What is Candida and What Causes its Overgrowth?
Candida albicans is a fungus or yeast that lives as a harmless micro-organism in mucus membranes of your body. It is usually found in your mouth and intestine. It is also found in the vagina. The overgrowth of this micro-organism in comparison to the other friendly micro-organism causes many different problems in the body.
READ ALSO: Yeast Infection in Women and Men
What causes Candida overgrowth?
A healthy immune system keeps Candida in balance with other micro-organisms in the mucous membranes. However, anything that causes the immune system to become depressed can cause Candida overgrowth.
There are a number of condition that can trigger candida overgrowth.
- Diet (High Sugar)– A high sugar diet works to depress your immune system leaving the yeast to multiply and conditions like brain fog and digestive problems may occur.
- Diabetes– This increases sugar content in the blood that causes candida overgrowth and the impact is increased as the body’s immunity gets weaker.
- Chronic stress– Stress releases cortisol and chronic release of cortisol due to chronic stress can weaken immunity causing candida overgrowth and other conditions in the body.
- Antibiotics– This is one of the biggest causes of the overgrowth of candida. It destroys the beneficial bacteria in the system which depresses immunity. Avoid antibiotics. You can ask your doctor for alternative. Doctors, sometimes give you antibiotics only because you want fast recovery.
- The contraceptive pill– The contraceptive pills contain estrogen. This hormone promotes growth of the yeast in the intestine. Unfortunately even the use of alternative contraceptive device IUD causes the overgrowth due to presence of copper.
- Mercury in your fillings– Dental filling containing mercury can induce candida overgrowth in the mouth. Fortunately better filling methods are now available.
- Chemical exposure– Chlorine and fluoride in the drinking water and certain drugs including cancer drugs compromises the immune system.
Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
You can feel the signs of candida overgrowth in one or more of the following ways. These candida yeast overgrowth symptoms may mimic some other conditions, so it is important to confirm them.
READ ALSO: Causes of Vaginal Itching after Sex
- Brain Fog: Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and brain fog
- Mood Swings: Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Oral Conditions: Oral thrush, bad breath , white coat on Tongue
- Allergies: Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears, Sinus infections, food allergies/intolerance
- Weak Immune System: Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Exhaustion: Feeling tired and worn down, or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Joint Pain: Joint pain, knee pain
- Digestive problems: Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Cravings: Strong cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrate
- Skin Fungus: Skin and nail fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus
- Skin Diseases: Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Genital Conditions: recurring yeast infections, Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching, vaginal itching or Loss of sex drive
How to Test for Candida Overgrowth?
Since symptoms of candida may mimic many other conditions, you may need to go for different tests for candida overgrowth syndrome
- Blood test for candida overgrowth– These blood tests involve checking the antibodies levels called IgG, IgA and IgM. The positive results of these blood tests are reflective of presence of candida overgrowth However, negative results do not guarantee absence of overgrowth. Therefore, other tests may be required.
- Gastrointestinal Candida Overgrowth Test– These are stool tests and are the most accurate indicator of candida overgrowth. These tests can give indication of the location of overgrowth as well as determine the species of yeast so that effective treatment can be given.
- Urine Organix Dysbiosis Test– Higher presence of a waste compound named D-arabinitol in the urine indicate the presence of candida overgrowth. It can also identify the location whether it is the upper gut or small intestine.
READ ALSO: Causes of Vaginal Swelling and Solutions
Candida Overgrowth Treatment
Medical treatment for candida overgrowth are effective but not as much as natural remedies. Nystatin is an oral anti-fungal medication for digestive tract, but it is not useful in any other candida overgrowth condition.
Nystatin is often the first drug prescribed to treat an overgrowth of Candida in the intestines, according to the Environmental Illness Resource. Because nystatin is not absorbed through the intestines, it is not effective in treating Candida infections outside of the digestive tract.
Amphotericin B is an anti-fungal medication that has a structure very similar to nystatin and is useful in treating the intestinal candida overgrowth. Amphotericin B can also be given intravenously, but can cause a number of side effects such as anemia, fever, chills, and confusion.
You can get rid of candida yeast overgrowth with the following natural methods. it takes time but it can completely clean your system from the overgrowth. Remember that treating Candida overgrowth in its early stages has several long term health benefits. If it remains untreated, it can confuse diagnosis by mimicking many other diseases.
The first step is to stop the yeast overgrowth. Second is to increase the buildup of the friendly bacteria in the gut and the third step is to ensure that the candida doesn’t enter the bloodstream.
READ ALSO: 8 Causes of White Particles in Urine
- Stop yeast overgrowth– In order to stop the overgrowth you have to stop feeding the candida. Sugar feeds candida. That means you have to switch to low carb diet. Get rid of all sources of sugar including candies, deserts, alcohol and refined flours. Move to whole grains, fruits, beans etc.
- Rebuild good bacteria – Consume probiotic such as Greek Yogurt to balance the good and bad bacteria in the gut.
- Stop bacteria from entering blood stream– Eliminate all foods that can harm your GI tract so that the yeast doesn’t move to rest of your body. Healing your gut is a very important part of that process to get rid of candida overgrowth from your system.
Diet for Candida Overgrowth
As stated above candida overgrowth diet is a simple diet with a discipline to avoid few foods and include a few foods to eat. The objective is to get rid of sugar containing food and inflammatory foods so that the gut health is improved and overgrowth of candida is stopped.
You can use the following guidelines for your Candida diet:
- Don’t eat any refined carbs such as white breads, white rice and other refined carbs
- Avoid intake of added sugars
- Avoid starch and stick to non-starchy vegetables
- Add healthy proteins
- Eat gluten free grains
- Eat Yogurt and other fermented products
- Eat small amounts of low-sugar fruits to maintain energy levels
- Use lots of healthy fats and oils
- Avoid junk foods
- Minimize your caffeine and Alcohol consumption
Following are some specific candida diet items and other home remedies to stop overgrowth.
Natural Remedies for Candida Overgrowth
Unadulterated plain yogurt is a perfect treatment for Candida. Yogurt contains probiotics which repair the damages caused by candidiasis. Use yogurt with live culture. It keeps the candida in check as the live Lactobacillus acidophilus culture produces lactic acid which stops candida overgrowth.
Apply on all affected area of outer skin. Keep it there for an hour and wash it completely and dry it. It not only cures Candida from the skin but also reduces itch.
For curing vaginal infection dip a tampon in yogurt and insert it into the vagina. Repeat twice a day for 3 days.
- Tree Tea Oil
This oil is useful in candida overgrowth manifested as oral thrush. Add 10-15 drops of Tree tea oil in a glass of water. Take a mouthful from the glass and gargle for a minute. Repeat it until the solution is finished. While gargling, allow the mixture touch all internal surfaces of the mouth. Ensure that you don’t swallow the solution. Repeat twice a day. One just after waking up and the other before going to the bed.
For vaginal application apply 4-5 drops on a tampon and insert it into the vagina. Keep it there for couple of hours and replace it. Repeat 3-4 times a day until the symptoms cease.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Again for the oral thrush, this is another good treatment for Candida. Mix 3-4 teaspoons of apple cedar vinegar in a glass of water. Gargle vigorously with the solution. Ensure that the solution is not swallowed. Don’t rinse it. This will leave traces of apple cedar vinegar on the affected area and cure candida overgrowth.
For vaginal infection apply 8-10 drops on a tampon and insert it into the vagina. Keep it there for 3-4 hours and replace it. Within 3 days the symptoms generally disappear.
Garlic is a natural anti-fungal and antibacterial agent. It has many sulfur-containing compounds to help fight Candida infections. You can add garlic in your daily diet. The best is to eat 2-4 cloves of garlic. Some people can’t do that because of the overpowering taste. In this case, you can take garlic supplements.
- Oil of Oregano
You can take oregano oil to get rid of your candidiasis due to its anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. A compound called carvacrol in the oregano oil stops growth of Candida yeast. Scientific studies also found that the oil’s agents can be effective in treating as well as preventing candidiasis.
Ensure that you don’t consume too much of oregano oil. 2-3 drops are enough. You can add in a glass of water and drink the mix. You can drink it twice daily until you begin to see results, then you can reduce the doses to once a day to prevent recurrence.
Cranberries contain an anti-fungal compound called arbutin Candida albicans. You can get rid of the candida overgrowth within 2-3 weeks. Make sure that you drink non sweetened fresh cranberry juice. Drink a glass of cranberry juice 2-3 times a day for a couple of weeks to get fast results.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is known for its many health benefits and it has many antimicrobial and fungal properties. These fatty acids can kill candida. You can drink one teaspoon of unrefined virgin coconut oil everyday to clear symptoms.
How to Prevent the Overgrowth
It’s better to prevent candida overgrowth than to treat it. Candida overgrowth is completely avoidable. Following are the different ways to prevent candida overgrowth.
Preventing Candida Overgrowth
The best way to prevent Candida is to avoid the things that cause it. Candida infection is a condition of overgrowth of the friendly micro-organism in the body called Candida albicans. Following are the natural Candida prevention methods:
Maintain Healthy Immune System
Dehydration, lack of nutrients, inadequate sleep and sedentary lifestyle are some of the bad habits that can weaken your immunity, exposing your body to attack. None of these things are beyond your reach. You may have to change your daily lifestyle. Changing habits are the hardest things to do. It requires you to break out of your comfort zone.
Eat nutritious diet and maintain a good exercise regime in your daily routine. Get sufficient rest and avoid stress. This is good advice not only for preventing Candida but also to prevent many other conditions and diseases.
Candida fungus thrives in the dampness and our body provides many opportunities to store moisture and make the area damp. The kind of clothing you wear can retain moisture. There are many areas of the body that retain moisture. Dampness in the body occurs in areas like armpits, pelvic area, area under the breast and other areas where ventilation is limited. These areas should be kept dry. Candida flourishes in moisture, so make sure you keep these areas dry after shower or using the toilet.
To cure any condition quickly antibiotics are prescribed, where as other medicines or home remedies would have cured the condition. The excessive use of antibiotics develops resistance to it and when you really need antibiotics to cure your serious condition, it doesn’t work because of resistance. In addition to developing resistance to antibiotics, the microbes also cause candida overgrowth.
Use Antibiotics with discretion. Ask your doctor if it is absolutely must. In addition to killing bad bacteria antibiotics also kills so many other good bacteria that are required for remaining healthy. Death of other healthy bacteria causes the proportion of the Candida albicans to be higher. This causes the infection.
Refined sugar is a major cause of many complications in the human body. Fast foods and over indulgence in carbohydrates increase blood sugar levels leading to diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes has become the biggest cause of organ failures in the word today. This leads to premature death.
Candida albicans thrives on sugar. Avoid sugar. Adding sugar to food and drinks really doesn’t add any nutritional value, it just adds taste.
Maintain proper hygiene, ensure that body parts have enough ventilation or they are dries frequently. Drink lots of water, get sufficient rest, exercise regularly, avoid inactive lifestyle and eat nutritious foods including fruits and vegetables to live a healthy life.