What is Candida?
The most typical type of yeast infection is known as Candidiasis. More than 20 species of Candida exist; with Candida albicans being found the most frequently.
Infections are caused by a big number of fungi collecting at one location due to favourable conditions. These conditions are found in areas on the body that are warm and moist. Common examples are: Vaginal yeast infections, infections found under the underarms, thrush (tissue infections found in the mouth and throat), skin and diaper rash, and nail bed infections.
Under normal circumstances your skin will effectively block the yeast, but if any cuts and openings in the skin are present, the possibility of the organism entering those areas will increase.
Normal affected areas found in babies are the mouth and diaper areas.
Vaginal Candidiasis, a vaginal yeast infection, is the most regularly found form of vaginitis.
Oral yeast infections are mostly found in adults, due to their increasing age. Other places where these yeast infections exist are: around dentures, in skin folds (mostly under the breast and lower abdomen) and nail beds. Treatment of these types of candida infections may clear it up quickly, where infections found in the nail beds usually require extended therapy.
It is seldom that a yeast infection spreads throughout the body. Up to 45% of people who suffer from systematic candida disease (where the fungus enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body) pass away.
Even general oral and vaginal yeast infections can lead to critical illness and is usually more immune against normal treatment.
A reappearance of some yeast infections may be a warning of more dangerous diseases, namely: diabetes, leukemia, or AIDS.
Causes of Candida
Causes of Candidiasis Yeast Infection:
- Yeast infections are the second most common cause of vaginal burning, itching, and discharge in women.
Studies have shown that yeasts are present in the vagina of 20% to 50% of woman who are healthy. These yeasts can overgrow should the environment inside the vagina change.
Yeast overgrowth is most commonly caused by the use of antibiotics or steroids. Other factors that can cause yeast infections include: pregnancy, menstruation, sperm, diabetes, and birth control pills. The risk of yeast infections greatly increase after menopause.
- In some cases people have a weakened immune system due to issues such as cancer treatments, steroid use, or diseases like HIV/AIDS. In such cases, candidal infections can develop throughout the entire body and can post life-threatening danger.
The parts of the body that Candida targets most often are: the blood, brain, eyes, kidney system, and heart. Other parts that get infected by Candida are the lungs, liver, and spleen.
People suffering from AIDS often develop an inflammation in the swallowing tube, known as esophagitis. Candida is one of the main causes of this.
- About 15% of people dealing with weakened immune systems suffer from systematic illnesses due to Candida. This is because the weakened immune system allows the infections to get into the bloodstream more easily by means of cuts in the skin.
- When antibiotics are used often, it may kill the good bacteria that fight yeast infections, causing a buildup of Candidal organisms in a location which results in an infection.
Symptoms of Candida
The signs and symptoms of a candida infection can differ, depending on where the infection is.
Vaginal yeast infection in women:
In order to recognize the presence of a vaginal yeast infection, doctors will look for a thick white discharge, which has a similar appearance to that of cottage cheese.
The infection usually leads to itchiness or an irritation in the vaginal area as well as surrounding outer tissues. In some cases, pain may be experienced during sexual intercourse or burning while urinating.
Genital yeast infection in men:
Men who have had intercourse with a woman suffering from vaginal yeast infection are more likely to develop symptoms of a genital yeast infection. Yeast is normally present in a woman’s body and it is not transmittable from somewhere else. Therefore a yeast infection is not classified as a sexually-transmitted disease (STD).
Unless a woman’s male sex partner develops symptoms of candida yeast infection, treatment is not recommended. Symptoms usually include: itching and burning sensations of the penis or even a rash on the skin of the penis.
In infants and adults:
A candida infection can appear in various ways.
- Candidiasis found in the mouth and throat is called thrush. On the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth, thick white patches, which look like milk curds, may develop on top of a red base. It cannot be removed as easily as milk, but an attempt of cleaning the tongue with a blade or cotton-tipped applicator, may cause the remaining tissue to bleed. This infection may also make the tongue look red without the white coverage.
Thrush, also known as moniliasis (originated from an older name “monilia”), can be painful and cause difficulty eating, therefore attention should be given so that the person does not become dehydrated.
- Candida organisms naturally live on the skin, but an overgrowth of yeast can occur due to exterior parts of the skin developing a disease. This normally happens when the area is warm and moist, especially diaper areas and skin folds.
Candida skin infection symptoms will show as a red flat rash with sharp ruffle edges. “Satellite lesions” is when similar smaller patches of the existing rash appear and it leads to itchiness or pain.
Candida infections of people with bad immune systems can influence different internal organs and may lead to pain or dysfunction of the organ. A yeast infection namely esophagitis, found in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) system of a person, may develop with people who has a suppressed immune system; caused by AIDS, chemotherapy or other conditions.
This infection is identical to thrush, but stretches down the mouth and throat to the stomach.
Candida esophagitis can lead to painful swelling through the GI system, which results in a struggle to swallow anything – even liquids.
Food doesn’t absorb easily if the infection spreads into the bowels. People who suffer from this condition can easily become dehydrated. Other symptoms can be: pain in the area of the sternum (breast bone), pain in the upper abdomen, and/or nausea and vomiting.
Should Candida enter the bloodstream, the person may become sick with or without fever. If the infection spreads to the brain, intense changes towards mental function or behaviour may appear.
Diagnosing Candida is not a simple matter. Even if Candida levels are assessed via the blood or stool, it is impossible to know how tolerant one is to Candida and its by-products. A person with a strong constitution may be capable of hosting large populations of Candida fungus with minimal symptoms, while another person may suffer greatly from a mild overgrowth of candida.
Candida may be a contributing factor in some illnesses and it may be the cause of others. However it almost always accompanies intestinal, immune, degenerative or toxicity related illnesses, adding an additional recovery challenge or even preventing recovery.
Either way, reducing one’s level of Candida will aid in healing by removing the suppressive impact of the candida yeast and fungus and the constant strain caused by their toxic by-products.
Recovery from moderate to severe Candida overgrowth requires a whole lifestyle healing regimen. This Whole lifestyle Approach may not be welcomed without an absolute diagnosis of Candida overgrowth. There are several available tests available for Candida. Unfortunately, they all have limited accuracy and none of them are able to decipher what level of candida overgrowth is a problem for you specifically.
- Candida anti-body blood testing may reveal if you have developed highly specific types of allergic responses to any level of Candida (normal to high range). Other types of immune responses and consequences in other body systems are also possible reactions to increased candida levels but the candida anti body blood tests will not reveal these.
- Electro-dermal testing by a naturopath or clinician may tell you if Candida overgrowth is the most stressful problem that you are currently facing. If you have another serious illness or consequential illnesses related to the Candida, the electro dermal test will show these as higher priority than your response the candida and your results for the candida testing may be deceptively low. However, this test still has some usefulness when used by a holistic thinking practitioner in combination with a review of an updated Candida symptom assessment questionnaire.
- Stool testing will tell you if your levels of yeast fall within a “normal” range, which reflects an average of what is normal for other people but may not necessarily indicate a level of yeast that is “normal” for your body.
- Detailed Questionnaires are often used to identify candida-related health symptoms and history.
No matter how well or sick you are, no matter what the cause, cleansing the colon, supporting the immune system and detoxifying the whole body with the help of food therapy will help free up your body’s resources to speed healing and/or sustain your good health.
In fact, for many people, this program has resulted in dramatic health improvements and relief from years of chronic ill health.
The majority of our western society suffers from some degree of intestinal flora imbalance due to our poor diet, reliance on medications and high stress levels.
Restoring normal, healthy, intestinal bacteria and reducing pathogenic micro-organisms will enhance digestion, while improving nutrient assimilation and overall general resilience.
Health Complications of Candida Yeast Infection
Candidiasis is the overgrowth of a type of fungus known as Candida albicans. The overgrowth of Candida albicans result in yeast infection.
Candida often makes its appearance in warm and moist areas of the body – Usually the mouth, throat, digestive area and genitals.
When the probiotic bacteria outnumber the amount of Candida albicans present, a yeast infection will develop.
If a patient with candida yeast infection does not receive the necessary treatment in time, it can result in death.
When Candida enters the blood stream it can easily establish itself in other parts of the body. This will lead to other difficulties like sinus problems, rashes, joint problems, acne, and many more.
The yeast cell that develops in the intestines inserts itself in the mucus membranes and starts to feed from the digestive enzymes and the undigested food. This can lead to malnutrition which leads to serious health problems at a later stage.
Candida yeast infection will lead to a weakened immune system. Candida can make more than 50 toxic elements that wreck your body. These elements harm the tissues which weaken the immune system and body organs such as the lungs, kidneys, bladder, liver and brain.
The most general toxin that Candida delivers into the body is acetaldehyde. When acetaldehyde converts into ethanol it can lead to much worse symptoms such as:
- Vaginal yeast infection
- Upper back pain
- Sores in mouth and anus
- Brain fog
- Dental Problems
- Blurred Vision
- Panic attacks
- High cholesterol
- Athlete’s foot
Candidiasis can effect in the following:
- Food intolerance and environmental sensitivities:
When the toxins from Candida enter the body’s blood stream it has a negative reaction from the pollutants. Food allergies, food intolerance and other sensitivities is caused by candida and can lead to serious long-term effects.
- Leaky Gut Syndrome:
Candida can cause inflammation and physical damage to the abdomen. In the case of an overgrowth of Candida, rhizoids are formed which cut the abdomen. It can then effect in bowel disorders, allergies and asthma.
- Weakened immune system:
When Candida albicans are in the blood stream, the immune system reacts by weakening the healthy tissues of the body. This happens because of the Candida molecules being very much alike to the molecules of the human body. Fatal health problems can develop once the immune system is weakened.
Yeast infection is a very critical and potentially dangerous disease, therefore it must be treated and people should understand the how to decrease the chance of suffering from this fatal condition.
Test for Candida
There are a variety of tests that practitioners use to diagnose yeast overgrowth, that may include stool tests, blood tests, live blood cell tests, etc., but the truth is that none of these tests are really reliable. They may or may not detect an infection of Candidiasis.
The simple most effective way to know if you have a yeast problem is by your symptoms. The very best and most accurate test to identify yeast overgrowth is the written questionnaire that you can find in Dr. Crook’s book called “The Yeast Connection.”
Another very popular test that many natural health practitioners use is called the “spit test.” However, I would like to point out that some health practitioners do not feel this test is reliable. It has a high rate of false negatives and false positives. Personally, I do not advocate the spit test, but you will find other practitioners who stand behind it whole heartedly. So, I am going to provide the directions below in case you’re interested, but please be aware of its potential limits. Here’s how you do it:
As soon as you wake up in the morning before you put anything in your mouth, get a glass of water in a clear glass that you can see through. Don’t use tap water.
Collect saliva in your mouth with your tongue and spit it into the glass.
Now keep an eye on your saliva in the glass for the next 15 minutes and observe what it does.
According to advocates of this method, if you see any of the following, then it indicates the presence of yeast colonies:
Your saliva stays at the top and you see thin strands that look like strings or spider legs extending downward.
Your saliva floats to the bottom and looks cloudy.
Your saliva is suspended in mid-air and looks like little specs are floating.
See the picture below for guidance.
Natural Candida Treatment
1. Maintain a low-carb diet.
- Steer clear of foods with artificial sweeteners, honey and foods made with white sugar.
- Exclude dried, frozen or fresh fruit and fruit juices from your diet as much as possible.
2. Avoid the consumption of dairy products.
- Studies have shown that the remainder of antibiotics in the body as well as high contents of sugar lactose in milk and other dairy products can be the cause of Candida growth.
3. Exclude foods with high yeast contents, and distilled or pickled items.
- Remove all bread, foods containing yeast extract, and broth/stock made with stock cubes form your diet. Avoid alcoholic drinks and beverages containing yeast.
- Avoid black teas, cheeses or foods with high vinegar content from your regular diet.
4. Eat poultry, fish, meat, salad and vegetables.
- When possible, choose organic meat or vegetable options.
5. Include healthy spices and herbs in your diet.
- Experts suggest using spices and herbs which possess anti-fungal properties, such as rosemary, marjoram and thyme. Ginger, garlic and extra virgin olive oil are healthy additives to most foods.
6. Assess medications.
- Minimize the use of antibiotics, abscess medications, steroids and estrogen supplements as they could provoke the growth of Candida in your body. Consult your doctor about whether to reduce or replace these medications.
7. Use a supplement that includes Warburgia.
- Warburgia helps to kill the candida fungus, and also reduces the production of Candida. Manna Candida Support contains Warburgia (Pepper Bark Tree Extract)
8. Drink at least 2L of water every day.
- Water is a natural cleanser that detoxifies your body and helps eliminate Candida.
9. Use an over-the-counter topical balm for yeast infections.
- Often Candida exposes itself in the female genital region. A medical remedy is the fastest way to cure a vaginal yeast infection.
10. Balance the pH of your abdomen.
- Neutralizing your abdomen’s pH with alkaline food and a supplement, like the Manna pH Balance, to balance the pH levels can also help to destroy the candida overgrowth.
11. Prevent sugar cravings
- Most candida sufferers crave sugary products, because glucose causes the candida fungus to multiply. Prevent the cravings with the Manna Blood Sugar Support supplement to reduce the chance of glucose entering the blood stream.
12. Candida e-book
- Download your free Candida e-book, which contains a detailed explanation on the treatment of candida, as well as recipes to stop candida growth.