Inside Shania Twain's Experience With Lyme Disease

Shania Twain is well-known for her award-winning country music, but many people don't know about the musician's previous battle with Lyme disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common vector-borne disease in the United States is Lyme disease, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected deer, or black-legged tick. While Lyme disease is rarely life-threatening, it can become severe if left untreated and spread to vital areas of the body, like the heart.

In 2003, Twain was bit by a tick while horseback riding in Virginia and contracted the bacterial infection, CNN reports. The "Any Man of Mine" singer says her experience was "debilitating," and she had side effects so severe that she didn't know if she'd ever sing again. She lost her voice, started having problems with her vocal cords, and took a break from her music career. It took Twain seven years to figure out why she was experiencing problems with those vital muscles. The diagnosis: Lyme disease.

Shania Twain's treatment for Lyme disease

The 56-year-old singer says the experience was devastating. "I was very, very sad about it, to the point where ... I felt I had no other choice but to just accept it," Twain told TODAY. She says she was mourning the loss of her voice and underwent multiple surgeries to correct the issues with it. She credits her husband, Frederic Thiebaud, for helping her get through the tough time. Twain described the surgery as invasive but is happy with the outcome. While she says her voice will never be the same as it was before, she doesn't mind. In fact, she thinks her new voice has given her more of an opportunity to play musically, adding she has a "rasp" to her singing voice now.

When it comes to Lyme disease, the earlier you get treatment, the better the outcome will likely be. According to Medline Plus, the typical treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics. However, there are some people with Lyme disease who develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). PTLDS is when someone's symptoms of Lyme disease, such as pain and fatigue, continue for six months after treatment. Anyone with concerns about Lyme disease or PTLDS should speak with their doctor.