One form of yeast infection that many overlook is candida albicans overgrowth, commonly referred to as simply candida. Candida albicans is a single-celled yeast found naturally in the body’s digestive tract. When maintained at the appropriate value, candida supports healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. However, bacterial imbalances and intestinal malfunction may result in an excess of candida. Such a situation allows for over colonization which is known as candida overgrowth.
Candida overgrowth generally occurs in the esophagus, colon, vagina, small intestine, and stomach. As candida develops and settles in, it can produce endotoxins that further promote the spread of yeast overgrowth while inhibiting immunity. If the fungal infection enters the bloodstream and is carried throughout the body, every organ may be impacted resulting in blood poisoning known as candida septicemia. This is also known as catastrophic candidiasis, which is normally seen in patients suffering from cancer or AIDS. It is more common to see severe cases of candidiasis in such patients because their immune system is already severely weakened or entirely non-functional.
Regardless of the spread, endotoxins produced by candida can cause discomfort and itchiness. Candida that has spread to the mouth through the esophagus is known as thrush. Generally, this is seen in infants who do not yet have a fully developed immune system. If thrush is diagnosed in an adult, it is likely that they are suffering from a severe immune deficiency. Candida overgrowth is a relatively common condition with multiple causes that can induce a wide array of symptoms. Common causes of candida include: antibiotics, a diet high in sugar and refined carbs, high alcohol consumption, a compromised immune system, oral contraceptives, diabetes, and chronic stress. It is also important to note that patients with an autoimmune condition, thyroid dysfunction, Fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are at a greater risk of developing candida.
Sadly, many people are not familiar with candida overgrowth and even fewer recognize its symptoms. Because candida can affect multiple bodily, the symptoms can vary greatly and mirror other conditions, making them difficult to identify. Common symptoms include: athlete's foot, chemical and environmental sensitivities, sugar cravings, loss of libido, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, gas, rectal itching, brain fog, and fatigue.
Due to the fact that the gut impacts nearly every bodily system, as candida continues to develop, it can lead to conditions such as leaky gut syndrome, fungal infections of the skin and nails, interstitial cystitis, premenstrual syndrome, recurrent vaginal yeast infections, or urinary tract infections, and malaise or depression.
Candida is curable and there are many medications available that can help treat candida and yeast overgrowth including Nystatin, Diflucan, Sporanox, and Lamisil. However, many practitioners believe that the best method of resolving candida issues is through dietary and lifestyle changes. In a similar manner to treating autoimmune dysfunction, nutritional support through an optimized diet is an effective way to restore functionality. Improving your diet supports gastrointestinal balance and immune function by removing toxins, providing appropriate nutrients, and improving restoration.
At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to utilize cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to uncover and address Candida or yeast overgrowth, restore your intestinal functionality, and improve your quality of life. Book your appointment today!