Have your ever heard of candida infection before? Most women won't talk about it openly, but it's definitely something that all of us are familiar with.
Statistics say around 75% of women develop vaginal candida infection at least once in their lifetime. But do you know that menopausal women are even more prone to this condition? To avoid having this yeast infection, let's get candid with candida!
Candida, commonly known as yeast infection is a disease that is mainly caused by the strain, Candida albicans. The strain is a fungus which is normally found in the body. In fact, it is considered as a normal flora and is found in the vagina, skin, underarms, toes and even the gut.
When this fungus is within normal count, it is one of the body's primary defense. But when it goes out of control and multiplies more than the usual, it causes the candida infection. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention(CDC) explains that candida infection can be in three different forms.
A type of yeast infection that mainly affects the mouth and the throat. In worse cases, the infection could reach the esophagus and is called as candida esophagitis. The most common signs of yeast infection of the mouth is angular cheilitis and difficulty in swallowing. The infection can also cause redness and soreness around the oral cavity.
Candida infection that affects the vaginal area. This usually happens when the vaginal pH level is imbalanced, destroying the normal acidity of the vaginal region. With this type of candida, a woman may experience having an itching or burning feeling in the genital area. At times, the infection may cause a cottage cheese-like discharge.
Invasive Candida Infection
Oral thrush and genital candidiasis are conditions which symptoms are isolated in one area. However, with an invasive candida infection, the symptoms are general and it could also occur in different parts of the body. It could affect the brain, bones, blood stream, heart and even the digestive system. When this condition happens, a person may experience chills and persistent fever that doesn't respond to antibiotics.
Causes and Signs of Yeast or Candida Infection
There are a lot of reasons why the signs of yeast infection would show up. The following are just some of the common causes:
- Estrogen therapy or fluctuations of estrogen levels in the body
- Taking antibiotics for a long period
- Continuous use of specific medications like aspirin
- Imbalances in pH level
- Increased consumption of sugar or sugary foods and poor diet
- Suppressed immune system
- Poor or improper hygiene
- Use of tight clothing, especially damp ones, may aggravate candida growth
- Significant emotional stress
There are several things that may happen if candida infection happens, especially if it is a systemic yeast infection. The very first signs of yeast infection in a systemic aspect affect the digestive tract. It may show signs and symptoms including the following:
- bloating and indigestion
- diarrhea or constipation
- abdominal cramps
- feeling of fullness
- rectal itching
- leaky gut
- having food allergies and hypersensitivity
In other cases, it may affect the brain and cause headache and dizziness, insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, and memory impairment. The skin infection could cause acne, hives and itching. It may also cause body aches and joint pain. Diminished hearing, runny nose, itchy throat and ear pain are also reported by some people who had candida.
How do I Know If I have Candida Infection?
Many people choose to go to the doctor directly to make sure that they have candida. What not many people know about is that it is possible to diagnose candida infection at home. Yes, you read that right! In fact, it takes only a few seconds to a minute to do the test. Check out this video below to know how (7.03 minutes)!
The test for candida was short and simple, right? Two more videos will give you more information about Candida. The first one is about pH balance, how to test it and what the result implies. Learn how to simply use pH test strips in seconds!
You can also watch FitLifeTV's video, “Why your body's pH is the secret to vitality” and another one of their interesting videos, “How to build your hydrochloric acid” where you will learn how to bring back the balance of acids in your stomach.
Tips to Prevent Candida Infection
- Wash your delicate part (but not over-wash it), and make sure it’s completely dry before dressing up.
- Use cotton panties, or pantyhose with cotton crotch, and make sure it’s clean and not too tight.
- After swimming or working out in the gym, change to clean clothes immediately.
- Avoid strongly scented vaginal wash or douche.
- Watch your diet
- Avoid starchy foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, grains, dried fruits, cured meat, all shellfish, dairy and foods that could damage the gut.
- Start chewing on vegetables like asparagus, cabbage, garlic, olives, onions
- Eat fresh and organic meats; wild salmon, herring; sunflower seeds, walnuts, and non-glutinous grains
- Add some healthy herbs like basil, cinnamon, paprika, thyme, rosemary and neem. Neem is especially helpful in preventing candida infection because of its antifungal and antimicrobial properties. According to a study published in the National Institutes of Health, neem leaf extract can inhibit the overgrowth of candida and other pathogens.
Candida Infection Treatment Options
It is good to remember that you don't have to pay very high prices for candida treatments because there are things you can do on your own to help you fight off the infection. Firs,t listen to the basic things you can do to treat and eliminate the signs of yeast infection. Check out Dr. Axe with his video on how to cure candida in 6 steps (7.28 minutes)!
Cleansing is the first step to treating Candida overgrowth. However, this part is optional. Cleansing requires you to adopt a very strict diet of only raw salads, steamed vegetables, and some herbs. It also consists of devoting to detoxifying drinks and tons of water to flush out the Candida in your system.
What you eat plays a significant role in the treatment of yeast infection. Candida feeds on what you have inside your body. So it is important to eliminate sources that make it grow in enormous amounts.
The Anti-Candida Diet is created by an expert in digestive health, Lisa Richards, who has helped thousands of candida victims improve their conditions. This diet is more of a balanced diet but crossed-out certain foods that could cause candida overgrowth such as sugar, starchy vegetables, or anything with high glycemic load. It also consists of foods that could actually fight yeast infection, and list of foods that should be avoided.
The Guts and Psychology Syndrome(GAPS)diet could also be the solution to total eradication of candida. Poor digestion is one the causes of Candida over growth, this particular diet that consists of saturated fats, good sugar, and sea salt, helps by intensely boosting the metabolism and aiding with the healthy hormones to battle with these unwanted microorganisms.
Another diet that heals leaky gut (which could also be a reason for Candida overpopulation) is Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) diet. This diet does not only suite those who have Candida issues, but also favors those who have autoimmune diseases. It is a nutrient-dense diet that are all beneficial to heal the gut. It also consists of foods to avoid like grains, dairy, eggs, nuts, synthetic sweeteners, and food chemicals. Learn more about AIP!
Another diet that could treat Candida overgrowth is termed as Specific Carbohydrate Diet(SCD). Developed by Sydney Valentine Haas, MD, it is first used to treat patients with ulcerative colitis. The diet was first applied to Haas' daughter who suffered from the same disease. SCD helps in Candida overgrowth by healing the leaky gut. It is a strict grain-free, sucrose-free, and lactose-free diet that is also applicable to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Crohn's disease. Learn more about SCD.
Taking supplements could also help in treating yeast or Candida infection.
Are you suffering from Candida or yeast infection? What did you do to about it? We'd like to hear from you! Share it with us below.