According to www.naturopathconnect.com, Candida, or Candidiasis, is caused by candida overgrowth. In its benign form and in smaller quantities, Candida is inside all of us – in the digestive tract, mouth, and throat – isn’t a health problem. But candida can become too prevalent within the gut and change into its more virulent, fungal form. This fungal form of candida produces rhizoids – barbed appendages that cut into tissue and can cause candida to spore through the intestinal wall.
Once Candida has turned virulent and has made it’s way through the intestinal wall, it produces a multitude of problems and symptoms. One of the most prevalent is Leaky Gut Syndrome. Meaning that the irritation and sporing caused by candida, has made the intestinal wall too permeable, so that it actually leaks undigested food and toxins into the bloodstream. (Candida does not always result in this condition, as in my case. Mine, on the other hand, is now in my bloodstream and is known as Systemic Candidiasis)
While Candidiasis can be caused by a number of factors, and is typically the result of more than one cause, the recurrent use, or overuse, of antibiotics is often at least a contributing factor. Antibiotics kill off many of the good intestinal flora that restrain candida growth. Allowed to grow unchecked, candida can then morph into its fungal form and cause the problems and symptoms associated with Candidiasis.
You should also know that while candida overgrowth is not difficult to confirm through lab testing, an actual medical diagnosis of Candida can be difficult to obtain, as mainstream medicine has not widely or fully recognized candida overgrowth as a health concern. Common symptoms include:
- Severe itching sensation of the skin
- Dry mouth and tongue, cracked tongue, bleeding gums
- Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Painful and frequent urination
- Vaginal burning, itching, or painful intercourse
- Vaginal discharge with a white, cheesy appearance
- Unusual menstrual cramping
- Difficulty swallowing
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Abdominal pain, bloating, or gas
- Constipation, diarrhea, or mucus in the stool
- Depression, anxiety, sudden mood swings, lack of concentration, headaches, drowsiness, or fatigue
- Muscle and/or joint pain and swelling
- White patches in the mouth and fissures at the corners of the mouth (i.e. thrush)
- Skin irritation in the folds of the skin, such as in the groin area or under the breasts; white pustules may be present
- Retinal abscess (As a defensive cellular reaction to a Candida yeast infection within the eye’s retina, pus collects inside an inflamed tissue pocket, which may permanently damage vision.)
So how do you get Candida?
Candida can be caused by:
- Use of antibiotics - Even if you have used antibiotics ONCE for the regular duration prescribed (usually about ten days), you can develop Candida
- Birth control pills
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Exposure to pesticides - Yikes! Here's where it's necessary to watch which things you eat. Apples are particularly high in pesticides unless you buy organic.
- A weakened immune system, such as in the case of AIDS
- Type 2 diabetes (and other sugar-related conditions. I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which is essentially insulin resistance. The pancreas, when overloaded with sugar in the body, releases so much insulin that the body doesn't use it all. Because of this, the ovaries refuse to release eggs as usual. Many women are troubled by this, as it can be difficult to conceive a child. It also causes embarrassing symptoms like facial hair growth.)
- Chemotherapy and radiation treatments
- A poor, unbalanced diet
So what do you do? The first and biggest suggestion is to formulate a diet that will starve the Candida. This can be difficult for some people, since it means NO sugar, No alcohol, no wheat or corn products, no fungi.
Why no sugar? Sugar FEEDS the yeast. And anything that turns into sugar (carbs, alcohol) feeds yeast. Why no wheat or corn? Now we get into mycotoxins. Myco, meaning "fungal", and toxin, meaning "bad for you"! Grains like wheat and corn are huge crops here in the US. And they tend to sit a while before being processed and distributed. That means they have the tendency to develop mold (mycotoxins) before it even reaches the factory. Any fungus, which is what mold is, should not be ingested while a person is trying to recover from Candida.
The second suggestion is to take the BEST probiotic supplement you can afford. I found one by Solaray called Multidophilus 12 which supplies the body with 12 strains of 20 Billion living probiotic organisms. The capsules are also "enteric coated to help allow for passage through harsh stomach acids and into the small intestine." Try to make sure that is the case with your supplement. You don't want the organisms to die in your stomach... You can also take foods high in probiotics like: yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods like kimchi and saurkraut.
I am interested in trying a new treatment, though, called ThreeLac. They offer a 60-day Money Back Guarantee and have tons of testimonials on their site... I may try it out. Here is the link if you're curious: http://www.candidasupport.org/treatment_faq.html
And here are some additional dietary guidelines: http://naturopathconnect.com/articles/candida-dietary/
Do you suffer with Candida? Do you have any more questions for me? I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below.