Candida is a common health issue that occurs as a result of a weakened immune system or as a consequence of using treatments for various ailments. Although it may not be very serious, this condition can give rise to a number of symptoms that you may never have associated with an underlying fungal infection. These could be as common as bad breath, fatigue, hormone imbalances, or allergy issues. Here's all you need to know about candida.
First of all, what is candida?
Candida Albicans is a yeast infection that develops in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina. It can affect the skin and other mucous membranes in the body and is generally not that worrying. However, there are cases where it spreads and reaches other areas of the body, including the blood and membranes around the heart or brain, especially if immune system function is low. To avoid this, we should look out for the following symptoms:
2. Cravings for sweets
3. Bad breath
4. White coat on tongue
5. Brain fog
6. Hormone imbalance
7. Joint pain
8. Loss of sex drive
9. Chronic sinus and allergy issues
10. Digestive problems (gas and bloating)
11. Weak immune system
(Symptoms will be explained in more detail further down)
If you're experiencing a number of the above symptoms in conjunction, you're likely to have candida. However, before you panic, telling your doctor that you're experiencing them might just be enough to put your mind at ease. This is because the individual symptoms can be attributed to a number of different things. In any case, candida is actually the most common type of fungal infection, and there are even natural remedies to treat it - they could start from a specific change in your diet.
The candida fungus is actually beneficial to your health when it's found in normal levels in the body - it aids digestion and nutrient absorption. The problem arises when there's overproduction of it, causing it to break down the walls of the intestinal lining and enter the blood stream, possibly leading to leaky gut syndrome. This overproduction can be triggered by changes in the body's natural pH balance, which can occur for several different reasons as outlined below.
First and foremost, it is important not to confuse Candida Albicans with Candida Overgrowth Syndrome (COS). The latter is a chronic condition that is set off by the aforementioned overproduction. In that case, symptoms are markedly worse and could include the development of new sensitivities, allergies or intolerances to certain foods, such as eggs, dairy, gluten, and corn.
What are the causes of candida infections?
Candida infections can result from a range of causes, such as our choice of diet. Excessive consumption of sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol are possible contributors to yeast growth.
Other causes include the following:
1. Use of broad-spectrum antibiotics: This type of medication can kill off both good and bad bacteria in the body, especially if it's being overused.
2. Use of birth control pills: Being on birth control while consuming a diet that's high in refined sugar makes you more susceptible to candida.
3. Use of oral corticosteroids: If you suffer from asthma and use corticosteroid inhalers to treat it, make sure that you gargle after each time you use them to get rid of any leftover chemicals. Failing to do so increases the risk of candida.
4. Use of cancer treatments: Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can kill off good bacteria in the body that naturally fight candida.
5. Diabetes: Candida is a type of yeast, and sugar feeds yeast. This means that diabetics are at higher risk of developing candida overgrowth syndrome.
6. Weakened immune system: This includes anyone from infants to the elderly, as well as those who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or any other inflammatory or autoimmune condition.
What are the symptoms?
People who have candida usually experience more than one symptom simultaneously, making it difficult for them to identify a definite underlying cause, as well as making it for harder for doctors to diagnose it definitively. While symptoms vary from one person to another, here is a list of the most prevalent ones:
1. Chronic fatigue
People who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are more susceptible to candida. They experience constant exhaustion that is impossible to overcome, regardless of how much sleep they get. It lasts for a minimum of six months, and it is often associated with joint pain, headaches, sore throats, concentration and memory problems.
2. Mood disorders
It's quite common for people suffering from candida to experience drastic mood swings. The infection can also cause irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, and even depression. Although these symptoms can be attributed to a variety of ailments, they are common in individuals that have candida. This is especially true if they experience them in conjunction with the other symptoms in this list.
3. Recurring vaginal and urinary tract infections
The presence of candida can trigger infections in the vaginal and urinary tract. Visit your doctor if you happen to be experiencing them frequently - it could be candida that's triggering them. Candida can also be sexually transmitted, so ensure that your underwear or pantyhose isn't too tight. In addition, you should avoid hot baths if you're diagnosed with candida, because it can worsen the problem.
4. Oral thrush
Oral thrush is a yeast infection that develops in the mouth, potentially affecting other mucous membranes in the body, such as the vaginal membrane. It can be brought on by the use of medications for other ailments, as aforementioned. It can also be transmitted through saliva and even when giving birth. If the problem is not treated promptly, it can spread to other organs such as the lungs, the liver, the digestive tract, and even the valves of the heart.
To treat oral thrush, combine three drops of clove oil with a tablespoon coconut oil. Swish the mixture in your mouth for 20 minutes. You can also reap further benefits from doing this by adding lavender essential oil. The latter halts candida growth, thus stopping it from spreading.
5. Sinus infections
Another symptom of candida can show up in your sinuses. Problems with your sinuses can trigger other symptoms, such as congestion, a persistent cough, seasonal allergies, postnasal drip, and general flu-like symptoms. If you frequently experience such problems, you should get checked by your doctor for a possible candida infection.
6. Intestinal distress
If you happen to observe unusual intestinal changes in your body, such as burping, bloating, persistent flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, or stomach cramps, it's possible that the root cause is candida. These symptoms arise as a consequence of yeast disrupting intestinal function. Normally, individuals who suffer from candida feel a huge difference after it has been treated successfully.
7. Brain fog
Although it's often omitted from lists of symptoms of candida overgrowth, brain fog, just like mood swings and chronic fatigue, can actually be one of the most pronounced effects of the infection. Brain fog is characterized by poor physical coordination, a lack of focus, poor memory and concentration difficulties.
8. Skin and nail fungal infections
Fungal infections on the skin or nails may be as a result of candida. These include athlete's foot, toenail fungus, and other common infections. If you observe these along with other common candida symptoms, especially over a prolonged period, make sure you get checked for candida by your doctor.
9. Hormonal imbalance
One of the byproducts of candida can mimic estrogen, and an overproduction of this can potentially lead to hormonal imbalance. This means you might experience more migraines, mood swings, PMS, a low sex drive, water retention, endometriosis, difficulty losing weight, and in some cases, even early menopause.
How can it be treated?
Cure 1: The candida cleanse
You can cleanse your body in one of two ways - either using liquids, or salads. These to provide you with enough bacteria to fight candida.
Option 1: Liquids-only candida cleanse (1-2 days)
Make a vegetable broth from organic onions, garlic, celery, kale, sea salt and pure water. Let it simmer and then strain, removing the vegetables. You may refrigerate and eat throughout the day. Drink plenty of water to get rid of unwanted toxins.
Option 2: Raw salads and steamed vegetables (3-5 days)
Eliminate grains, sugar, fruit, starch, and alcohol from your diet. Base your diet on fresh, organic steamed vegetables. Avoid starchy vegetables such as carrots, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes and white potatoes, as these may contain amounts of sugars that could feed the candida. Also, drink lots of water.
Cure 2: The candida diet
This remedy is designed to boost the immune system by substituting certain foods, which contribute to the growth of the infection, with healthier alternatives.
Simply, eliminate sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates, and replace with organic vegetables, including carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and asparagus. Eat fermented vegetables, such as Kimichi and sauerkraut.
Add cultured dairy to your diet, such as goat milk kefir. This will help kill the candida infection in your system. Drink unsweetened cranberry juice. Doing so will create an acidic environment in your body, thus deterring candida growth.
Cure 3: Supplements, essential oils, and coconut oil
This will guide you in using the right natural products to expunge or prevent candida growth in your body.
Use coconut oil both as a dietary supplement or even as an ointment. This oil has antimicrobial properties that will help your body fight off candida growth. Include milk thistle in your diet to cleanse your liver of traces of any medical treatments such as steroids, birth control pills, chemotherapy and so on. Supply your body with a lot of vitamin C to bolster the adrenal glands and boost your immune system. The recommended daily intake of this vitamin is two doses of 1,000 milligrams.
Use clove oil, oregano oil, and myrrh oil to help you quash the growth of fungi and other parasites, including candida. Lavender oil is also found to be useful here due to its antimicrobial properties. You can use a mixture of a few drops of clove oil or lavender oil combined with coconut oil. These essential oils are very powerful and effective, so it is recommended that they are taken internally for no more than 10 days.