What is Candidiasis?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Getty
For years Candidiasis went mis- or undiagnosed. Then it seemed anyone who sought out a health professional was told they had Candida. Yes, it is very common, and yes, it is extremely taxing on our bodies, but not everybody has it.

Candida albicans is a naturally occurring yeast-like fungus in our mouth, oesophagus, throat and genital tract. The problem occurs when the delicate balance of flora is disrupted and the immune system weakened. Then the "bad" bacteria takes over and we have Candida, an imbalance in your gut flora.

Most often it will affect the mouth, ears, nose, gut and vagina. Both men and women are susceptible and it is advisable that both partners be treated, as it may be passed through sexual contact.

Candidiasis can affect the whole body. This type of Candidiasis is known as Systemic Candidiasis and in extreme cases can travel through the bloodstream affecting all of your organs. This nasty type of Candidiasis is called Candida Septicemia.

Imbalance why?
It is quite easy to create an imbalance. Antibiotics have been singled out as the main culprit, prescription or recreational drugs, (including the contraceptive pill and corticosteroids). Pregnancy and AIDS will increase your chances of infection.

Symptoms
Fungal infections like "jock itch", tinea (Athlete's Foot), or some rashes. Digestive complaints like bloating, nausea bad breath, malabsorption of nutrients and fatigue. Thrush- either vaginal or at the back of your throat; ringworms; fungus under the fingernails or toenails; food intolerances and environmental sensitivities. Also memory loss, white spots in the mouth; itchy anus, ears or throat; nappy rash; excess mucous, oedema, feeling heavy and sluggish, mental dullness and mood swings.

Foods to Include

  • Essential Fatty acids from fish, flaxseed oil and olive oil will protect your cells from damage.
  • Garlic reduces infection.
  • Yoghurt with live cultures to reduce fungal growth.
  • Eat a wholefoods diet, including fish, brown rice, fruit and veggies and legumes, (especially mung beans) and other whole grains.
  • Complex Carbohydrates, chewed properly can be helpful, not harmful like once thought.
  • Sprouts are wonderful.
  • Seaweeds: their iodine content will deactivate yeasts.
  • Green plants like parsley, watercress, cabbage, wheatgrass, and spirulina have high amounts of chlorophyll, which promote a healthy intestinal flora.


Foods to Avoid
  • Sugar: in all forms as Candida thrives on it.
  • Yeast: as Candida is yeast, adding baker's yeast just makes the problem a whole lot worse. (Don’t forget that yeast in is Vegemite and Promite etc). Instead eat sourdough bread, made from spelt or kamut flour.
  • Refined carbohydrates: these usually aren’t tolerated anyway. These foods turn very quickly into sugar which Candida thrives on.
  • Fermented foods like tempeh, miso, soy sauce and vinegars.
  • Fruit. One piece a day should be OK, as fruit is full of fructose (a sugar). Avoid acidic types like oranges, limes, pineapples, grapefruit, lemons and tomatoes.). Dried fruits are a non-no.
  • Nuts and seed, unless freshly roasted.


Herbal Medicine
  • Pau D'arco is an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial herb as well as being immune boosting. It may be drunk as a tea for maintenance.
  • Citrus Seed Extract. This anti-microbial extract works in the same way as an antibiotic. It bombs everything in the gut, good and bad. You have to be quite strong and healthy to do this however, you will have no defence as the good bacterium has been bombed as well. (Try Pau Darco first.) You must be gentle on yourself during this time. No late nights, too much alcohol, going out with wet hair etc., as you will be susceptible to illness. Dose: Take 9 drops of the liquid extract a day. I would advise you purchase a bottle of vegetable capsules from your health food store or chemist and drop the extract in these before taking. This medicine is really very awful. After the two weeks is up, and you will probably not be feeling great in that time, is imperative that you follow with a bottle of acidophilus to re-establish the good gut flora.
  • Golden Seal will help repair inflamed intestinal lining.


Supplements
  • Acidophilus (non-dairy formula) will help to balance gut flora. I have found that giving it before you have reduced the overgrowth, doesn’t make much difference, as the bad stuff gobbles it up. Try to reduce the Candida before taking acidophilus, unless your case is mild.
  • For thrush, try umeboshi plums orally or as a douche, diluted Tea Tree oil topically or in the bath, or a douche of vinegar and water (1:3) or use a douch of Pau D’arco and Garlic tea. A clove of garlic, which has threaded with cotton, may be inserted in the vagina and left overnight for one month is also very helpful.
  • Vitamin C for improving immunity.


Lifestyle
  • Try and stay cool. Heat and damp environments make it worse.
  • The sugars in alcohol will exacerbate the condition. Definitely avoid beer.
  • Stress really does make it worse, especially worry and anxiety.
  • Apply yoghurt topically to vagina to reduce fungus growth.
  • Seek professional advice if you have persistent Candida. It may be a symptom of an underlying illness.
  • Check for mercury poisoning. This can lead to Candidiasis.
  • Candidiasis is common in those with AIDS.
  • Avoid overeating.
  • Reduce raw food, as these will weaken digestion.
  • Eat simply, avoiding too many flavours in one meal.
  • It is very important to re-establish good bacteria in the gut after taking antibiotics. Use miso, sauerkraut, acidophilus, sea veggies or wheat or barley grass. (Remember that animals are fed antibiotics, so if you are eating animal products, the above food should be a regular part of your diet.)
  • Exercise regularly and moderately.



ThinkstockBrush your teeth – or risk a heart attack ThinkstockCutting sleep leads to serious health problems ThinkstockMost asthma deaths could be prevented: report ThinkstockHow old is your heart? Researchers create online test to determine heart attack and stroke risk
advertisement