Candida Albicans (also known as a thrush, yeast or fungal infection) is a normal commensal in the human intestinal tract. It is a single cell fungi that belongs to the vegetable kingdom. Overgrowth of Candida is a problem that can cause many irritating signs and symptoms that are related to many common illnesses. Overgrowth of yeast only occurs in a person with weakened defenses. When the system is weakened it is an opportunistic time for the fungus to grow.
Candida overgrowth is a condition that dates back in textbooks as far as the 1700’s. Hippocrates identified the presence of yeast infections as thrush in debilitated patients.
Factors that weaken the immune system and allow Candida to grow:
- Antibiotics. Bacteria (both the bad and the good) are killed by the antibiotics. But antibiotics do not kill the Candida. Using antibiotics even once creates a very favorable situation for yeast to get the upper hand in your intestinal ecology. Over the years, most of us have taken antibiotics many, many times. After each round the good bacteria are usually not fully replaced; meanwhile the yeast, without the good bacteria to keep it in check, proliferates and grows out of control. The more we use antibiotics, the more our inner ecology is altered.
- Sugar, white flour, soft drinks and alcohol are staples in the Western diet. These foods feed the Candida and help it to proliferate. Once the Candida begins to get the upper hand, you will crave these foods more and more, a cycle kept going by this hungry yeast.
- Add to the mix the stress of daily life and environmental pollution (both of which lower our immune system), and we have a full-blown problem.
Common Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth:
- Fatigue, lethargic, drained or depressed
- Nervous System Issues
- Tingling, Numbness and Muscle Weakness
- Joint Swelling
- Irritability and Anger
- Headaches and Migraines
- Inability to Concentrate or Focus
- Oversensitive to Smells, Perfumes, and Chemicals
- Recurrent vaginal yeast infections, painful intercourse or vaginal dryness
- Recurrent athlete’s foot, jock itch and other fungal skin infections
- Digestive Issues, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea
- Heartburn, gastric reflux, and indigestion
- Your symptoms flare in damp and moldy places
- Your symptoms flare when you eat junk food and sugars
Since low amounts yeasts are normal in the body, most laboratory tests are no help.