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Candidiasis


Introduction

Candida albicans is a naturally occurring yeast organism that inhabits the intestines, genital tract, mouth, esophagus, and throat. Normally, this fungus lives in healthy balance with the other bacteria and yeasts in the body; however, certain conditions can cause it to multiply, weakening the immune system and causing an infection known as candidiasis. When candida yeast spreads throughout the body, it poisons the bloodstream and causes a hypersensitivity reaction. This can lead to infections throughout the body, food sensitivities, leaky gut, oral thrush and irritable bowel symptoms.

Candida usually occurs as a result of poor immune function, often due to frequent antibiotic, birth control, or steroid drug usage. In addition, antibiotics and birth control pills will destroy the "friendly" bacteria that are necessary to keep candida under control. Candida feeds on other yeasts and sugars and multiplies very quickly and as an immune-compromising condition, candida is extremely hard to overcome. Treatment of candida requires specific nutritional intervention to kill the candida yeast and prevent the candida colonies from releasing toxins into the bloodstream.

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Common Symptoms

  1. Recurrent digestive problems, gas, bloating or flatulence
  2. Rectal itching or chronic constipation alternating to diarrhea
  3. A white coating on your tongue (thrush)
  4. Craving for sugar, bread, or alcoholic beverages
  5. Unusual irritability or depression
  6. Frequency of colds that take many weeks to go away
  7. Unexplained headaches, muscle aches and joint pain
  8. Feel sick, yet the cause cannot be found
  9. Symptoms worsen on muggy days
  10. Poor memory, brain fog, difficulty concentrating
  11. PMS, PMDD, or endometriosis
  12. Chronic vaginal yeast infections or frequent bladder infections
  13. Chronic fungal infections like ringworm, jock itch, nail fungus or athlete's foot
  14. Hives, psoriasis, eczema or chronic dermatitis
  15. Oversensitivity to chemicals, tobacco, perfume or insecticides
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Common Causes

Repeated use of antibiotics and corticosteroid drugs kill the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract promoting yeast overgrowth; poor diet high in refined sugars, yeasted breads and overly processed foods; hormone replacement medications and birth control pills; a high stress level, too much alcohol, poor sleep.

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Natural Treatment

The management of candida albicans requires a multifaceted approach. Ideally, one would remove any of the possible culprits listed above. From a medication standpoint, however, this can be tricky since many health conditions are reliant upon medicine for treatment. Therefore, natural approaches to destroy the candida and prevent it from returning must be addressed through diet and nutritional intervention (online or in person). Testing for candida is very helpful to further determine the level of yeast overgrowth as well as any additional bacteria or pathogens that may be present in the gastrointestinal tract. A GI Panel will offer the most comprehensive approach to measuring these levels as well as assessing gut membrane integrity and gluten sensitivity. Since candida often leads to leaky gut syndrome, which causes food sensitivities, a food allergy test is highly recommended to isolate foods that may be exacerbating immune system suppression. Because the candida albicans yeast strain takes advantage of lowered immunity to overrun the body, a healthy liver and a strong immune system are the key to lasting control of candida. Anti-fungal supplements are very helpful in killing off the yeasts as well. It is important to note that when treating candida, it is common to feel worse before you feel better; however this is part of the natural healing process. The more nutritional support that is provided, the less intense the "die off" reaction will be and the quicker one will experience full system recovery.

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References

Page L. Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone Eleventh Edition. Traditional Wisdom, Inc; 2000.

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