Do you have Candida?
Many people unknowingly suffer with a candida overgrowth. While it is normal for some of the Candida yeast-like fungi (bacteria) to be present in the body, Candidiasis is a bacterial imbalance which then leads to a yeast infection.
Soon after our third son was born-still, I developed signs of a uterine infection. After a curette, my carers strongly advised a course of antibiotics. As a health practitioner I was aware of strategies for rebuilding my gut flora but it was not long before we were pregnant again. Sustaining another pregnancy taxed my body. Towards the end of this pregnancy my immune and digestive systems were obviously depleted and unknowingly for the first time in my life I developed a candida overgrowth.
It wasn’t until I was breastfeeding my newborn and experienced nipple thrush did I identify the candida. With breastfeeding, it took close to eight months to rid myself of candida and restrengthen my gut. I can identify with the frustrations people have with this overgrowth, however with patience and focus you can certainly get your health back on track.
The following information is a summary of various books and information from the internet. Some guidelines appeared contradictory so I have done my best to research the most successful methods for tackling candida.References below.
Holistic health practitioners such as naturopaths, homeopaths and chiropractors may be able to assist you further with dietary and supplementary advice.
WHO GETS CANDIDA OVERGROWTHS?
Some people believe that candida overgrowths only affect women and those of a particular age group. However such an infection, large or small, can affect anyone, irrespective of sex or age, it may even affect our children.
· 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 among 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.
· 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 among those who are immune compromised or those with weak immune systems.
· According to Chinese physiology, individuals prone to anxiety and worry are likely to develop damp excesses and yeast overgrowths.
SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE any or all of the following;
· 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
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.
The toxins released by the yeast affect three systems:
· the hormonal or endocrine system,
· the immune system,
· the central nervous system.
Some research supports systemic candidiasis causing death in AIDS and various other viral-related degenerative illnesses.
For guidelines for rebalancing gut flora please see the Tackling Candida blog.
How Yeast Can Create Havoc in Your Life and How to
Pitchford P. Healing with Whole Foods. Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. California: North Atlantic Books;2002.
Salmon J. Pearce L. Autism & Attention Deficit Disorders. Bangor; Persimmon Press: 2006.
Sullivan K. Natural Healthcare for Children. London; Judy Piatkus: 2000.
Lipski E PhD. Digestive Wellness For Children. Laguna Beach; Basic Health Publications: 2006.
Mercola J Dr. Pearsall K Dr. Take Control of Your Health.Schaumburg; Mercola.com: 2007