Morgellons Disease

February 2, 2017

Morgellons syndrome or ‘fiber’ disease has been characterized by unusual skin wounds, fibers and specks that appear to be extruded from the skin along with peripheral neuropathies that are described as itching or crawling feeling under the skin.

Morgellons disease is a debilitating illness, with Lyme-like symptoms suggesting systemic involvement. It is characterized by painful, concave, ulcerating lesions with subcutaneous and projecting filaments. The term Morgellons was coined in 1674 by Sir Thomas Browne in his monograph entitled “De vermiculis capillaribus infantium. The affected person had critical break outs of hair-like extrusions from the back which upon occurring; relieved the child from “coughs and convulsions”. Since the first description, the term Morgellons disease has faded into obscurity. It was not until 2002 when the mother of a child with a similar skin condition resurrected this term and began the Morgellons Research Foundation.

For many decades, Morgellons disease has been thought to be related to delusional parasitosis, a psychiatric disorder where patients mistakenly believe they are infested with a skin parasite. However, investigators at the Morgellons Research Foundation have attempted to distinguish it from delusional parasitosis. They conclude that more information is needed to formally define this disease.

MD is a debilitating, painful and life impacting condition consisting of slow-healing skin lesions, overwhelming fatigue, GI disturbances and an array of neurological deficits. Patients with Morgellons may shed unusual appearing particles from the skin described as fibers, sand or seed-like, black specks, or crystalized particles.


There has been much debate over the nature of Morgellons whether it is infectious, environmental or psychiatric. There is a proposed association with Lyme disease and more recently, the Morgellons Research Foundation have identified an association with 3 more bacterial pathogens: Chlamydophila pneumonia, Babesia species and Borrelia species. The number of cases related to infection is small and at this stage there is no evidence that these bacteria directly cause Morgellons disease.

Borrelia, a spirochetal bacterium, has been detected in all Morgellons study subjects so far. Borrelia is detected by multiple methods in abundance within Morgellons skin lesions including culture. Other bacteria commonly found in some but not all Morgellons skin lesions include H. pylori, Bartonella and Treponema denticola.

Most dermatologists believe that Morgellons disease is a psychiatric illness which is analogous to delusional parasitosis and is a reflection of compulsive skin picking. In support of this theory is the absence of positive confirmatory tests.

The ulcers are distinguished from dermatitis artefacta because the patient usually accepts that they have caused the skin lesions while attempting to remove the fibres. Research has determined that the filaments and shed materials are products of epithelial cells and are composed of collagen and keratin. Filaments can often be visualized stemming directly from cells and a retained nucleus can often be visualized at the base of the filament. The coloring of the filaments is not well understood but research has shown that the blue filaments contain granules of melanin.


Morgellons Disease is systemic; affecting all body systems, once an infection is fully established. Initial symptoms often present as skin related, as if afflicted with mites, lice, fleas and ‘dandruff’ and dry skin. Morgellons disease shares characteristics with various recognized conditions and may be found in patients with Chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Irritable bowel syndrome, Gulf War syndrome, Attention-deficit disorder and various skin disorders caused by fungus and bacteria. The symptoms include –

  • Itchy scalp and skin
  • Sensation of crawling on/under skin (formication) and in ears (especially nocturnally or after consuming sugar)
  • Insect-like ‘bites’ and stinging sensations on skin
  • Skin rash, including red areas on cheeks
  • Small ‘blood spots’ on skin
  • Burning sensation on skin or feeling of very small pin pricks
  • White flakes, ‘spores’, ‘eggs’, granules and ‘glitter’ from skin pores and hair
  • Fibres coming from skin pores and lesions, of different lengths and colours: (blue, white, transparent, black, red)
  • Fibre balls/bundles coming out of skin pores
  • Black specs coming out of skin pores
  • Skin lesions, sores, pimples or spots – that heal slowly (eg. red spots or scabs on nose & checks)
  • Healed lesions causing scaring or hypopigmentation
  • Mole ‘like’ spots appearing, raised on skin (Micro-angiomas 0.5 to 3.0 mm in diameter)
  • Skin thinning (shins, back of hands) and unexplained bruising
  • Cellulitis (above major muscle groups)
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Hair loss on scalp, eye brows, eye lashes
  • Growth of soft, white villous hairs on face and arms
  • Ingrowing hairs and black roots on infected hairs
  • Scalp hair irritating skin when wet and highly static when dry
  • Pitting on nails and fungal infections

Complications involved

Effects on Cardiovascular System

  • Irregular/fast heart beat and sudden pain without exertion
  • Circulation & temperature regulation problems (low core temperature)
  • Poor capilary refill, Reynaud’s syndrome

Effects on Endocrinal system –

  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Hypercalcaemia
  • Weight loss/gain

Effects on Digestive system –

  • Irritable bowel
  • Distended abdomen
  • Malabsorption
  • Colo-rectal discomfort
  • Constipation or loose bowels
  • Rumbling stomach

Effects on Musculoskeletal system –

  • Stiff neck upon movement and aching shoulders
  • Pain at base of spine around sacrum (pelvis) and coccyx (anus)
  • Inflammed, aching and stiff joints (fingers, elbows, hips, knees)
  • Weakness in wrists

Effects on Lymphatic & Immune system –

  • Inflamed lymph nodes (eg. under jaw line, arm pits, groin)
  • Immune system disruption

Effects on Central Nervous System –

  • Numb fingers and/or toes (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Racing thoughts
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog – (eg. problems with finding words)
  • Fatigue and lack of concentration
  • Pressure headaches

Effects on Urinary System –

  • Kidney ache (can manifest as lower back pain)
  • Bladder weakness
  • Urinary tract infections

Effects on Eyes, ears, nose and throat

  • Declining sight, grit feeling, white particles in tear ducts and eye inflammation
  • Declining hearing
  • Loss of balance
  • Heavy staining on teeth/gum interface
  • Gum disease and pain in gums
  • Furrows in tongue
  • Increased saliva


Psychological Impact –

  • Depression
  • Increased irritability and decreasing patience
  • Bipolar
  • ADD



The treatment of Morgellons disease is difficult. The affected individual has often seen numerous physicians and feels misunderstood. Although there are anecdotal reports of improvement with antibiotics, in most cases treatment require appropriate counseling. Patients may benefit from anti-psychotic drugs.

Antibiotics are chemical compounds used to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Strictly speaking, antibiotics are a subgroup of organic anti-infective agents that are derived from bacteria or moulds that are toxic to other bacteria. However, the term antibiotic is now used loosely to include anti-infectives produced from synthetic and semisynthetic compounds.

The term antibiotic may be used interchangeably with the term antibacterial. However, it is incorrect to use the term antibiotic when referring to antiviral, antiprotozoal and antifungal agents.

It is important to reassure the individual that there is no true infection or infestation, and to listen and understand the individual’s distress. As there is a high association with psychiatric illnesses, it is important to screen for these and refer to a psychiatrist if deemed appropriate.

Lipid Replacement Therapy is important for fatigue and mitochondrial function. The Institute for Molecular Medicine has conducted several clinical trials on the use of Lipid Replacement Therapy to reduce fatigue and restore mitochondrial function, which is important for general health and recovery from chronic illnesses.


Alternative treatment

Chlorella is a type of algae found in fresh water that is used to create nutritional supplements. This compound contains powerful amino acids, peptides, proteins, vitamins and nucleic acids. These properties increase the good bacteria in the body and eliminate the bad, so it serves as an effective treatment for Morgellons.

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural compound composed of hydrogen peroxide. When hydrogen peroxide is introduced into the body, it oxidizes releasing hydrogen and oxygen and eliminating invasive cells, viruses and bacteria. When taken orally or used as a bath treatment, hydrogen can eliminate the underlying cause of Morgellons.

Alfalfa is an herb used in the treatment of many conditions. The herb itself creates an alkaline environment in the body, an environment in which many diseases cannot survive.

Probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus – Probiotics, or “friendly” bacteria, help maintain intestinal health. If the patient takes antibiotics to treat Morgellons disease, the antibiotics will kill the “good” bacteria along with the bad. That can cause diarrhea or yeast infections.

Beta-glucan – This is a kind of fiber, is sometimes used to help fight Morgellons disease. Beta-glucan is thought to stimulate the immune system, so people with weakened immune systems, or those who take drugs to suppress their immune systems, should ask their doctors before taking it.

Garlic (Allium sativum) – This has antibacterial effects, and one study suggested it may help prevent tick bites. In that study, people who took garlic reported fewer bites than those who took a placebo. Garlic may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if the person also takes blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin.

Berberine provides broad-spectrum immune support, promotes healthy respiratory mucus membranes, maintains healthy immune response, and it also helps maintain the body’s normal intestinal flora.

Oregon grape root for goldenseal or the Chinese herb coptis. The herb is used for constipation, bloating, intestinal issues, psoriasis, and other skin diseases. It kills parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Echinacea increases white blood cell count. Use Echinacea for anything involving the immune system. Echinacea is also helpful with acute infections including urinary and intestinal tract infections.

Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) is a natural remedy for many internal parasites. It’s also a good ingredient to look for in mouthwash and eye wash formulas and recipes.

Food grade diatomaceous earth absorbs methyl mercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses, organophosphate pesticide residues, and drug residues. Its positive effects include killing intestinal parasites, balancing the intestinal flora, killing viruses, and absorbing toxins.

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