Candidiasis

Candidiasis

could yeast be making you sick?

Yeast is normally associated with food such as bread or alcoholic beverages like wine and bourbon whiskey. The term Candida refers to a specific type of yeast which is commonly found throughout our environment. Candida yeast organisms are found in the air we breathe, the clothing we wear, in carpeting, in warm, moist environments like bathrooms and locker rooms. Candida is naturally found in our skin, mucous membranes and digestive system. Normally the presence of Candida is not a problem if the yeast and its growth are kept in check. But compromised health, some medications, and a poor diet can set the stage for a rapid growth and over growth of Candida yeast in our bodies.

Candida Albicans is a member of the Candida family and it is the most infectious strain of yeast for humans. It multiplies rapidly and makes itself at home in our mucus membranes. In fact, most of us receive our first yeast cultures from our mother’s body during birth. Under normal circumstances Candida remains benign and is kept under control by the "friendly" bacteria in our intestinal tract. These friendly bacteria inhibit the growth of Candida and other harmful bacteria. Some of these beneficial bacteria are Lactobacilli Acidophilus and Bifido Bacterium-substances you often see added to dairy products and supplied in capsule form to be taken to “restore” the natural balance of bacterial flora in our digestive tract.

Candidiasis is a term used to describe a condition in which there is an overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal tract that is affecting our health. In advanced cases of Candidiasis, the yeast develops root like growths that penetrate and attach themselves to the mucous membranes in our intestines as they search for food and can penetrate the walls of the intestines and ultimately come into contact with the bloodstream. This becomes even more dangerous as the toxic waste substances they produce in their life-cycle enters the blood stream. Left unchecked, the continued growth of the yeast can further damage the intestinal wall allowing toxic substances from the bowel to be absorbed into the blood stream. Undigested food, alcohol, by products such as ammonia can all seep into the blood stream in advanced cases of the condition leading to serious malfunctioning of many vital systems in our bodies as the yeast and toxins catch a ride through our blood stream.

Who hasn’t seen a commercial on TV for a feminine hygiene product designed to cure a vaginal yeast infection? However, Candidiasis can occur in both men and women of all ages. Women’s hormones can play a role in encouraging the over growth and he symptoms are more outwardly noticeable. But men are just as likely to develop Candidiasis as long as the conditions for yeast overgrowth exist. The Candida yeast and its toxins have a negative effect on almost any part of the body so the symptoms can be varied and mimic symptoms of other conditions. However, yeast overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract and the urogenital tract seem to be the most common. People with Candidiasis often suffer with abdominal pain, gas and bloating, heartburn, colitis, gastritis, constipation and/or diarrhea, indigestion and an inability to digest food, chronic bladder and/or vaginal yeast infections, kidney infections and an inflamed prostate gland. Additionally, as these toxic waste products, bowel toxins, undigested food, alcohol and ammonia circulate through the bloodstream, allergy symptoms will occur or be aggravated. You may experience symptoms of hay fever, sinusitis, chronic ear infections, hives, asthma, coughs, eczema, psoriasis, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, muscle aches, acne, and food and chemical sensitivities. Hyperactivity in children can also be a result of Candidiasis. If you find that you are ultra sensitive to perfumes, household cleaners, hairspray, fumes etc., Candida yeast could be the root cause. An overgrowth of Candida may also be the root cause of food allergies as well.

Candidiasis should not be taken lightly. Long term, the central nervous system can be affected by the yeast overgrowth. Fatigue, irritability, deterioration of mental faculties, loss of libido, joint pains and stiffness and numbness and tingling of the extremities can occur. Candidiasis can also create or intensify the malfunction of particular glands and organs. It often plays a significant role in thyroid and adrenal disorders, diabetes, hypoglycemia, menstrual irregularities, menstrual cramps, PMS, depression, endometriosis, even infertility. If your weekly diet consists primarily of fast foods, you crave sweets, sugary foods, breads and cheese and ice cream, and often give in to those cravings, you could be setting yourself up for a long battle with Candidiasis. 

If you are a woman between the ages of 20 and 45, experience chronic vaginal itching, burning and discharge. take over the counter medications for a vaginal infection that never completely goes away, you could have Candidiasis. If you have experienced chronic urinary tract infections and have been prescribed antibiotics, this can cause further yeast overgrowth and exacerbate your symptoms. Candida organisms can multiply during periods when immunity is low. Conditions which stimulate yeast growth include the use of antibiotics, birth control pills, cortisone and other steroids; pregnancy; diets rich in refined carbohydrates, yeast, and exposure to chemicals; chemotherapy and multiple surgeries. It is not only the antibiotics and other drugs that we are prescribed by our doctors, it is also the antibiotics and hormones added to the meat and poultry products we eat.

It has also been found, that Candidiasis often goes hand in hand with chronic viral infections such as Epstein Barr Virus. This may indicate your immune system is so depleted by this viruses that it has no resistance to the yeast overgrowth. And it seems that in some cases, having Candidiasis may predispose one to a chronic viral infection as yeast overgrowth can severely lower ones immunity.

Any treatment for Candidiasis must involve dietary restrictions if you expect to get ahead of the yeast and recover. Foods such as sugar, soda, fruit juices, fruit, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, dairy products, fermented and smoked foods, foods containing vinegar and foods made from yeast must be eliminated/reduced and replaced by foods which do not encourage yeast growth, such as vegetables, proteins and complex carbohydrates. It is also recommended to increase biotin levels as biotin helps prevent the yeast from reproducing.

There are many natural products which kill yeast without creating the side effects associated with the Western medical approaches. Products containing caprylic acid, undecylenic acid, berberine sulfate and grapefruit seed extract can be very effective for those who can tolerate them. Antifungal herbal preparations containing oregano oil, goldenseal, uva ursi, garlic, pau d' arco, clove, astragalus, coptis, phellodendron and white oak bark are also effective. Most importantly, the intestinal flora need to be recolonized with the "friendly bacteria," such as, Lactobacilli Acidophilus and Bifido Bacterium. There are numerous products available now to replace the "friendly" flora that will reach deep into the mucus membranes of the intestines. There are also very good Homeopathic remedies for Candidiasis such as the Aqua Flora system (www.Aquaflorainc.com)

If you feel you are suffering from Candidiasis it is important to see an alternative healthcare practitioner who has experience treating this condition or specializes in it as its diagnosis and treatment require a significant amount of knowledge and experience. Today there are specific blood tests and stool cultures that can be performed to determine if Candidiasis may be present.A key factor in the treatment of Candidiasis is strengthening the immune system. Blood tests can be taken to determine if there are deficiencies in vitamins D, B12 and folic acid and zinc. Thyroid and adrenal function should also be tested. Many patients suffering with Candidiasis are also hypoglycemic and/or hypothyroid. These conditions need to be addressed in conjunction with the treatment of Candidiasis. Acupuncture is also extremely beneficial when treating Candidiasis as it can strengthen the spleen and kidneys. Acupuncture is also very effective at enhancing the immune system which is crucial when treating Candidiasis. Combining Acupuncture with strict dietary guidelines and appropriate antifungal products can be a very successful treatment for eradicating the condition of Candidiasis.

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