One of the most common causes of fungal infections is Candida overgrowth. Keep reading to find out more about this condition and how it can be addressed in this article.
In this Article:
- What Is Candida?
- Factors That Cause Candida Overgrowth
- Symptoms of Candida Yeast Overgrowth
- Other Candida Symptoms
- Diagnosing Candida Overgrowth
- Treating Candidiasis
What You Need to Know About Candida Overgrowth
What Is Candida?
Candida lives in your body, as do many other types of fungi. This is not a problem and is completely natural when the levels are normal. However, sometimes you can get Candida overgrowth, where the fungi will grow uncontrollably and cause an infection called candidiasis. Your body houses healthy bacteria that keep Candida levels low, but if good bacteria level drops or if your immune system becomes compromised, Candida will grow uncontrollably.
Candida does play an important function in your body when it’s within normal levels. It helps your body digest the food you eat and also helps your body absorb nutrients from food.
Factors That Cause Candida Overgrowth
Several things could cause a Candida overgrowth including:
- High-stress levels shutting down your digestive system and lowering your immunity.
- Taking oral contraceptives and antibiotics providing a good environment for Candida to grow.
- Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar and eating fermented foods feed the Candida fungus.
- A weak immune system -- whether from a cold, cancer treatments, or an autoimmune disease. Taking immunosuppressants also lowers your resistance. Autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, ulcerative colitis, scleroderma, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.
Once the fungus starts to grow uncontrollably, it could cause other health problems that may be difficult to correct.
Symptoms of Candida Yeast Overgrowth
People who have candidiasis may have one or more of these symptoms:
- Oral thrush, which is common in the elderly, newborns, and those with a weak immune system. You also have a higher risk of developing candidiasis if you don’t brush your teeth regularly or if you have removable dentures. Thrush in the mouth shows up as white bumpy patches on your gums, throat, tonsils, inner cheeks, or tongue that could bleed when they are scrapped. They can also be painful.
- Fatigue may or may not be caused by Candida overgrowth, but it could contribute to you feeling tired or exhausted if your B6, magnesium, and/or essential fatty acid levels are low.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) that keep coming back are another sign of Candida overgrowth. Additionally, women may have an overgrowth in their vagina, causing a condition commonly known as a yeast infection. Men may also get genital yeast infections, though not as often as women. People in the hospital, the elderly, or those with a compromised immune system usually get UTIs caused by Candida.
- Disturbance of the good bacteria in your gut causing digestive issues. These bacteria usually help process fibers, starches, and some sugars. With imbalanced bacteria, you might experience constipation, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and cramps. Candida may also be associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- If you have chronic sinus infections including headaches, nasal congestion, loss of smell, and a runny nose, you may have Candida overgrowth. Usually, bacteria cause these symptoms, but long-term sinus infections could be fungal.
Other Candida Symptoms
Other yeast overgrowth symptoms include:
- Uncontrolled Candida growth can cause nail and skin fungal infections. Something as simple as a change in your environment could cause the fungus to go unchecked. Though Candida grows anywhere on the skin, it likes warm, moist places the best, so you would most likely notice it in your armpits and groin areas. Moisturizers, soaps, and other things you put on your skin could change the pH levels, causing candidiasis.
- Candida could enter your bloodstream and then infect your joints, causing arthritis. Usually, this happens after you’ve had surgery or when you ignore a Candida overgrowth. The hips and knees are commonly affected. In some cases, bone and joint infections could happen, and once it does, it’s difficult to get rid of.
Diagnosing Candida Overgrowth
Candida overgrowth may be diagnosed in several ways. A blood test checks for IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida antibodies. If the blood work shows high levels, you most likely have a Candida infection. However, people with compromised immune systems may not get an accurate result from a blood test.
Doctors could test your stool to see if you have Candida in your lower intestines or in your colon. However, the doctor needs to order a comprehensive stool test – the standard stool test will not show a Candida growth. Finally, a urine Organix Dysbiosis test to check for D-Arabinitol in your urine will tell doctors if you have candidiasis.
Candida overgrowth can be treated by first addressing the cause of the Candida overgrowth itself. Lifestyle changes could also be considered to keep it from recurring. Since high-lactose dairy products, refined sugars, and carbohydrates “encourage” Candida to grow, lessen the amount of these foods in your diet, especially if you have a weak immune system. Add foods that slow the growth of Candida in your diets such as garlic, curcumin, coconut oil, aloe vera, xylitol, pomegranate, probiotics, and kombucha tea.
Though changing your diet does help, it does not always work. If the infection is too bad, you may have to take antifungal drugs to get it under control, then you could work with the changed diet to keep the overgrowth from happening again.
Learn more about Candida overgrowth and yeast overgrowth in the video below:
Candida is a normal fungus that lives in your body, but sometimes events can cause it to grow uncontrollably. Finding the underlying cause and treating that, and then treating the Candida overgrowth is the only way to get rid of this pesky infection. Changing your diet, especially if you have an autoimmune disease, may help keep Candida infections from happening constantly. Many people take antibiotics for even minor issues such as a cold – instead of taking antibiotics, let your body fight the infection on its own if you do not have other issues where a cold could cause complications. Taking too many antibiotics also causes Candida overgrowth.
Do you or someone you know suffer from Candida overgrowth? What candidiasis treatment have you tried? Share what you've tried in the comments section below.