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Thread: Dry Eyes, Digestive Problems and Probiotics

  1. #1
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    Dry Eyes, Digestive Problems and Probiotics

    I've had eye irritation for 14 years, which I've posted about in detail in previous posts. When I was younger I took antibiotics probably every time I got a cold, and took Accutane in 1996. I've learned in recent years that antibiotics kill off not just bad bacteria, but also good bacteria that the gut needs to function properly.

    At exactly the same time my eyes became chronically irritated, I developed digestive problems, became lactose intolerant, developed joint pain, dry skin and a white coating on my tongue. Doctors say this is coincidental but I have become very self aware of how my entire body feels and their opinion is wrong.

    I've come to believe that my eye irritation is the derivative problem of my gut not functioning properly, probably the result of taking so many antibiotics over a span of multiple years, and killing off the positive bacteria needed to create proper equilibrium.

    Twice over the past five years, I've had strep throat. Both times, my throat was so sore that I could not eat. However, both times this happened, in the few days that I was waiting for the penicillin to kick in, I could not eat, and during this time, my eye pain completely disappeared. Once the medication kicked in and I could eat again, my eye pain returned with a vengeance.

    There are a number of foods that I became sensitive to at the same point in time my eye pain started in 1997. If I eat one of these food items, such as raisins, my eyes become increasingly irritated within a few minutes.

    I have seen eye specialists from Los Angeles to New York, Vancouver to Miami, and none can help me. I spent two weeks at the Mayo Clinic which put me through extensive tests, all of which show I am in great health (I eat well, exercise and do not smoke) even though I always feel awful. I have seen numerous natural health practitioners over the years (naturopaths, acupuncturists, Chinese medicine doctors) and all have promised me great results yet none have occurred after I try crazy programs, including a 100 day stint of consuming no sugar, gluten, caffeine or alcohol while eating all organic and cooking with coconut oil!

    However, recently I found an old article on CNN's website that led me in a new direction. The article talks about antibiotic induced health problems and how one person experienced relief from a probiotic called Florastor. I was already taking a half packet in the morning of the probiotic HMF Replete and I bought the Florastor and started taking the package's recommended daily maximum of 6 pills (2 pills, 3x daily) in addition to the HMF Replete. Within a day of starting the Florastor, my eye pain had reduced about 50%, my joint pain disappeared, my skin was not as dry, my tongue was not nearly as coated and I no longer felt bloated.

    I was feeling much better for 2.5 weeks but there was a problem: on day 2 and on day 16, I developed vertigo for the first time and became nauseous. I called the manufacturer of Florastor and was told that nausea is not a side effect but the daily maximum dose is 4 pills instead of the 6 stated on the packaging. I went to the internet and found third party sites that state 'severe dizziness' is a potential side effect. I have scaled the consumption back to 4 pills daily but I am not experiencing the same level of relief that I realized when taking 6 pills daily.

    This past week I found an online article at Eyeworld that discusses how probiotics may benefit eye health; Dr. Latkany is even quoted in the article. That article is called Perspective on Probiotics and can be found at: http://www.eyeworld.org/article.php?sid=4964 .

    Something else I find interesting is that last week a researcher at the University of Calgary announced that while working on a lubricant for joint pain, he discovered the remedy can also provide relief for dry eyes. That article is: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/...841/story.html . I find this really interesting because when the 6 daily Florastor probiotic pills were providing relief for my eyes, my chronic joint pain disappeared. When I scaled back the number of Florastor pills I was consuming, my eye pain increased as did the joint pain; there is a strong positive correlation between the two.

    It appears as though researchers are beginning to move in the proper direction to find a solution for all of us who have brutal, chronic eye pain. I am convinced that the solution for fixing the eyes lies in fixing the gut. I intend to take probiotics for an extended period to see what benefits may be achieved and I will post back if sustainable improvement is experienced.

  2. #2
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    Thank you for sharing--please keep us updated. I have started Florastor myself, I think my slightly dry eyes are associated with digestive issues I have. I was on Doxycycline for a month and another yeast killing antibiotic for a few days. I think it killed the good flora--I was fine for a month after the antibiotics, but then I started having normal digestive problems and then dry eye problems and then worse and worse digestive problems. Along with dry mouth and dehydration feeling and... well i'm hoping the Florastor helps with the digestion issues, if it does and I still have dry eye i'll go from there.

    Humidity is my eyes friend right now...

  3. #3
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    Thanks for that really interesting information. I was on probiotics for awhile but went off them when I didn't notice a difference. I don't really understand much about them, my naturopath recommended them. What is the difference between florastor vs. other probiotics? Do they work on different strains of bacteria?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thirsty View Post
    Thank you for sharing--please keep us updated. I have started Florastor myself, I think my slightly dry eyes are associated with digestive issues I have. I was on Doxycycline for a month and another yeast killing antibiotic for a few days. I think it killed the good flora--I was fine for a month after the antibiotics, but then I started having normal digestive problems and then dry eye problems and then worse and worse digestive problems. Along with dry mouth and dehydration feeling and... well i'm hoping the Florastor helps with the digestion issues, if it does and I still have dry eye i'll go from there.

    Humidity is my eyes friend right now...
    Feeling pretty worried right now. I also took an antibiotic for like a month, and I feel that my eyes got better. I have very dry mouth as well, but I had that before I started with the antibiotic (and was one of the main reason why I took it), I hope my eyes won't get worse.

    Hope you are all doing better!

  5. #5
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    Update

    The Florastor definitely helped my digestion. I did a lot of searching on the internet about it before I took it, there's really almost nothing bad to be found about it. Probiotics allegedly are only good for you, not bad.

    My eyes still get a little dry at times--but I will tell you, once the diarrhea stopped and I got hydrated again my eyes started getting better. I was using drops several times a day--probably at least a dozen, worse at night. I did find that eye gel at night was making things worse. My eyes would be so dry in the morning that I would have to use eye drops. It was a bad cycle.

    I now have some other symptoms, such as a hard heart beat and ringing in my ears and occasional headache. Been to the doctors, all they have found so far is a vitamin D deficiency. Wish I could get rid of the ringing in my ears, but hopefully it will go away with time.

    Best of luck to all, and I strongly recommend you stop using eye gel at night if you can. I switched from systane/refresh pm to theratears liquid gel for a couple weeks before I switched to only theratears drops at night before bed, then I tried one night without any drops at all--and it was fine. I found that the drops kind of burned a little when I put them in, so I felt like it was hurting more than it was helping.

    This forum and website was a huge help in me figuring it out. My eye doctor had no idea what to do, and just said keep using the drops as much as you need.

    It all started with Contact Lens Kerititus, and it didn't go away in the three days they said it would. It took more like two months of struggling. Every once and a while I still feel a little dry, but I just ignore it. Hoping with the change of season from winter here in Boston to spring it will get better on it's own completely.

    Try to stop using the oil / petroleum based gel at night if you can.
    Stay hydrated, get out in the sun (vitamin d!), stay positive. Seriously.

  6. #6
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    I can't say i'm an expert in probiotics, but one of the things I was convinced for Florastor was that they say that it actuially makes it to your gut because of the case it comes in. It doesn't all dissolve in the stomach, and makes it through. So if other probiotics haven't worked, give Florastor a try. I have no interest in selling Florastor, it just worked for me. I think i'm going to try to stop using it soon, see how it goes. Of course, it's a little expensive, but it's worth it for your health. Could be much worse!

  7. #7
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    Thanks for sharing your experience with Florastor! I am intrigued. I have been told I have digestive issues, which may be contributing to my dry eyes, and have been using regular probiotics. I am tempted to try the Florastor acts on a different mechanism and may be of more immediate benefit. Here is some into for those who are interested:
    http://florastor.ca/florastor-inform...-is-florastor/

  8. #8
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    Thanks a lot for these stories! Especially thanks to Ronny for giving me this link in my thread that I started, really!

    How's it going for you guys?

    I took accutane as well and now my body is just totally ruined. Can't get my training started because my body starts to hurt a lot and I think everything is related. What do you mean exactly with joint pain? My gut is really bad as well so I will give florastor a try. Please give us some updates

  9. #9
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    As a follow up to my original post above, I've been on multiple types of probiotics for 2.5 months now and my eyes do feel better shortly after I consume high doses of probiotics, but then the results trail off. Florastor absolutely helps the most but I am cautious with the consumption amount after the two instances of vertigo I developed on the first 16 days of that probiotic. High doses of acidophilus help but not to the degree that Florastor does. Like so many others on this board, my dry eye was absolutely caused by Accutane. I figure that Accutane is a much higher dose of antibiotic than what the body should consume so I am attempting to reverse the process by taking a higher dose of probiotic than what is recommended. For instance, if a bottle of acidophilus says 'take 1 pill daily' I am taking 6 daily. Taking Accutane did not cause dry eye overnight and reversing the process will not happen overnight either so I intend to take high doses of probiotics/acidophilus for this entire year and see if it makes any difference. The FDA doesn't care about the side effects of Accutane and drug companies haven't figured out how lucrative the dry eye market is so adequate research and development is not being conducted, meaning I will have to conduct my own science experiment with probiotics.

    Andrey, in response to your post above, by joint pain I mean that my body feels exhausted 24/7 even though I exercise, eat really healthy and don't smoke. When I go to the gym my body aches and cracks when I do exercises for big muscle parts like squats and bench press. However, when I consume higher doses of probiotics (again most specifically Florastor, unfortunately, because of the vertigo it has caused) my body feels way better, my joints do not hurt and my range of motion increases substantially.

    I am super frustrated with the long, slow recovery. In addition to probiotics, I am considering trying Zithromax and, if unsuccessful, then Minocycline again, but this time while continuing to take probiotics (but waiting at least two hours after antibiotic consumption). Does anyone else have any experiences - good or bad - with Zithromax or Minocycline?

  10. #10
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    Hey Ronnie, glad Florastor helps a bit at least. I have ordered it and will have it soon. Are you sure you are doing the right thing by consuming a lot more than recommended? Maybe it could get even worse somehow...

    I so know what you mean about the body. It's just cracking all the time and you get exhausted much more easier than before. Like, I can't even make more than 10 push-ups anymore. It's so brutal. I have been going to a chiropractor (damn, its expensive) and he has given me quite a lot of stretch exercises that I will be doing for a couple of weeks. I really hope this will help.

    Also, feels that Accutane made me lactosintolerant.

    I just finished a cure with Azithromax. My eyes were feeling insanly good while taking it, but now after a few weeks everything has come back. I wouldn't recommend you using too much antibiotics.

  11. #11
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    Is zithromax the same as erythromycin?

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    Not sure, but I don't think so.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenn1 View Post
    Is zithromax the same as erythromycin?
    No, zithromax is azithromycin.
    Rebecca Petris
    The Dry Eye Zone

  14. #14
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    Rebecca, how are you doing with your eyes? Have you had problems for a long time? Honestly now, is it even possible to get better in the eyes or should I just stop wasting my time trying different things?

    I'm going to visit an eye doctor soon, it's the first time ever that I'm visiting an eye doctor, what do you guys think I should say exactly?

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    Get the eye doc to check EVERYTHING and that includes your tear film (oil glands and aqueous), eyelids, lash line, eye surface, cornea etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrey View Post
    I'm going to visit an eye doctor soon, it's the first time ever that I'm visiting an eye doctor, what do you guys think I should say exactly?
    Check out The Dry Eye Zone's homepage: http://www.dryeyezone.com/

    From there, you can read about getting a diagnosis: http://www.dryeyezone.com/encyclopedia/diagnosis.html .

    You can also take Rebecca's list of questions to an ophthalmologist:

    1) How is my tear quantity?
    2) Do you see any dry spots?
    3) Can you check for staining?
    4) Can you press on my meibomian (oil) glands? Are they releasing oil? Is the oil clear and flowing freely? If not what does it look like?
    5) Do you see inflammation?
    6) Do you see signs of allergy?

    Good luck!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenn1 View Post
    Is zithromax the same as erythromycin?
    Can't we dig deeper into this? As I said before, I took azithromycin for 24 days and I felt insanly good in my eyes, but then after a few weeks after my cure was finished problems came back.. What is the solution to keep the result? Can you take antibiotic for months and maybe then you kill all the bad bacterias? Maybe I took it too short???

  18. #18
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    I think in my case and possibly for yours a antibiotics is the culprit for our eye problems. Have you noticed any digestive issues? Maybe it is Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibio...iated_diarrhea I believe I had that for about 5 weeks and finally took some florastor. It has helped with the diarrhea, but not everything.

    I think it's my problem. I took Amoxicillin for a long time as a teenager for acne. Then about 7 months ago now I was put on a tetracycline for about a month. I had some varying digestive issues before, but nothing this bad until the tetracycline. It solved my other problem, but now I have dry eyes, dry mouth, ringing in my ears and occasional diarrhea... I just started to use Align, with the Florastor. I was using another probiotic but it didn't seem to help much so I switched to Align. All the research I have done says that for the most part, probiotics aren't dangerous (of course, I am not a doctor) and I decided it's worth trying.

    Let us know if anything helps--i'm kind of just experimenting. Modern medicine can solve some problems but with digestion and antibiotics it seems that they don't know enough yet.

  19. #19
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    Just copying my text from other thread.

    Littlemermaid, no I'm not taking anything right now because I'm sure it won't help me anyways. I took crill oil for some weeks but didn't notice any difference, and I don't dare to test flaxseed because then I might get my acne back and it won't go away if I don't go another accutane cure, and let's say that I really don't have the energy for that. =)

    What about this? http://www.eyecareeducators.com/site...ysfunction.htm

    Is it easy to get this from a doctor?

    I have said before that azithromycin helped me a lot and while I ate it my eyes were feeling close to perfect, but as soon as I stopped taking it, problems slowly came back. I got a PM from a nice person that told me that he/she had been taking antibiotic for 20 years for his/her MGD. I think the person took doxycycline. Is it possible to take azithromycin for years as well? I don't want to try doxy because I've seen several people saying azithromycin is better and since I know it worked great last time, I wanna try it again. I don't know what is best though, to order the pills that you just swallow or the thing that you put in your eyes. What do you think is the best option?

  20. #20
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    Why do you think the night time gel was hurting your eyes? I'm super curious about this!

    I feel like the more drops I put in, the less inflamed my eyes are, the more they can heal, etc.

    My eyes pop open at night so I definitely need some sort of protection there... I've been doing a combination of tape and sterile petroleum jelly.

  21. #21
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    Obviously everyone is different. I think that since my problems are connected to my digestive system, there isn't a mechanical or chronic issue specifically with my eyes, but a system wide "fight of flight" response to not being able to extract enough protein, nutrients, etc out of the food during digestion due to Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea (again this is my theory).

    I also think stress was/is part of it--being required to put stuff in my eyes and keep them shut once I put it in was stressful to me. I couldn't really do a good job of it myself, so if I had to go away from my wife, it was even more stressful.

    Anyway, back to the gel. The gel, without question for me, was making my eyes dryer. It was definitely good as a physical barrier while sleeping, but I think I used it much longer than I needed to. I struggled and struggled until one day I realized the more drops and stuff in my eyes I used, the worse they got. So I started out trying not to use drops at all by being in a humid place, using humidifiers etc. My eyes started doing a little better, but at night they got much worse. Finally after a few weeks of trying not to use drops, I was able to go through the day without using them. I'd still get a little dry at night, but I would just basically ignore it until sleep time. Finally, I was reading on this site and decided that maybe I could try to go without the white petroleum in my eyes at night. I bought Theratears Gel, which is quite a bit thicker than a regular drop. I put that in at night instead of the petroleum. Maybe three weeks of this, one night I ran out of Theratears Gel, I though I had more. I decided to take some tylenol PM and see if I would make it through the night without my eyes freaking out.

    I did. And since then, I haven't touched any drops or gel or petroleum.

    I haven't worn contacts since all of this began either.

    If your eyes are opening at night, that's much different than the problems I had/have.

    I can only tell you my experience--of course, everyone is different.

    Stick in there, don't give up fighting. Keep a positive attitude. You eyes want to be healthy as much as you want them to!

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    HI Ronnie: I was reading your post and I think that you are on the right track in fixing your gut with the probiotics but it seems to me that you might be missing part of the equation. Have you ever researched bovine colostrum to actually heal the gut and kick start your immune system then using the probiotics to keep it healthy. Here is a link that you might find interesting http://www.icnr.org/all-about-colostrum/ check it out and good luck in your quest...F/G

  24. #24
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    Hi All,

    My eyes have slowly gotten much better. If you read above, you can see that I stopped using drops and gels in my eyes and that was my first step to getting better. Then I started taking probiotics. The one I started with was Florastor, which stopped my diarrhea. I'd had 6 weeks of it due to either a virus or what I've now know, which is my intolerance for ice cream, milk, and things of that nature. I've been using various probiotics sine, because I believe that antibiotics killed my good flora (along with an infection which I had).

    I have used Culturrelle, Align, Pearls, and I was recently told by my gastroenterologist about VSL #3. VSL 3 is a very strong probiotic and I recommend starting with some of the other ones first. At least there are options--these probiotics aren't harmful to me as far as I can tell and strengthen the immune system which is directly linked to many parts of the body, including the eyes. I have recently (gasp) been thinking about wearing my contacts again. We'll see if I take that step or not! I have learned a lot more than I ever wanted to about my body and I can tell you I was so stressed out about all of this. I know have a constant ringing in my ears from the stress I was going through. I may see an accupunctureist to see if they can help me with that.

    I just count my blessings and am thankful that I found a way to get feeling good again!

  25. #25
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    so thirsty... what probiotics are you taking now??? the VSL#3?
    I am thinking of trying florastor...
    Jenny

  26. #26
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    i read the article where Dr. L is quoted several times.. He meantioned Lactobacillus acidophillus... i already take that..i may look into florastor as well! ronnie-you still taking florastor?
    Jenny

  27. #27
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    I would start with either Florastor, Culturelle, or Align. They seem to be the best ones out there (my opinion from my experience) that are on the shelf in almost every drug store. I tried Pearls too for a while, but probably not long enough to know if it was good or not.

    By the way, going to Target for these (and most items) is way, way cheaper than the local drug store.

    I'm currently using VSL #3, been doing so for a couple weeks now. I feel like I have more energy than I've had in the past year and I haven't been exercising for the past two years. I haven't had the energy at the end of the day. But the past couple days I have felt like I had the energy to do so. I plan on starting to exercise again, since so much of our health is tied to being active.

    I've heard they sell VSL3 at Costco. I've yet to get over there to investigate.

    I think start with one of the above mentioned probiotics and see how it goes. Everyone is different--but I think that if you are having digestive issues, this is a very inexpensive and non-invasive way of seeing if it works.

    Some people complain about having to pay for probiotics and the cost of becoming healthy again. I look at it the other way: I would spend my last dollar to be healthy as possible. I can always earn more money, but I can't buy a new body.

    By the way, my nickname is "Thirsty" because when I signed up for this site my whole body was depraved of liquids. I was drinking water (and electrolytes) like crazy but no help. My thirst has gone away over time and I don't feel thirsty like I did anymore.

    Best wishes!

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