Today, let’s talk some about a stealthy, sneaky and energy draining, health problem I’d never given a thought until recently when a loyal far side of 55 reader, and online friend, happened to mention it’s frustrating and painful effects.
The ailment is candidiasis, and commonly referred to as candida, or a yeast infection.
Candidiasis isn’t really a yeast infection, either.
Rather, it’s a fungus infection, caused by one of over 20 candida types of yeasts. The candida species, albicans, is most often the culprit, and is the easiest to treat.
We all have various types of yeast on our skin, with higher concentrations in fluids and in all our ‘moist’ body parts and openings.
When these yeasts are balanced with our production of bacteria, they help with functions like digestion, and help fight against infections and inflammations.
The problem, or ‘yeast infections’, are caused by over production, or yeast overgrowth, of one or more of the different candida yeasts.
Some medications, and health problems that weaken immune systems, can cause more yeast than we need to grow, particularly in those warm, moist body areas.
Because the excess yeast spores continue doing their ‘thing’, without interference from an equal balance of bacteria, our bodies are essentially attacked by rampaging yeast cells.
What a visual, huh?
Types of Candidiasis, or fungal infections:
- Thrush, or oral candidiasis (“Oropharyngeal)
- Vaginal yeast infections (Genital, or Vulvovaginal Candidiasis)
- Belanitis (infection of the glans of penis)
- Skin, or cutaneous, candidiasis
- Invasive candidiasis, or systemic candidiasis (yeast infection in our blood)
- White spots inside mouth and on tongue
- Redness or sensitive mouth area
- Sore throat, hard to swallow
- Cracking around mouth corners and lip areas
Our bodies natural healing process could eventually overcome thrush symptoms.
But, some health problem caused the symptoms and warrants testing and profession treatment. Left untreated, thrush can infect our bloodstream, a serious health condition.
Vaginal yeast infection symptoms:
- Persistent vaginal itching
- Red and sore vaginal area
- Vaginal discharge (white, clumpy and cottage cheese looking)
- Painful intercourse
Vaginal yeast infected women could infect their sexual partners, especially during oral sex. And, vice versa. (Men’s yeast infection is called ‘belanitis’ and symptoms are penis tip itching and red rash on penis.)
Professional medical treatment is essential when vaginal, or penis yeast infection symptoms appear.
Candidiasis, or diaper rash, symptoms:
- Red patches of skin, usually in the wrinkles near the thighs
- Yellow blister like growths
A doctor should be consulted if commonsense treatment doesn’t work fairly soon.
Invasive candidiasis, or candidemia (yeast infection in our blood) symptoms:
Symptoms aren’t that clear cut, but normally include fevers and chills, which don’t respond to antibiotics.
Candidemia is extremely rare in people without risk factors like, being an intensive care unit patient, a surgery patient, patients with catheters, people with weakened immune systems from diseases like HIV, and in very low birth weight infants.
Yet, it’s the fourth most common bloodstream infection among hospitalized patients in the United States.
It can attack organs, and other body parts, such as kidneys, liver, bones, muscles, joints, spleen, and eyes. Unless successfully treated, it will shut down the body’s organs. Extremely serious.
Generic symptoms of yeast infections:
Despite similarities, the symptoms (and treatment) of each case of yeast infection could be as unique as it’s sufferer’s lifestyle, age and overall health.
When generic treatments don’t work the testing process can include stool analysis and extensive blood tests. Types of Candida Infections
Who gets infected?
According to the U.S. government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Anyone can get a fungal infection, even people who are otherwise healthy. Fungi are common in the environment, and people breathe in or come in contact with fungal spores every day without getting sick. However, in people with weak immune systems, these fungi are more likely to cause an infection…”
If you suspect you’re infected, but aren’t sure, I found a ‘self-test’ you can take at the National Candida Center
- Overuse of antibiotics, especially prescription and other man-made drugs. Among those: birth control pills, hormones, steroids, antacids and anti-inflammatory drugs. Another carrier of harmful antibiotics are found in cow’s milk.
- Alcohol, a yeast by-product, tends to kill bacteria our bodies need.
- Diet. Candida feeds on sugar and over production of yeast can cause sugar cravings. Examples: fructose laden drinks and foods like juice, soda, syrups, ice cream and candy. Intense cravings are usually a tell-tell sign of too much yeast production.
- Tap water with chlorine kills both bad and good bacteria in our guts and allows our yeast production to get outta balance. Drink filtered water, spring water, and even distilled water, instead. (Room temperature is best)
- Bowel problems like constipation and diarrhea, IBS, leaky gut syndrome, gas and bloating are often a signal of CO. (CO: candida overgrowth)
- Chronic stress. Stress can cause nervousness and fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, high blood pressure and sleeping problems… all of which are capable of throwing off our natural bodily functions.
- Chemicals and mold in our environment. When our bodies have to fight off the effects of these, our immune systems become tired and rundown. This also wrecks normal liver function.
- Food additives. Many of the chemicals in processed foods kill intestinal flora, screw up our immune systems and allow overgrowth of yeast. Artificial sweeteners and MSG are especially suspect.
Natural treatment for candida overgrowth:
My research did find natural treatments that were said to work. However, none were supported by documented testing.
These natural treatments were basically the same with some minor variations. They included:
- Detox by not eating foods known to increase yeast production. (No sugars; no fruit; no cow’s milk; no alcohol; no peanuts; or melons.)
- Promote intestine balance by adding foods that generate digestive bacteria. Foods include: flaxseed, psyllium and chia seeds, and fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt and coconut water.
The above steps could help in many non-complex cases. But, because the underlying causes weren’t found and treated, the curative effects probably wouldn’t last long-term.
A more responsible solution would include doing them in conjunction with testing and treatment while under established medical professional treatment. Read more about Candidiasis Treatment & Management
My conclusion about candidiasis is pretty straight forward…
Candidiasis is a real disease that’s fairly easy to get and could involve complex testing and lengthy treatment experimentation to get rid of.
Treatment steps must take into account the sufferers lifestyle, diet and overall health. A person’s age and underlying health issues, such as having HIV, diabetes, and high stress levels, play a crucial role in treatment success.
It’s also clear that processed foods, like refined flour, sugars, (and their substitutes), the products containing those elements, plus chronic high stress and lifestyle choices, are most often the root cause of CO, or yeast infections.
As usual, we’ll remind you… “I don’t know anything for certain and I’ve no advice about anything. My role is reporting upon my research and sharing personal stories with you.
Still, I hope to inspire you to take personal responsibility for what’s going on in your life. And remind you that how you feel about the whole ball of wax, is also your personal responsibility.