By Luke Coutinho,
Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine – Holistic Nutrition and Founder – PureNutrition.me
Sugar cravings, headaches, bloating, depression, anxiety, chronic digestive issues, and hormonal imbalance are some of the common health issues we face on a daily basis. These symptoms are the alarm bells that the body uses to communicate that something is not right and something needs to be done. We often neglect these symptoms and get back to our daily lives but what we are actually doing is making matters worse by providing an ideal breeding ground for a number of bacterial and fungal infections. One such infection is Candida overgrowth.
What is Candida?
I have heard people say that Candida itself is an infection. That’s not true, because everyone has Candida! Candida is a type of yeast that naturally exists in your body. It’s a normal part of your gut bacteria and is present in mucous membranes, on the skin, and in the birth canal.
Under normal circumstances, Candida isn’t a problem and it coexists with the other bacteria in your intestinal tract. It’s only when Candida grows and overpopulates your digestive system that it can spread to the rest of your body and cause an infection known as Candida overgrowth.
Candida is commonly found in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina, and it may affect skin and other mucous membranes. If the immune system is functioning optimally, this type of yeast infection is rarely serious. However, if the immune system is not functioning properly, the candida infection can migrate to other areas of the body, including the blood and membranes around the heart or brain, causing serious candida symptoms.
Symptoms of Candida
The symptoms of Candida are very difficult for the physician to detect as it shares common symptoms with other health ailments. Here’s a list of some common symptoms;
- Skin and nail fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus
- Feeling tired and worn down, or suffering from chronic fatigue
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea
- Difficulty concentrating and brain fog
- Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
As the frequency of this infection increases, a number of tests are now available to detect Candida overgrowth.
- Stool testing
- Serum Testing
- Candida DNA testing
- Stool PCR testing
- Microbial organic testing
Cleaning/Treating Candida Overgrowth
According to me, in order to successfully treat it, you need to do three things: arrest the yeast overgrowth, build up the friendly bacteria, and heal your gut so that candida can no longer enter your bloodstream.
Heal your gut and rebuild the good bacteria. Taking anywhere from 25 to 100 billion units of probiotics on a regular basis should help to fight Candida overgrowth naturally. Consume more yogurt and kefir to help increase good bacteria in your body. In absence of these foods, a good probiotic supplement also works.
Apply coconut oil or curcumin (haldi) to the affected regions. Coconut oil has lauric acid that can fight Candida infection, while curcumin is a proven and potent anti-fungal agent.
Finally, manage your stress to flush Candida out of you system faster. Having a proper balance between work and life, getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep and exercising regularly helps treat the infection faster.