This is a very complex topic which I cannot possibly do justice to with just one post. This post will provide a basic overview for your information so you are at least aware that it exists and what you can do about it if you have it.
Here are some facts:
1. Candida is yeast which is a normal inhabitant of the vagina and intestinal tract.
2. When something disrupts the balance of growth between bacteria and yeast, an overgrowth of either can occur. Yeast overgrowth typically occurs as a consequence of antibiotics, oral steroids, hormone replacement therapy (mainly if not done properly), anti-inflammatory medications, and stress.
Many women are very aware when they have a vaginal yeast infection because of the very obvious symptoms they experience. When it comes to intestinal Candida overgrowth...the symptoms can be more subtle and resemble other GI conditions.
Here are the main ways that Candida can become a problem:
1. If it overgrows in the intestinal tract 2. If it is present in normal amounts but enters the blood stream because of leaky gut 3. Both of the above
SYMPTOMS of Candida are extensive but mainly include the following:
1. Candida overgrowth only in the gut: bloating and gas (especially after eating sugar and carbs), sugar cravings, rectal itching, heartburn, bad breath, white coating on the tongue.
2. Candida that has entered the bloodstream: The above, plus sensitivity to smell, itching anywhere, nasal congestion, inability to lose weight, foggy thinking, fatigue, and issues with mood.
TREATMENT of Candida is typically multidimensional and long because yeast has three growth stages, and many of the supplements and prescription medications only kill the adult form. Consequently, treatment needs to last at least 8 weeks.
While each individual's case may differ in severity, the overall treatment involves elimination of food allergens, avoidance of medications that cause Candida overgrowth, proper hormone balance, avoidance of foods that fuel Candida overgrowth (such as sugar, alcohol, dried fruit, etc), and anti-Candida supplements (such as Kandex and others).
In some rare cases, the infection requires the use of prescription anti-fungal medications such as Itraconazole.
Remember, the goal is never to completely eliminate Candida but rather to rebalance the intestinal microbiome, and in cases of systemic Candida infection, repair leaky gut.