I was at a function the other night and I got into conversation with a girlfriend who was complaining that she couldn’t drink alcohol. She was then quick to tell me that she wasn’t drinking because she was on a particular drug. Curious, I asked her what was happening?
She sighed, poured herself another lemonade, grabbed another cupcake and explained that her doctor told her she couldn’t drink any champagne or alcohol for at least seven days while she went on an anti-candida drug.
Clearly I looked confused because she then asked me, “What’s wrong?”
I then asked her had her doctor said anything about cutting out cupcakes, lemonade and sugar during the next seven days or as a way forward when dealing with ‘Candida’?
She now looked confused and disillusioned by the cupcake in hand and placed it down on the table beside her. She leaned in towards me and replied, “No – should I?”
Two things surprise me here.
- That some practitioners still offer drug management as a cure all and provide no lifestyle advice
- That so many of us still want the quick road to symptom relief rather, happy to pop a pill or potion rather than sitting back and asking, “Why do I have these symptoms?” What possibly could my body be trying to me about my lifestyle?
So let’s explore then what is Candida
and what can we do about it?
What is Candida?
Candida, a yeast-like fungus (bacteria) is normally present in the body. When we have too much of this bacteria in our gut though and create a bacteria imbalance this leads to a yeast infection.
How Do I know if I have Candida?
Do you or your child experience;
- Thrush, white tongue
- Chronic tiredness and fatigue,
- Poor concentration and mental confusion
- Bloating, flatulence, intestinal cramps, constipation, diarrhoea
- Vaginal, anal and rectal itching
- Nappy rash into the skin folds
- Cravings for foods rich in carbohydrates and yeast
- Psoriasis, fungal infections
- Chemical and food sensitivity
Who Gets Candida Overgrowths?
Some people believe that candida overgrowths are simply thrush and so a woman’s business. Many people however irrespective of sex or age unknowingly suffer with a candida overgrowth. Many, many children are also affected.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Candida albicans and several other related fungi often proliferate in people who suffer digestive and other metabolic imbalances.
- Candida is also common for people who have used wide spectrum antibiotics. When we take antibiotics, we eliminate the naturally occurring bacteria of the body that is essential for a strong immunity. In doing so, our body is left vulnerable to pathogenic organisms which produce disease. Candida is often seen in children who have had numerous prescriptions for antibiotics, for repeated ear and throat infections etc.
- Candida can be common amongst pregnant women, particularly in the form of vaginal thrush. This may be due to hormonal changes that influence its growth.
- Babies can then develop oral thrush, which is not serious but is uncomfortable and ideally should be treated quickly.
- Candida is commonly seen in children with autism, ADD and ADHD.
- This infection is not normally sexually transmitted however it may cross-infect, so if your partner (either male or female) suffers with an itchy groin area, peeling feet or suffers from excess gas and bloating then they should also follow the dietary protocol for tackling Candida.
- Women who take oral contraceptives are more likely to develop candida, due to the artificial stimulation of the hormonal system and the taxing affect on the liver and pancreas which support a healthy digestive tract.
- Diabetics are prone to candida.
- Candida is very common amongst those who are immune compromised or those with weak immune systems.
- According to Chinese medicine, individuals prone to anxiety and worry are likely to develop damp excesses and yeast overgrowths.
How Can Untreated Candida Affect My Health?
- Candida affects proper assimilation of food in the bowel, including essential amino acids and other nutrients.
- This in turn, weakens the immune system.
- With yeast overgrowths, the candida can penetrate through the intestinal wall into the circulating blood, it may then move towards the anus and sexual organs or into other areas of the body. When this infection spreads throughout the body it is known as systemic candidiasis and can be life-threatening if untreated.
- The toxic by-products of systemic candida stimulate the production of antibodies, seriously taxing the body until it is unable to respond to other invading viruses. The resulting symptoms can be varied and present as an array of health challenges.
For some people this may result in allergic reactions to minor environmental or dietary toxins, whereby they suffer a variety of food, chemical and environmental allergies. These incompletely digested food substances travel through the body and across the blood-brain barrier, which scientists are now correlating with patterned behavioural habits of children with autism and ADD/ADHD.
Alternatively with time, the immune system may become so depleted that it allows for autoimmune diseases to develop such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and cancer.
For guidelines for rebalancing gut flora please see the Tackling Candida blog post.
Want to learn more about how to live a healthy lifestyle? For more health related information, please see Well Adjusted Babies 2nd Edition.
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Lipski E PhD. Digestive Wellness For Children. Laguna Beach; Basic Health Publications: 2006.
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Mercola. Holistic Treatment For Candida Infection. Online:Available. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/06/10/holistic-treatment-for-candida-infection.aspx
Mercola. How Yeast Can Create Havoc in Your Life and How to Address it. Online:Available. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/02/how-yeast-can-create-havoc-in-your-life-and-how-to-address-it.aspx
Updated: March 27, 2015