Most people are unaware of this condition, but it is probably one of the most common issues we face. Seventy (70) percent of the world’s population are affected with candida overgrowth!
(I am not a medical professional and recommend that if you have any medical issues at all, that you should contact your medical team to get professional advice and assistance.)
Candida is a yeast infection that affects the entire body and is also known as the infection of opportunity as it attacks when your immune system is weak. Your “gut” has a natural candida environment that actually keeps it in check as long as your intestinal bacteria is balanced. But when that environment becomes compromised and the natural bacterial balance goes out of whack is when this particular bacteria takes over and causes all kinds of problems.
Have you been on antibiotics recently? If so, you may have opened your system to initiate a candida “overgrowth”, which can cause an attack on your body in many ways. For women mainly, it can cause a “yeast infection” that is very annoying and unpleasant. Not only is this infection embarrassing, but it may not stop there and can become a serious health issue. Children are affected by this nasty infection as well, especially after having a round of antibiotics.
How do you avoid this? Well, first off if you can avoid antibiotics at all, do! However, it’s not always possible to avoid this medication, so make very sure that you combat the possibility of contracting this infection by taking probiotics while on your medication. Probiotics help to restore the natural “good” bacteria balance in your gut. Keeping this balance at all times is very important to your overall good health.
Antibiotics are not the only things that can throw this balance out of whack! Unfortunately, cancer medication, diabetes medication, RA medications, and any others that suppress your immune system are to blame as well. If you have a compromised immune system (which happens to many people on drugs to help combat certain diseases), this condition becomes a serious issue. If left untreated, candida can lead to life threatening infections.
Symptoms of candida infection – vaginal redness, burning, itching, finger or toenail fungus, oral thrush, gastrointestinal tract discomfort possibly with nausea and vomiting, urinary tract infection, respiratory tract infections, and severe skin rash are just some of those symptoms.
How do you know if you have this problem? Candidiasis (official name of the infection) can take many forms: vaginal and anal yeast infections (itching, rash, cottage cheese like discharge), but can rarely affect the male penis resulting in itching; oral thrush (white patches on the tongue or in the mouth and throat) – this mostly affects children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems; finger and toenail fungus; skin disorders, and digestive issues. These are some of the most common areas affected. Other symptoms can be sugar cravings, autoimmune complications, allergies, urinary tract infections, fatigue (even if you’ve had a full night’s sleep), mood swings, and brain fog (including ADHD).
There are about 20 different types of candida – Candida Albicans (the most common one) is the infection that causes vaginal yeast infections, and oral thrush. Some conditions that are attributed to weak immune systems are – HIV/AIDS, organ transplant medications, diabetes medications, mononucleosis, stress, and use of corticosteroids. Candida needs a moist environment to develop.
What can you do to get rid of this infection? There are a couple of medications that can help such as Fluconazole, Itraconazole, or Amphotericin B, which are very potent drugs that help kill off candida. But if you are taking a medication that is actually causing the infection, they may not help at all. Dr. Axe suggests that going on a Candida Diet can help though. You will have to eliminate all sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose, regular granulated sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.) in order to stop feeding the yeast, as well, all fruits and fruit juices, high starch vegetables (sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beets), but you can eat all or most of the green vegetables out there, along with lean organic meats, poultry, fish. It’s a very restrictive diet, but will definitely help along the road to recovery, and it’s not necessarily lifelong, usually only needed for a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on how severe an infection you have.
Wearing cotton under garments may help reduce the risk of developing skin and vaginal infections and not wearing wet clothing (bathing suits) for long periods of time. Oral hygiene is important to help prevent candidiasis when people have compromised immune systems. Those going through cancer treatments might want to use a Chlorhexidine mouthwash to help prevent or reduce thrush. Also people who use oral corticosteroids should rinse the mouth with water or a mouthwash after using an inhaler.
Blood infection can occur when candida yeast enters the bloodstream and may spread to other organs – central nervous system, kidneys, liver, bones, muscles, joints, spleen, or eyes. These types of infection are usually treated with intravenous Fluconazole or another anti fungal drug.
My hope is that you never have to suffer from any of these afflictions, but if you do, please take the necessary precautions to aid in healing.
Have a wonderful day and week ahead.