sure to get your vitamin d level checked and aim for 70 level.

0
E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on June 05, 2012
at 11:45 AM

are you still eating dairy?

-1
5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on June 05, 2012
at 03:03 PM

I diagnose you with a sugar deficiency.

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