Candida… More Than a Yeast Infection

When I was in the hospital for meningitis a few weeks ago, I got some heavy duty antibiotics thrown at me until they could rule out bacterial meningitis. This caused me to get thrush – a yeast infection in my mouth. Last year when I went through chemo, I also got thrush. Seems like whenever my normal flora is disrupted, I get some nasty yeast that creeps up – could I have a candida problem?

Sugar feeds yeast!

You may know that candida can cause yeast infections in women. Did you know it can be the culprit in quite a few other symptoms? Candida overgrowth is actually quite common due to the typical American processed diet loaded with sugar. This causes yeast to overgrow in the intestinal tract and can lead to “leaky gut syndrome” and a whole host of symptoms such as migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, weight gain, depression, ‘foggy’ mind, and some (such as Italian oncologist Dr. Simoncini) have even related candida to cancer.

How do you know if candida may be a problem for you? You can work with a holistic practitioner and get your stool tested for yeast overgrowth, or you can come to the conclusion based on symptoms you are having. Taking a quick online test such as http://www.yeastconnection.com/yeast.html#questionaire might help you decide if yeast may be an issue for you. It is always a good idea to see a healthcare provider you trust because yeast overgrowth can be a sign of something serious going on such as diabetes or immune system disorders.

If you have a candida problem, it’s best to avoid medications that may be contributing such as birth control pills, steroids and antibiotics.

Concentrate on proteins and vegetables and avoid starches

To get yeast under control, diet is very important. It is important to eliminate all sugars (even fruit!) and refined carbohydrates. Also avoid alcohol, vinegar (and vinegar based ingredients such as mustard and salad dressings), baked goods with yeast, carrots, potatoes, beets, peanuts, corn, mushrooms, aged cheeses, starches, and processed/smoked meats. These foods should be eliminated for 2-4 weeks while you get the candida under control and then can be introduced back as you test which ones are problems for you. This is best done while working with a holistic practitioner. Focus on fresh organic ingredients such as meats (if you so choose), lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy oils and plenty of water and teas.

How about supplements to help? Probiotics, probiotics, probiotics! A good quality probiotic will help get your good gut flora back on track. Eat yogurt (plain so you are avoiding sugar). Drinking kefir and kombucha tea may also help. (Kombucha does contain yeast, but not candida, only nonpathogenic yeast). Other supplements to help are digestive enzymes, caprylic acid, Pau D’Arco (which can be made into a tea by boiling 1 quart water with 2 tbsp herb for five minutes – you can have 3-6 cups daily), oregano oil, black walnut, grapefruit seed extract (always dilute before use), garlic, beta carotene, and biotin. A good multi-vitamin, adequate B vitamins, and omega-3’s will also help get your health back on track. Also, make sure supplements you choose are yeast, sugar, and color-free.

Pau D’Arco

People with candida issues also tend to more sensitive to mold and chemicals, so limit exposure to these.

And with everything, your mind has to be right in order to get your body right. Resolve any underlying emotional issues you may have so your body can heal appropriately.

Ladies, what if you need some more immediate relief from a vaginal yeast infection? I mentioned garlic above. In addition to eating it (raw), and juicing it (has quite a bite but I can get it down if I chug), you can also insert into the vagina. This may cause some painful irritation, so try at your own risk. There is also a vaginal suppository form of garlic called kyloic. Acidophilus capsules can also be inserted directly into the vagina for a few days, as can PLAIN yogurt with live cultures – nothing with sugar or you will be making symptoms worse. Boric acid powder in capsule form can be inserted into the vagina (600mg twice daily for 3-7 days) as this makes the environment too acidic for candida to live. If this irritates the skin, coat the capsule in vitamin E first.

Constipation can lead to increased risk of yeast infections, so ensuring optimal bowel function and enough fiber can help prevent future problems. Other tips you’ve probably heard for prevention – change out of a wet bathing suit or damp workout clothes immediately, blow dry on a cool setting after showering, and wear loose cotton undies.

Change out of your bathing suit right away while on vacation (Santorini, Greece pictured)

**Remember, my statements have not been approved by the FDA and are not meant to diagnose, cure, or treat anyone! You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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