Over the next months we are taking a close look at some of the factors that can trigger the onset of histamine and mast cell symptoms, or those factors that can induce a flare in symptoms.
If you have ever wondered why you struggle with the symptoms that plague you, these blog posts will help you to understand what might be going on in your body, or can help you to know what questions you might ask your doctor or wellness practitioner.
First up: what is considered an infection?
Infections are never fun. They happen when some type of microorganism proliferates in your body. These microbes could be viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites. Some signs of infection can include fever, chills, redness or soreness, cough or sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea, or pain or irritation.
When you have these signs, it is easy to identify that an infection is present. But what about when your symptoms don’t match those of a classic infection?
It is well recognized that a variety of infections can trigger mast cell activation. (1)
In this post we explore infection, where it might be hiding, and how it impacts mast cells and histamine levels.
Where Infection Might Be Hiding
One place you might never think to look for a low-grade chronic infection is your mouth. Have you ever had any teeth pulled? Wisdom teeth pulled? Have you had any root canals? All of these can leave behind cavitations, which are holes in the jaw bones.
Cavitations are not the same as cavities. Cavities occur in the teeth, but cavitations occur in the jaw bone when things don’t heal properly after an extraction. These holes can end up as a great place for infection such as anaerobic bacteria to hang out.
Cavitations won’t necessarily show up on normal dental x-rays, so additional scans are needed to identify their existence. Treatment involves surgery where the cavitation is opened up, cleaned out, and a tissue sample then gets sent off for pathological testing. You will likely need to seek out a biological and holistic dental practice to explore if cavitations are a potential hiding place for your infections.
Not all dentists treat cavitations, so you may need to seek out a practitioner different from your current dentist.
MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci) is a serious fungal infection of the sinuses. It is resistant to antibiotics, making it difficult to treat.
To determine if you might have this infection a nasal swab must come back positive for coagulate negative staph. The nasal swab is not one that is done through normal lab services.
If you find that the work you are doing to reduce histamine and mast cell activation isn’t decreasing sinus inflammation, exploring MARCoNS is something you can discuss with your doctor.
Visit survivingmold.com for more information about this type of infection. Dr Ritchie Shoemaker is recognized as one of the leading experts in this area and has developed a protocol. Look for a practitioner certified in the Shoemaker protocol if you suspect MARCoNS.
Joints, Heart & Nervous System
Lyme disease, if left untreated, can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. The bacteria that causes Lyme, Borrelia burgdorferi induces mast cell activation and cytokine release. (2)
If you know you have ever had a tick bite or have experienced a bulls-eye rash that slowly spread, it is worth exploring Lyme. The rash is often accompanied by a fever or swollen glands.
Chronic Lyme is characterized by fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, nerve pain or pain in other body parts, and sleep problems. You may also have problems with cognitive function, depression and heart symptoms. (3)
Work with a practitioner experienced with chronic Lyme if you think it could be impacting you. A good place to start in seeking a practitioner: ask your Medical Team, contact a Naturopath in your area. You may also wish to seek support via canlyme.com.
Your gut is normally home to trillions of microbes. In your GI tract, there exists a wide variety of species that coexist to benefit your health. There are many factors that influence the diversity and abundance of these microbes, but when a pathogenic microbe has the opportunity to flourish, that species can develop into an overgrowth or infection.
If you have ever been on an extended course or repeated courses of antibiotics, taken birth control pills or NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), if you have travelled to countries that are known to have parasites, if you have experienced chronic stress, or if you have eaten a diet high in processed foods, then these are all factors that can contribute to a pathogenic overgrowth in your gut.
Sometimes you can have digestive symptoms such as bloating, belching, flatulence, constipation or diarrhea, nausea with or without vomiting. It should be clear too that some may also have no digestive symptoms, making it difficult to identify if an infection is hiding in your gut.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is another type of condition in the gut that is correlated to MCAS. (4) With SIBO it isn’t necessarily about pathogenic species, but rather about an overgrowth within the small intestine where bacterial count is usually low. The high microbial count normally seen in the large intestine has translocated to the small intestine.
With SIBO, it is likely that you will have symptoms. Bloating is the most common symptom that people complain about with SIBO, but diarrhea, constipation or both are common as well. Abdominal pain is another possible symptom.
There are a variety of lab tests available to help pinpoint what is going on in your GI tract.
There are several labs that do SIBO or comprehensive GI testing. These labs can be accessed through a functional or integrative practitioner.
Think your symptoms may be related to a possible hidden infection? Always check with your primary health care provider first and foremost.
Curious to dive deeper into how histamine or mast cell issues can play in to your symptoms you experience on a daily basis? Join our online community by clicking here. Loads of printable resources, a community of people going through the same thing as you. You'll also find a Master Class on the Histamine Connection. It's free to join!