Have you ever had a health problem that your doctors couldn’t explain and just wouldn’t go away?
Well, I recently had a case that baffled me and many other doctors. I have to tell you this story because it exemplifies two important issues.
First of all, not all diseases fit the book. Some cases that seem so apparent at first, turn out to be much more unusual than expected.
The other lesson has to do with lab tests. Sometimes, they are just plain wrong!
Marcella is a 56-year-old woman whom I have known for many years. She has a very delicate intestinal tract. It takes very little for her to develop diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea. All she has to do is experience a little stress, and bang, off to the bathroom.
She is also sensitive to gluten, sweets, some fruits, and spicy foods. And if that’s not bad enough, it doesn’t take much for her to develop an intestinal yeast infection.
When she told me that her symptoms were coming back, I was not all that surprised. For one, she had been under a fairly devastating amount of stress. Second, she wasn’t eating right. And, lastly, she had been relying on drugs that her gastroenterologist had given her for her bowel symptoms.
So I immediately assumed that all she needed was some natural remedies for anxiety, an anti-yeast program (you can find this on my website), and a rice water diet (see below for details). But that was not nearly enough.
What We Did Next…
Over the next week, Marcella did not improve at all. The diarrhea persisted. She was feeling weaker by the day, and she had lost five pounds.
The watery diarrhea was so bad that even my rice water protocol did not help — and that almost never happens. At that point, I knew that something out of the ordinary must be going on.
So I ordered a stool test at the local lab to look for parasites and infectious bacteria. It was completely normal.
It must be her nerves, I thought. So just to see, I prescribed a tranquilizer. She became a little better, but after three to four days was still struggling.
Of course, at this point, she had become even weaker, and had lost another five pounds. What was going on? What had I left out?
At that point, I decided to give her a drug to stop the diarrhea. I hoped that with some more time, things would clear up. The drug worked great. But for the next two weeks, she continued to need it three to four times a day. As soon as she stopped, the symptoms returned. No, this was not a problem that was going to go away on its own.
Trying a Different Test
So I repeated the stool test. Only this time, instead of using the local lab, I sent the specimen to a lab that specializes in stool testing.
Unfortunately, this lab took almost two weeks to get the results back, and in that time, Marcella lost another 10 pounds. Overall, she had lost close to 25 pounds. And then the results came back.
Marcella tested positive for trichinosis. Trichinosis is a rare parasitic disease that comes from eating raw pork. Everyone knows that you don’t eat raw pork, and this is why.
Normally, trichinosis causes an elevation of certain blood cells called eosinophils, and severe muscle aches. But Marcella had never complained of aches, and all of her blood tests were normal.
In fact, her case was so unlike what I would expect from trichinosis, that I was afraid that maybe this lab was wrong too.
But we certainly had to do something. So I gave her the antibiotic for trichinosis.
Sure enough, within 24 hours she was starting to see a change. In 72 hours, she was almost completely free of all symptoms. And, in one week, she had made a complete recovery. But the questions for me were not over.
How in the World Did She Get This Infection?
Marcella told me that the only form of pork she had eaten recently was bacon and ham. And as far as she knew it had been cooked well. But there's another possible cause — wild game.
Here in Nevada, eating wild game is common. And wild game can also be a source for trichinosis, especially if you prepare it as a jerky. (Jerky cooks at a very low temperature, so it may not kill the bug.) But Marcella was sure she had not eaten any wild game. So how did she get the infection?
We don’t know. All we know is that she had a very unusual case of trichinosis.
Sometimes, there isn’t an explanation for what’s going on in your body. We can’t possibly know everything. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Keep searching. There is an answer.
You just have to keep looking until you find it. If your doctor gives up, find another doctor. If your lab tests are negative, try another lab. If one treatment doesn’t work, try another.
Avoid drugs whenever you can. But if you know they’ll work, then by all means use them. I’m not a big fan of drugs — except in the rare occasion when they are absolutely necessary. Then they’re great.
Just don’t give up. There is a cause for what’s going on and once you find it, you can usually fix it. If the problem is diarrhea, give the rice water cure a try.
The Rice Water Cure
The rice water cure is a very effective way to speed along the body’s natural healing ability without upsetting your system. It does this in several ways.
First of all, rice water contains electrolytes and nutrients that are typically lost in diarrhea. Secondly, drinking rice water prevents dehydration. And thirdly, rice water contains an abundance of pectin. Pectin is a carbohydrate that’s able to absorb the toxins that infectious bacteria produce. It is the toxins that the bacteria produce that cause the diarrhea, not the bacteria themselves.
Drink enough rice water, and you will be able to stop most cases of infectious diarrhea within a matter of 12-24 hours. Here’s how you do it.
Add 2 cups of rice (any kind of rice) and ½ of a green banana (the banana can be omitted in a pinch) to 2 quarts of water. Bring the water to a low boil for 45 minutes.
Strain the rice out, but leave the banana in the water. Then blend the banana with the water in a blender. Drink 8-10 ounces of this mixture every hour while you’re awake. Do not eat or drink anything else!
Once the diarrhea has stopped, you can slowly add in other very well-cooked fruits and vegetables. But continue drinking at least 8 ounces of rice water four times a day until you are absolutely sure the infection is gone.
This remedy is great for all adults, including seniors. But it’s good for children and babies as well.