Candida is a type of yeast that takes up residence in various niches in the body such as the skin, mouth, intestinal tract, and vagina. We all have Candida living in our body. t's only a problem when there ends up being more than there is supposed to be.
Symptoms will vary person to person. In order to figure out if you have an overgrowth, it's important to know some of the symptoms.
Common symptoms -
Chronic urinary infections
Digestive Issues - gas, bloat, IBS symptoms
Sugar and carbohydrate cravings - (these are usually strong)
Joint pain and muscle aches
Thrush - white coating on tongue
Recurring yeast infections
Anxiety and Depression
Mood Swings & irritability
Recurring sinus infections
Candida rarely exist by themselves. If you have an overgrowth of the yeast, you also have an excess of other opportunistic microbes in the gut. Candida can lead to leaky gut and before you know it you have food sensitivities. Because the symptoms in the digestive tract overlap with other conditions it can be confusing to figure out.
Many women with Interstitial Cystitis struggle with chronic pelvic pain, yeast infections, urinary tract infections and often Candida overgrowths.
What causes Candida overgrowths?
The question is why do some of us experience overgrowth, but the rest of us never know the fungus is even present?
1. Impaired immune function
Underlying immune dysfunction can be a result of chronic illness (including chronic Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome) or any immune-weakening disease or condition.
Lifestyle factors may be at play:
Lack of sleep
Nutrient Deficiencies from poor diet choices
2. Gut dysfunction
In addition to immune system dysfunction, candida overgrowth is typically preceded by a breakdown in your gut health, and microbiome imbalance is soon to follow. Inadequate digestive support is another gut dsyfunction that can lead to Candida.
These conditions coincide with overgrowth -
leaky gut syndrome
IBS - irritable bowel syndrome
lack of stomach acid, bile, enzymes
3. Antibiotic use
Antibiotics target bacteria – including the ones that are helpful to your body shifting the balance of microbes in your gut. I often see other clients who have taken multiple rounds of antibiotics especially if they have a history of urinary tract infections. I personally took antibiotics and believe this lead to my poor gut health .
4. A carb-loaded diet
Sugar and refined carbohydrates act as fuel sources for candida. When you feed candida, you facilitate overgrowth and microbiome disruption, which further disrupts the immune system. Sugar cravings are strong and women often don't understand why they can't stop eating carbs. The Candida bugs love carbs and sugar and actually cause your strong cravings.
5. Environmental toxins
Exposure to environmental and chemical toxins like mold. Both mold spores and mold metabolites, known as mycotoxins, are present in the air. When inhaled, they can suppress your immune system and allow candida overgrowth.
How does someone find out whether they have a candida overgrowth?
1. StoolAnalysis - GI Map test - I can order this test for you
2. Oats - Urine Organic Acids test – I can help you get this test
3. CBC labs with differential - doesn't necessarily pinpoint candida but can indicate underlying bacterial infections
4. Candida spit test - not always reliable – helpful when accessed with symptoms and history
How do you get rid of Candida Overgrowth?
1. Targeted herbs and anti -fungals. It's important to work with someone to know what else is going on in your body. There are lots of Candida protocols and it's confusing trying to figure which is the right for you.
2. Candida diet protocol ( focus on avoiding sugar, flour and starchy vegetables)
3. Supporting your digestive and immune system
4. Lifestyle choices
5. Stress management - This is a big one! How do you perceive stress in your life?
Because candida is rarely the only thing going on, it's important to work with someone who can help you. Let me know if you'd like to talk on a free 20-minute consultation call. click HERE
Nutrition and Functional Medicine Coach
The information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or be medical advice.
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