What is Candida?

November 30 2017

Jacqueline Rosenhek

Ever had a yeast infection anywhere on your body?  Maybe you’ve had one on your skin, or on your nails, maybe on your genitals or in your mouth. Why does that happen? It is because of a very common selection of yeasts called Candida. Our bodies commonly carry a couple different types of candida, benefitting from our bodies hosting them without really affecting our well-being; however, when our mucous barriers are disrupted or our immune systems are compromised the candida can invade and cause a few different types of infections such as yeast infections in different areas of the body, thrush and digestive issues, all within varying degrees of severity. As previously mentioned, we generally host candida yeast inside of our bodies without there really being a problem; in fact they are a part of our intestinal and oral flora and are even present within our skin. Its growth is controlled and limited both by the immune system and competing microorganisms in the same areas of our bodies.
Candida needs a moist environment for growth, especially on the skin. For example, wearing wet swimwear for long periods of time is believed to be a risk factor especially for vaginal yeast infections.  In extreme cases, superficial infections of the skin or mucous membranes may enter into the bloodstream and cause systemic candida infections. Candida related infections (known as candidiasis) include  HIV/AIDS, mononucleosis, chemotherapy treatments, steroids, stress, antibiotic usage, diabetes, and nutrient deficiency as well as hormone replacement therapy. Treatment with antibiotics can lead to eliminating the yeast’s natural competitors for resources in the oral and intestinal flora which can only exacerbate the candidiasis and as previously mentioned, a weakened immune system is also a major factor in candidiasis. Some common signs and symptoms for candidiasis are:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Recurring yeast infections
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Oral thrush
  • Sinus infections
  • Low energy
  • Weakened immune system
  • Digestive problems
  • Food intolerances
  • Fungal skin and/or nail infections
  • Joint pain

One of the most effective approaches with candidiasis is through natural means, as well as taking certain cautionary preventative measures. There are a few dietary guidelines you should follow if you are prone to candidiasis. Avoid junk food like the plague. Junk food contains so much sugar which is known to make candidiasis much worse. Stick to non-starchy vegetables (avoid potatoes) and eat a lot of lean protein and non-glutinous grains. Fermented foods such as kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut are an absolute must for helping to rebuild healthy bacteria in the body which can inhibit the candidiasis’ growth. Speaking of rebuilding good bacteria, taking probiotic supplements is highly recommended when you are suffering from candidiasis, they boost your immune system, regulate acidity in your gut, and crowd out the candida yeast. Methods like these have helped many of those who have dealt with the many forms of candidiasis and it can help you too! It is important to know how our bodies work and what we need to do in order to keep them working properly!

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