Take our quick assessment. If you have at least 8 of the mold symptoms listed above and have other unexplained illness, you may need to be evaluated for a biotoxin illness.
CIRS and Mold Sickness Diagnosis
Diagnosing CIRS and Mold Exposure is a multi-phase process to first identify/confirm if the patient is being impacted by CIRS and secondly to identity the cause/source of the biotoxin. The core diagnostic tools used to diagnose CIRS and Mold Exposure include the following:
- Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test (Screening test. If positive, then high probability of biotoxin illness)
- Lab tests including HLA (genetic susceptibility), MARCoNS, MSH, TGF Beta 1, C3a, C4a, MMP9, Leptin. We also use other labs to support our differential diagnosis as needed
- MRI with NeuroQuant is helpful for the diagnosis of CIRS and to differentiate from Lyme disease. Uses a software program to measure the brain volumes of specific brain structures. Research has shown that CIRS patients have a particular signature that is very different from Lyme patients.
- Genomics (Emerging research has shown several identifiable irregularities in CIRS patients. Helps to personalize the diagnosis and treatment. Click here to learn more about genomic testing for CIRS.
- Environment Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) is a highly specific DNA-based method for quantifying mold species in an environment such as home or office. It is used to test the environment to determine what environment is creating the biotoxins that the patient is being exposed to and which specific mold species are in the environment and the extent of the mold problem in the environment
Why we don’t use urine mycotoxin testing as a primary diagnostic tool
- The presence of mycotoxins doesn’t mean that disease is present. It only proves that exposure to a mycotoxin production source has occurred.
- Urine mycotoxin test only tests for mycotoxins but there are several other problematic pathogens in mold illness including fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes as inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, hemolysins, proteinases, mannans and possibly spirocyclic drimanes; as well as volatile organic compounds
- The studies that the pro-urine mycotoxin test group relies up didn’t have proper controls. They only had controls that were not exposed. A proper test design would have had controls that had exposure but no symptoms of illness. This would have shown the presence of mycotoxins in urine without regard to the presence of illness.
- Urine production and concentrations of pathogens is variable and influenced by fluid intake and other conditions unrelated to the level of exposure to the toxin. Since the labs doing urine mycotoxin testing are only requesting a single sample, this introduces variability into the test results unrelated to the amount of toxin present in the body. If they used a 24 hour sample, the result would be more predictable and reliable.
- Nonetheless, there are some limited situations and cases where urine mycotoxin testing may be useful with respect to ensuring the optimal binder is being used.
CIRS and Mold Sickness Treatment Program
Our treatment protocol uses a highly personalized, functional medicine approach. Using the advanced diagnostics listed above, we first need to confirm the presence of CIRS then determine which environment the patient is exposed to is causing the continued exposure to the biotoxins. From there, we follow a stepwise approach to stop the progression of the diseaes process, remove the biotoxins from the body, reverse the damage done to the cellular structures where possible and help the patinet to make a full recovery. The steps we follow are listed below.
- Remove patient from exposure to biotoxins. To start the healing process, the impacted areas need to be remediated where possible and if not, then the patient needs to move out of that environment. Continued exposure will compromise the treatment program and make healing very dificult.
- Remove the biotoxins from the patient’s body using “binder” agents. Welchol and Cholestryamine are two of the bindng agents that are typically used. Cholestryamine in particular readily binds bioxoxins that are processed in the bile duct in the liver and helps to carry them out of the body and has been proven in placebo-controlled studies to reverse many aspects of the inflammatory process of CIRS.
- MARCoNS Eradication. MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci) is an antibiotic resistant staph infection that resides deep in the nose of 80% of people suffering from Biotoxin Illness and other chronic inflammatory illnesses. It must be removed for the patient to return to health.
- Clean up the “terrain”. These steps will vary for each patient depending on which areas have been impacted and the severity of the CIRS process. With each step, re-testing is needed to confirm that the imbalance has been corrected.
b. Androgen Imbalance (balance the hormones)
h. TGF Beta 1
- Diet. To help stop the growth of the mold fungi, the patient should avoid mycotoxin causing foods including corn, rye, peanuts, wheat, barley, cottonseed, some cheeses, rice, oil seeds, black pepper, dried fruits, figs coffee, beans, bread and alcoholic beverages including wine and beer.
At Proactive Wellness, we have successfully treated many patients that came to us with a history of severe, unexplained health issues. The diagnosis process leads to a confirmed diagnosis unlike many other “syndromes” where the diagnosis is made based on other diseases being ruled out but without specific diagnostic tests to actually confirm the specific diagnosis. Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain Syndrome are examples of diseases that are diagnosed without the benefit of specific confirmatory tests. If you have been exposed to a water damaged building or have severe, unexplained health issues, CIRS could be the cause. The good news is that we can successfully diagnose and treat this disease and get you healthy again.
Does our program work? Read here to learn about the success of one of our recent CIRS patients.
During 2017 I lived in a house with a rampant black mold problem. The mold was completely hidden in a laundry room and I didn’t know it was there until the ceiling collapsed from water damage. Over the 8 months I lived there I felt progressively worse and started experiencing symptoms I’ve never had, which was strange as an active and healthy 27 year old.
My research eventually led me to connecting my health problems with black mold, and after confirming it existed in the house through air testing I immediately visited a local doctor.
The first three doctors I met with completely discounted black mold and had me tested for various auto-immune diseases (all which tested negative) based on my symptoms. They eventually shrugged their shoulders and told me to come back in a few months if I didn’t feel better.
I was having trouble breathing, my legs were randomly losing circulation and turning purple, I developed three new allergies I’ve never had, I was hopelessly tired all day with zero energy, my skin developed random rashes and skin problems I’ve never seen and I felt nauseous constantly…even though I have no history of nausea whatsoever.
After our negative experiences with the local doctors, my fiancee and I found the Shoemaker protocol and Dr. Lawson was our #1 pick of all the Shoemaker certified practitioners.
We met with Dr Lawson in her office shortly after. I went in discouraged and I came out extremely hopeful and REALLY believing I was going to get better. Dr. Lawson listened to my entire story and whacky list of symptoms then explained CIRS to me and showed me how the symptoms I have are common of mold illness.
It’s been about a year since I first met with Dr. Lawson, and now I’m even more confident that my health won’t just recover, but become better than it was before I got sick.
Today I thought about how rock bottom my health was when I met Dr. Lawson. It’s easy to take good health for granted once you start feeling better, so to look back and see how far I’ve come is really incredible.
A year ago I felt like I was dying. Not in a dramatic way, my body literally felt like it was shutting down on me. I just wasn’t sure that it was going to ever get better because of how bad it was every hour of every day.
I’m amazed by what one year with a great doctor can do for you. I feel almost as good as I did before I got sick, and that was as a physically active, strong 27 year old man.
My energy has come back and is as good as ever on most days. My stomach pain and nausea have gone away almost entirely. My circulation has returned to normal. The patchy dryness and redness on my skin has gone away and is starting to look healthy again. I just feel like my body is on the right track because Dr. Lawson figured out exactly what I needed.
It wasn’t easy to get to that point though. I was REALLY sick. Because of my wide my range of symptoms Dr. Lawson had to do a lot of investigating, thinking and testing of different approaches as we went based on what was working or not working in my treatment.
I’ve never had a doctor that was so resilient in helping me, the second she knew something wasn’t going to work she was already laying out next steps and other options.
Half the time when I talk to her she’s returning from some kind of new innovative conference where she learned all about new methods of treatment and other options for any lingering problems I might have. It’s really amazing knowing that if there’s a treatment out there that can help me, Dr. Lawson will know about it first.
It terrifies me to think of where I would be if I followed the advice of the other doctors I saw. Dr. Lawson changed my life when the others told me I was insane, and I will never forget it.
This Saturday I will marry my fiancee who went through all of this with me, and I will proudly stand tall next to her as the man she fell in love with. The sick, tired and beaten down person I was just a year ago has quickly become a memory of a horrible time in my life. I owe that to you Dr. Lawson. Thank you so much.
TL – Battle Creek, MI
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Helpful Resources for mold symptoms, mold illness, mold treatment
Medically sound investigation and remediation of water-damaged buildings in cases of chronic inflammatory response syndrome.
Think mold isn’t harmful. Has your primary care or other physician advised that mold illness isn’t real. Just read this article and share this with those doubting the dangers of mold exposure.
Breast implant illness resource page
CIRS Resource Center — Surviving Mold by Dr. Shoemaker
Mold exposure from front-loading washing machines