Candida albicans is a type of yeast found in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina. It can be found on the skin and other mucous membranes as well. Typically, when the body is in balance, and the immune system is functioning well, candida stays in check and doesn’t become a problem. However, with compromised immune systems, the yeast can spread to all areas of the body including the heart and brain and create a serious scenario!
Do you ever experience any of these health issues?
- Cravings for sweets
- Bad breath
- White coating on tongue
- Brain fog
- Hormone imbalance
- Joint pain
- Loss of sex drive
- Chronic sinus and allergy issues
- Digestive problems (gas and bloating)
- Weak immune system
If so, these might mean you could have a candida infection.
What Is Candida?
Candida can be very serious. We are now finding certain strains to be drug-resistant and causing major issues in people with compromised health. Candida is a fungus that isn’t all bad. It actually helps with nutrient absorption. When you have too much of it though, it can break down the intestinal walls and cause leaky-gut syndrome. A leaky gut is simply a gut that has gaps in the lining where undigested food and protein can pass through. The body then attacks these and creates inflammation systemically.
One of the most important thing you can do is to make sure you have healthy bacteria levels in your gut, in order to prevent candida overgrowth and thus leaky-gut syndrome.
What Causes Candida Infections?
There are many possible causes of candida. Some of the most common are a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol. Here are 5 causes:
1. Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics
Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill off the good and the bad bacteria in our bodies. Think of a bomb going off on a battle field, indiscriminately killing both sides. That is what broad-spectrum antibiotics do. The problem is that sometimes when the good-guys are destroyed, the bad-guys get a foothold. In this scenario, bad bacteria are a breeding ground for yeasts like candida. This is why ideally it is essential to replenish your body with probiotics before, during, and after antibiotic usage.
2. Birth Control Pills
It sounds strange, but many women have reported increased candida infections after taking birth control pills. Here we have reason to suspect that interfering with the bodies natural hormone levels might be part of the issue.
3. Oral Corticosteroids
With oral corticosteroids, thrush can be a common side effect. Candida in the mouth can lead to systemic candida, which is why it is so important to rinse your mouth out when taking inhaled corticosteroids. If you suspect thrush, gargling with coconut oil and 1-2 drops of essential clove oil will help a ton!
This one is the most obvious. The high sugar levels found in diabetics are like a buffet for bad bacteria, as well as yeast like candida. Maintaining blood sugar levels is key to ensure overgrowth doesn’t occur.
5. Weakened Immune System
If you have a weakened immune system for any reason, you are more at risk for candida infection.
8 Candida Symptoms
Candida is sometimes hard to recognize because the symptoms that are presented with this condition are similar to many others.
1. Chronic Fatigue
Tired all the time? There is a lot of energy spent dealing with a candida infection. Your body may feel run down, just like you had a cold. The only difference is, it never gets better. The feeling of being sluggish and just sort of “off” is how many would describe the candida feeling.
2. Mood Disorders
Individuals with candida overgrowth might experience mood swings, anxiety, irritability, depression and even panic attacks.
3. Recurring Vaginal and Urinary Tract Infections
Candida lives in the vagina, and when a woman’s pH balance is off, the candida infection can turn into a UTI or vaginal infection. It is important not to take hot baths while you are dealing with a UTI. In addition, it is super important not to eat a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates during a UTI, as this will only continue to feed the yeast and bad bacteria.
4. Oral Thrush
As mentioned above, oral corticosteroids or prednisone are the main contributors to oral thrush. Left untreated, it may spread through the body, including the digestive tract, lungs, liver and heart.
Oral candida is communicable. You can actually pass thrush through saliva to others, so be careful!
5. Sinus Infections
Are you someone who just constantly gets recurring sinus infections. If so, you may want to consider candida as being part of the problem, as the yeast lives in the sinuses and other mucous membranes in the body.
6. Intestinal Distress
When there are more bad bacteria than good in the intestines, you have a condition called dysbiosis. Basically disorganized bacteria. This condition affects 30 million Americans, and is characterized by:
- Frequent gas, bloating, belching.
- Loose stools, diarrhea, constipation.
- Acid reflux.
- Unexplained weight gain and/or difficult weight loss.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
- Depression and/or frequent low mood.
7. Brain Fog
Candida overgrowth can cause a variety of issues mentally speaking:
- Lack of focus
- Poor physical coordination
- Difficulty in concentrating on tasks
- Poor memory
8. Skin and Nail Fungal Infections
This one goes without saying. If you have skin and nail infections, you are already dealing with fungal infections to some degree. Taken alone, these infections may be isolated, and not related to a systemic candida infection. However, when taken along with one of the other eight, candida could be suspect.
Candida ‘DIY’ Ideas
Of course, we recommend you see a competent health care practitioner for best results. However, in the meantime, here are somethings you can do yourself when dealing with candida:
(1) Eliminate Sugar. This is candida’s main food source.
(2) Eliminate alcohol. Alcohol is basically highly refined sugar.
(3) Eliminate refined carbohydrates. Stick to quinoa, barley, and amaranth while dealing with candida. The main thing is these are not refined, and don’t convert to blood sugar like other grains.
(4) Eat non-starchy veggies only for 3-5 days: lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Then, if you aren’t dealing with gut sensitivities, and can handle them, start to include other veggies like sweet potatoes, yams, peas, mung beans, lentils, kidney beans, adzuki beans, carrots, beets, corn, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, zucchini, yellow squash, rutabaga and pumpkin.
(4) Apple Cider Vinegar: Drink daily, before meals to stimulate stomach acid which will help break foods down properly.
(5) Bentonite Clay: Helps flush bad bacteria and other pathogens out of the body.
(6) Fermented veggies like sauerkraut, kimchi, or take a high dose probiotic supplement. Also fermented drinks like kombucha are perfect here.
(7) Coconut oil: Anti-microbial and helps kill pathogens.
(8) Vitamin C: Boosts adrenal glands and restores immunity.
(9) Clove oil, oregano oil, myrrh oil, and lavender oil: Because these essential oils are powerful, they should only be taken internally for 10 days or less. Ask an experienced health care practitioner on how to use these before consuming them. Do not give clove oil internally to children under 2 years of age. If you are pregnant or nursing, check with your natural health care provider before taking clove oil internally.
Candida Die-Off Symptoms
So, you got this far! If you are willing to make some lifestyle changes, and try some of these suggestions to deal with candida, you may start to experience some symptoms:
- Impaired brain function
- Intestinal distress including bloating, gas, constipation and nausea
- Sweating and fever
- Sinus infection
- Skin breakouts (not limited to face)
- Typical flu-like symptoms
When you start experiencing the candida die-off symptoms, be happy! These symptoms typically clear up in seven to 10 days. The hope is soon you will start to have more energy and some of the symptoms of both the candida, and the die-off will lessen.
Just remember, after your body regains balance, you will want to continue to limit sugar, refined carbohydrates, and continue to eat fermented veggies, etc. in order to keep the gut and YOU happy!