Many types of fungi live in and on the human body, including the genus of yeast known as Candida. Candida is usually found in small amounts in the mouth and intestines and on the skin. At normal levels, the fungus is not problematic. However, when Candida begins to grow out of control, it can cause an infection known as candidiasis. In fact, Candida is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans. In general, healthy bacteria in the body help keep Candida levels in check. However, if healthy bacteria levels are disrupted or the immune system is compromised, Candida can start to overproduce.
Here are some factors that can lead to Candida overproduction:
– Taking antibiotics
– Diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates
– High alcohol consumption
– A weakened immune system
– Taking oral contraceptives
– high stress levels.
When Candida starts to overproduce, it can lead to various health issues.
1. Oral thrush
Candidiasis that develops in the mouth or throat is called “thrush”. It is more common in newborns, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.
People with poor oral hygiene or removable dentures are also at increased risk. People with oral thrush usually develop white, bumpy patches on the tongue, inside of the cheeks, gums, tonsils, or throat. Lesions may be painful and bleed slightly when scratched. Oral thrush is also often associated with redness or pain in the tongue and mouth. In the most severe cases, it can spread to the esophagus and cause pain or difficulty swallowing.
Summary: When there is too much Candida in the mouth, it can cause white, bumpy sores, redness and pain in the mouth and throat. This phenomenon is also known as oral thrush.
2. Fatigue and exhaustion
One of the most common symptoms associated with Candida is fatigue. Although there is no evidence that Candida causes fatigue, it can contribute to it in several ways.
First, candidiasis is often accompanied by nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B6, essential fatty acids and magnesium. Magnesium deficiency, in particular, is known to cause fatigue. Second, Candida infections usually occur when the immune system is weakened. A poorly functioning immune system can in itself make you feel tired and tired. A study suggests that prolonged intestinal candidiasis could even be a potential cause of chronic fatigue syndrome.
3. Recurrent infections of the genital or urinary tract
Candida is found in the vaginal passages of most women. Its overgrowth can lead to vaginal candidiasis, also known as yeast infection. It is estimated that 75% of women will have at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime, and half of them will have at least one recurrence. Men can also get genital yeast infections, but it’s much less common. Symptoms of vaginal candidiasis include redness, swelling, itching, painful intercourse, and thick white discharge from the vagina. Although much less common, candidiasis can also cause a urinary tract infection (UTI). Candida-related UTIs are more common in older people, hospitalized people, or immunocompromised people. Symptoms of a UTI include a burning sensation when you urinate, frequent urination, cloudy, dark, or odd-smelling urine, and pain or pressure in your lower abdomen. Although other bacteria, such as E. coli, are more likely to cause UTIs.
However, if you suffer from recurring infections and suspect they are due to an overgrowth of Candida, you can have your urine tested to find out.
4. Digestive problems
The health of your digestive system relies heavily on getting the right balance of the “good” and “bad” bacteria that live in your gut. The “good” bacteria that normally reside in your gut are important for digestion because they help break down starches, fiber, and some sugars. When the bacteria in your gut are out of balance, you can experience digestive upset, including constipation, diarrhea, nausea, gas, cramps, and bloating. Recent studies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida is associated with several diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (18
5. Sinus infections
The most common symptoms are runny nose, stuffy nose, loss of smell and headache. Although short-term sinusitis is mainly caused by bacteria, many long-term chronic sinusitis are thought to be fungal in origin. A study conducted on a group of 210 people with chronic sinus infections found that 96% of them had fungus in their mucus. Antibiotics are the usual method of treating sinusitis. It may work for acute bacterial sinus infections, but not for chronic fungal infections. In fact, treating a chronic sinus infection with antibiotics might even make it worse. If you have sinus infections that last longer than a month, Candida may be to blame.
6. Fungal skin and nail infections
Just like in your gut, there are bacteria on your skin that keep Candida from growing out of control. All bacteria thrive in different conditions, including varying levels of temperature, humidity, or acidity. This is why a change in your skin’s environment can allow Candida to overproduce. For example, cosmetics, soaps, and moisturizers can alter skin conditions, especially antibacterial varieties. While thrush can affect any part of the body, warm, moist areas, such as the armpits and groin, are particularly prone to infection. Itching and a visible rash are the two most common symptoms of fungal skin infections. An overgrowth of Candida can cause conditions such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus. Although not life threatening, skin fungal infections can be very uncomfortable and significantly decrease quality of life.
7. Joint pain
If a Candida infection enters the bloodstream and spreads through the body, it can infect the joints and cause arthritis. This usually only happens after surgery or when a Candida overgrowth is left untreated for an extended period of time. Candida arthritis is associated with joint pain, stiffness and swelling.
The hips and knees tend to be most commonly infected. Candida can also cause bone infections, or osteomyelitis, which can cause pain and tenderness in the infected area. Bone and joint infections are not very common, but once infected can be very difficult to get rid of.
How to fight candidiasis
The best way to treat thrush and prevent recurring infections is to address the underlying cause. The foods you eat play an important role in maintaining the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut. Refined sugars, carbohydrates, and dairy products high in lactose can promote the overgrowth of Candida and other “bad” microorganisms. Excessive consumption of these foods can promote infections if your immune system is weakened. On the other hand, certain foods have been shown to promote the development of “good” bacteria and inhibit the growth of Candida.
– Garlic: Garlic contains an antifungal substance called allicin, which has been shown to work against Candida yeast in animal and test-tube studies
– Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which has been shown to fight Candida infections in multiple test-tube studies.
– Curcumin: Test-tube studies indicate that curcumin can kill Candida yeast, or at least reduce their growth.
– Xylitol: In a test-tube study, xylitol helped fight Candida, decreasing its ability to stick to a surface and cause infection.
– Aloe vera: Aloe vera gel can inhibit the growth of Candida in the mouth and prevent infections.
– Pomegranate: A test-tube study indicated that plant compounds in pomegranate are beneficial against Candida yeast.
– Kombucha: Kombucha tea is rich in tea polyphenols and acetic acid, which have been shown to kill Candida in test-tube studies.
– Probiotics: Probiotics like Lactobacillus can reduce the growth of Candida and protect against infections
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