It is perhaps one of the most commonly experienced fungus, the Candida overgrowth, and though its symptoms are very easy to pinpoint, Candida is not very much accepted as a disease that needs to be treated in the Western medical practice. To best understand what exactly what Candida, how to test if you have it and how to treat it naturally, keep reading!
Many people think that Candida is only a female issue. Though vaginal yeast candida overgrowth infections are one of the many types, other very common forms of Candida yeast infections include athlete’s foot, ringworm, oral thrush, jock itch, and other fungal skin irritations (these affect both men and women).
It is a fungus, (a form of yeast) and lives in the mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with normal digestion and nutrient absorption. But when out of control and overproduced, candida breaks down the wall of the intestine, penetrates the bloodstream, releases toxic byproducts into the body and causes leaky gut. It doesn't sound and certainly does not feel pleasant. This reaction in the body over time can lead to a plethora of different health problems, ranging from digestive issues, skin breakouts, rashes and irritations, all the way to emotional issues.
➢ Bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, new sensitivities to commonly eaten foods
➢ Skin irritations and outbreaks (eczema, hives, rashes, psoriasis)
➢ Fatigue (chronic fatigue), headache, depression, irritability, disorientation, dizziness, inability to concentrate
➢ Autoimmune disorder sufferers (ex. fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis)
➢ Strong sugar cravings, sensitivities to chemicals and perfumes, alcohol intolerance, increased susceptibility to the side effects of medications
➢ Irritable mood swings and bouts of depression
➢ Muscle and joint aches, sinusitis and recurrent colds, recurrent skin rashes
➢ Difficulty concentrating, poor focus, foggy brain, ADD, ADHD and poor memory
➢ (In women), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), decreased libido, recurrent vaginal yeast infection, vulvar itching and pain
➢ (In men), prostate and bladder infections, itching in genitalia areas Source: MindBodyGreen.com
The healthy bacteria in your gut typically keep your candida levels in check. However, several factors can cause the candida population to get out of hand.
Diet is most telling for possible candida overgrowth.
➧ Refined Carbohydrates & Sugar
➧ Too much fermented foods (sauerkraut, pickles and Kombucha)
➧ Antibiotic Usage ("Antibiotics attack bacteria in the body, but they don’t know the difference between the good flora and the bad. They end up destroying all of the bacteria in your intestines, and then there is not enough good bacteria to keep the Candida organism under control. When this happens, Candida yeast infections develop." Source: empoweredsustenence.com)
Blood tests that check for levels of IgG, IgA, and IgM candida anti-bodies can be checked through most any lab. Be specific when ordering a lab blood test. High levels indicate an overgrowth of candida.
Stool testing allows for search of candida in the colon or lower intestines. The lab can usually determine the species of yeast as well as which treatment will be effective. (Note: be sure that your doctor orders a comprehensive stool test rather than the standard stool test.)
This test detects a waste product of Candida yeast overgrowth known as D-Arabinitol. An elevated test means an overgrowth of candida. This test will determine if there is candida in your upper gut or small intestines.
The big picture is to stop the yeast overgrowth, restore friendly bacteria that maintain a homeostasis environment of good bacteria, and healing the damaged and over stimulated and stressed gut so the candida can no longer enter the bloodstream.
This can be done with a natural approach by simply changing the dietary lifestyle, void of all the "super causers of candida overgrowth" listed above. (Diet low in carbohydrate, sugar, alcohol, antibiotics, fermented foods and leading a life that is non-inflammatory, aka stress--meditate, yoga, exercise).
Boost up the beneficial intestinal bacteria by taking your pre and probiotics (25-100 billion daily), drink warm lemon water in the morning on an empty stomach and boost immune system by taking colostrum and daily multi-vitamin. Eat plenty of fresh organic greens and fresh foods as much as possible and stay away from processed foods and drinks.
Using this lifestyle and diet, your candida overgrowth should be back under control in 3-6 months. Also available is anti-fungal medication (either over the counter or through natural herbs and essential oils-essential oregano oil). A dollop of coconut oil each day should help rid the candida overgrowth as well. And don't forget acupuncture!
Additional Sources: health.howstuffworks.com, wholehealthchicago.com, huffintonpost.com