Many types of fungi naturally grow and live in your body. This includes a yeast genus called Candida. Normally, you can find small amounts of this yeast on your skin and in your mouth. As long as it stays a small amount, you don’t have any problems. (1)
However, this yeast is also prone to grow out of control, and this leads to a condition called candidiasis. You’re not alone if you experience an overgrowth of this yeast as it’s one of the most common causes of fungal infections around the world. (2)
We’re going to talk about what can cause this yeast to
overgrow, and we’ll go in-depth on several symptoms that could point to an
infection. We’ll also talk about diagnosing it and how you can go about
treating it, and when visiting a doctor is a good idea.
In a healthy person, the “good” and “bad” bacteria levels balance each other out. They work in your body to keep the Candida yeast under control and at lower levels. However, if something is to disrupt these bacteria levels and cause the bad bacteria to outweigh the good, your body can’t keep the yeast in check.
It’ll start to multiply at a very rapid rate. This is where you end up with Candidiasis. Common causes of a bacteria imbalance in your system include but are not limited to:
- Taking antibiotics – Antibiotics can’t tell whether they’re killing good or bad bacteria. They attack them all, and this can give the yeast the edge it needs to thrive.
- Eating a high-carb diet– Foods that are high in carbohydrates are usually high in sugar, and this is what Candida eats. If it has an excessive amount around, it can speed up the growth times and overgrow.
- Excessive alcohol– When you drink excessively, it can cause inflammation. This inflammation weakens your immune system, and it’s not as effective at fighting the Candida as it usually is, and it can quickly overwhelm your immune system.
- Oral contraceptives – Oral contraceptives can alter the bacteria levels in your body, and they can also wreak havoc on your immune system.
- Diabetes – Diabetes can cause all of your systems to work harder to deal with your fluctuating blood sugar levels. It also impacts how well you heal and increases your risks for infection.
- Chronic stress– If you’re under constant high stress levels, it negatively impacts your immune system and suppresses your digestive system. This means that the Candida won’t have any resistance as it starts to thrive.
No matter what caused your overgrowth, there are seven big signs that you have a problem with your Candida levels. You may not experience all of them, but they can persist until you take care of it and start treatment.
If Candida starts to overgrow in your throat or mouth, you’ll develop a condition called thrush. It’s common in babies, older people, and people who have weaker or compromised immune systems. Eventually, it leads to bumpy and white patches on your tongue, inner cheeks, throat, gums, or tonsils. (3)(4)(5)
As thrush progresses, you can start to notice that the patches bleed if you accidentally scrape them. Inflammation, redness, and soreness are also common on your tongue and around your mouth. If it gets really bad, it can spread to your throat. (6)
How healthy your digestive system has a direct link to how balanced the “good” and the “bad” bacteria are. The “good” strains of bacteria that naturally live in your digestive system can help you process the fibers, sugars, and starches you eat.
When something disrupts this balance between your body’s bacteria, you can start to experience several digestive issues like constipation, gas, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and cramps. Studies link an overgrowth of Candida to digestive issues. (7)
One of the most common symptoms people with a Candida overgrowth experience is fatigue. There is no evidence to suggest that the overgrowth causes fatigue, but it can contribute to feeling it. It’s often accompanied by vitamin and nutrient deficiencies like magnesium, vitamin B6, and fatty acids. (8)(9)
Secondly, these infections are common in people who have sluggish or weak immune systems. This can leave you feeling fatigued or worn out, and one study suggested that this overgrowth could be a contributing factor with chronic fatigue syndrome. (10)
Roughly one in eight adults in the United States experiences chronic sinus infections with headaches, runny nose, congestion, and loss of smell. The short-term infections are usually due to bacteria, but chronic sinus infections could be due to Candidiasis. (11)
For sinus infections lasting a month or more, fungi may be to blame. If it is, the traditional antibiotics you use to treat sinus infections could make it worse. One study showed that by surveying 210 people with long-term sinus problems, roughly 96% of them had fungi present. (12)
You can find Candida in most women’s vaginal tracts. If it overgrows, you get a yeast infection. You may experience itching, burning, and discharge while you have it, and almost every woman will have at least one in their lifetime. (13)
It can also cause urinary tract infections in both men and women, but it’s more common in people with weak immune systems or the elderly. This can lead to pain and discomfort when you do go to the bathroom, as well as frequency, and it can get worse if you don’t treat it soon after the original onset. (14)
If this overgrowth or infection manages to get into your bloodstream, it can infect your joints. When this happens, you can develop arthritis in the joints. It’s common to experience pain, swelling, tenderness, and warmth in the infected joints, and it can be tough to get rid of once you develop it. It most commonly ends up in your knees and hips. (15)(16)
Just like in your digestive system, there are bacteria that prevent Candida from overgrowing on your skin and nails. If you change your environment to add more heat or moisture, it can set the stage for an overgrowth. Itching and rash are common, and it can also lead to ringworm, athlete’s foot, and toenail fungus. (17)
There are several ways that you can test for Candida overgrowth. You don’t necessarily need one of these tests to get a definitive diagnosis, but they can be helpful if you want a solid answer to your problem.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) – A CBC is a blood panel where your medical professional looks for a low white blood cell count combined with a low lymphocyte count and high neutrophil. You usually get your results within a few hours after the initial blood draw.
- Stool Testing – A comprehensive stool test will directly analyze your stools for the presence of Candida. It looks for it in your lower intestine and colon, and it’s one of the most accurate tests available.
- Urine Organix Dysbiosis Test – This urine test looks specifically for the presence of D-Arabinitol. This is a waste by-product of Candida, and you’ll have higher amounts when you have an overgrowth, and it screens for Candida in your small intestines and in your lower gut.
- Candida Antibody Blood Test– This blood panel screens for higher levels of Candida antibodies in your system. Heightened levels of these antibodies point to an infection or overgrowth.
One of the best things you can do is cut back on the amount of refined sugars and carbohydrates you eat because this directly influences what the Candida has to eat. You can also add foods to your diet that actively fight Candida like garlic, curcumin, pomegranate, coconut oil, and probiotics. However, one of the most effective treatments are anti-fungal medications, and you can only get this from a doctor. (18)(19)
Medek is a telemed service that offers our clients a fast and efficient way to get the medications they need to effectively treat their Candida overgrowth. Once you download the app, you have immediate access to a network of board-certified medical professionals that can diagnose and treat a broad range of health issues.
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