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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

5 Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth (And How To Treat It)

5 Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth (And How To Treat It)

Do you constantly suffer from bloating or indigestion after meals? Are you always tired, irritable, or unable to think clearly? Does your skin break out into rashes or acne?

All of these issues – along with many others – could be the symptoms of Candida. Candida overgrowth is a common issue affecting adult women and men, and overcoming it requires a comprehensive attack plan.[1]

What is Candida Overgrowth?

Candida albicans is a type of yeast that lives naturally in your gastrointestinal tract and other parts of your body. Usually, Candida doesn’t cause any problems, and it can even play a small role in assisting with digestion. The ‘good’ bacteria in your gut work to keep Candida yeast in check.

However, if the balance between your good and bad bacteria is disrupted, Candida can grow out of control. This leads to an infection known as Candidiasis and a host of nasty health issues.[2]

Here are the five most common symptoms of Candida overgrowth.

5 Common Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth

1. Recurring Thrush or Urinary Tract Infections

Vaginal infections – also known as thrush – are a common symptom of Candida. The Candida yeast lives in the genital area, especially in the vagina. In fact, it’s estimated that around 75% of women will have a vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lifetime. Half of those women will have one or more recurring infections.[3]

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Symptoms of thrush or vaginal yeast infections include itching, redness, and pain during sex. A thick white vaginal discharge is also common. Thrush can affect women and girls of all ages, although it’s unlikely to occur before puberty or after menopause.

Risk factors for developing a vaginal yeast infection include being pregnant, a recent course of antibiotics, diabetes or high blood sugar levels, and a history of STIs.

An overgrowth of Candida can also lead to a urinary tract infection (UTI). This is more common in the elderly, hospitalized, or people who are immune-compromised. UTI symptoms include burning on urination, a frequent urge to urinate, dark urine, strong-smelling urine, or pain in the lower abdomen.[4]

2. Digestive Issues

While we all suffer from indigestion or bloating from time to time, constant discomfort after eating is a sign that all is not well in your gastrointestinal system. This is often due to an imbalance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria that live in your intestines.

Your good bacteria are crucial for the fermentation process that allows your body to break down the food you eat and absorb nutrients. They also help in the digestion of starches, fiber, and a number of other compounds.

However, if your gut is overwhelmed by ‘bad’ bacteria and yeast, you will likely experience digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, gas, cramps, or bloating.

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Yeast overgrowth is often responsible for an imbalance in the gut microbiome. It’s also associated with various digestive gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Moreover, several animal studies have shown that Candida colonization in the gut can lead to inflammation that promotes further colonization. This can lead to a vicious cycle in which low-level inflammation continues to support the spread of Candida and may even contribute to inflammatory bowel disease.

Both inflammatory bowel diseases and Candida overgrowth are associated with increased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines.[5]

3. Fungal Infections of the Skin and Nails

Your skin and nails are also home to many species of beneficial bacteria that help prevent the Candida yeast from spreading. However, if a change to your environment or health status affects the temperature or moisture levels of your body, your beneficial bacteria may struggle to keep the Candida yeast in check.

Higher temperatures, moisture, and acidity can cause some bacteria and yeasts to grow out of control. This can be caused by certain climates or health conditions, but also by cosmetics, soaps, and other topical skin care products.

Although Candida infections of the skin can affect any part of the body, its prime locations are the areas that are warm and moist. Most Candida infections are in the groin, armpits, or feet. Symptoms include itching and an angry rash.[6]

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4. Low Energy and Fatigue

Although fatigue is a common ailment in modern life, it’s also a symptom in Candida sufferers. There are many ways that an overgrowth of Candida yeast can contribute to low energy and consistent exhaustion.

When the balance of your gut microbiome is disrupted by Candida, your digestive function will be less efficient. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies because your body is unable to break down food properly. Low levels of vitamin B6, essential fatty acids, and magnesium are often linked to tiredness and fatigue. Deficiency in magnesium is often linked to fatigue.

In addition, a weakened immune system can also contribute to poor energy levels. If your gut microbiome is compromised by Candida yeast, it will not be able to fight off other invading pathogens and illnesses as efficiently. This can leave you more susceptible to infection and suffering from chronic exhaustion.

Some practitioners believe that Candida overgrowth may be linked to chronic fatigue syndrome.

5. Mind and Mood Problems

Mood swings, anxiety, low mood, irritability, poor memory, and brain fog are often attributed to hormones or stress, but that’s not always the case. Candida overgrowth is a major cause of mind and mood issues that can make life difficult.

Research has shown a gut-brain axis in which our brains are inextricably linked to your gastrointestinal tract. In fact, up to 95% of our serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood) is made in your gut. Low levels of serotonin can result in mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and irritability.[7]

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It’s for this reason that most antidepressant medications work by blocking the brain’s serotonin receptors because this allows more serotonin to ‘stay’ in the brain.

An overgrowth of Candida yeast can suppress the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, by interrupting your body’s ability to create it. Candida also breaks down the wall of your intestines and gains access to the bloodstream where it can release toxic byproducts.

One of the most serious of these byproducts is acetaldehyde, which can also react with the neurotransmitter dopamine. This can affect mental wellbeing and lead to developing anxiety, panic attacks depression, poor concentration, and brain fog.[8]

How to Treat Candida Overgrowth

If you have identified with the symptoms above, now is a good time to start treating the root of your problems: Candida overgrowth.

Diet is a major factor in overgrowth, so your treatment should begin by reexamining the foods you eat every day.[9]

Try to limit your intake of sugars and simple carbs, as these are the main ‘fuel’ for the Candida yeast. You should also add plenty of antifungal foods and supplements to your daily menus, such as garlic, oregano, coconut oil, and thyme.

Probiotics and fermented foods also help to re-establish the balance of good bacteria in your gut, which will help to counter a yeast overgrowth. This is particularly important following a course of antibiotics, as these can severely deplete the numbers of good bacteria in your gut.

Tips for Healthier Digestion

Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Lisa Richards

Nutritionist, Creator of The Candida Diet, Owner of TheCandidaDiet.com

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Last Updated on March 2, 2021

10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule

10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule

In today’s society we are all overworked, pressed for time, and stressed. We all want to be healthier, and most people make a concerted effort by eating better, moving more, and getting to bed earlier. But if you’re like me, it’s an uphill battle, especially if you don’t know where to find healthy lunch ideas.

How often do you find yourself working through lunch? And when you do get a chance to eat, you have to scurry to the nearest market or take-out spot, grab something barely edible, only to scarf it down in front of your computer screen. I know the dilemma—you have to eat to keep your brain functioning, and quick and healthy options during lunch madness are pretty scarce.

The answer to this dilemma is simple: pack a lunch. It really is the best option for busy people who skip lunch, are crunched for time, and who have “working lunches” frequently.

Benefits of Making Your Own Lunch

The benefits of bringing your own lunch from home are numerous. Here are just a few:

  1. You can track and control your nutrients.
  2. You can prevent yourself from over-eating and consuming large, calorie-dense meals.
  3. You save money.
  4. You have more time to actually eat your lunch.

It’s easy to feel convinced that it’s a good idea to bring your own lunch to work. However, now comes the issue of what to pack. The time saver in you—once you do make it to the grocery store—will try and talk you into buying a bunch of prepackaged, processed mess. You’ll have to fight these instincts to build in the new habit of preparing your own meals.

If you need help boosting your motivation to start this new habit, check out Lifehack’s Ultimate Worksheet for Instant Motivation Boost. It will help you tap into your reasons for doing what you do and help you find a “why” for making your own healthy lunches.

To get you started, here are 10 easy, healthy lunch ideas that you can make in a short amount of time.

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10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas

1. Quinoa Veggie Bowl

Mexican-Quinoa-Bowl

     

    Toss together your choice of fresh or cooked vegetables with cooked quinoa, fresh herbs, and a dressing such as tahini, apple cider vinegar, cashew, cheese, or mashed avocado. Quinoa is an amazing grain that is full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants, so it’s a great addition to any meal.

    The quinoa and veggies can be cooked the night before, making this the perfect lunch for when you know you’ll have to get up and go the next morning.

    Get the recipe here!

    2. Buddha Bowls

    Protein-Packed Buddha Bowl Recipe by Tasty
      Buddha bowls are one of the most versatile lunches you can make and top the list of many easy recipes. They can be altered depending on your favorite sources of protein and the tastiest vegetables sitting in your fridge. If you’re looking for health lunch ideas, look no further!They often consist of a base of rice, quinoa, or another healthy grain. The next layer is built with two to three vegetables and a protein. You can even add hard boiled eggs! If you like mixing and matching depending on what’s available, this is the perfect healthy lunch recipe for you. For extra flavor, many choose to make a healthy sauce to top it all off, which usually uses soy sauce or olive oil as its base.Get the recipe here!

      3. Grilled Chicken Veggie Bowls

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      Veggie-bowls
        This recipe is quick, simple, and to the point. If you’re a chicken fan, you use this as your base and build around it using your favorite vegetables. If you’re not sure where to start, you can try using sweet potatoes and green beans, or even adding rice. Using different spices for each day, you can have different variations of this meal all week without boring your taste buds to death.Get the recipe here!

        4. Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

        Best Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipe - How To Make Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup
          If you know you’ve got a busy week ahead of you and are looking for quick and healthy lunch ideas, put this soup at the top of your list of healthy meals. Let it cook in the slow cooker Sunday evening, and you have a week’s worth of healthy lunches to keep you going.

          Full of protein-packed peas and healthy vegetables, this soup is filling and delicious at the same time.

          Get the recipe here!

          5. Chickpea Salad Sandwich

          UltimateChickpeaSaladSandwich1

            Meatless Mondays aren’t just for Mondays anymore! Go meatless for a week by prepping the chickpea filling for this sandwich and bringing a little to work each day. Have some bread waiting at your desk, and you have a quick and healthy lunch that won’t take time away from your break.

            Get the recipe here!

            6. Steak Fajita Salad

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            Fajita salad

              This salad is full of vitamin-filled vegetables and contains all the amazing flavors of a fajita, making it one of the best healthy lunch ideas. It’s topped off with a creamy cilantro-lime dressing that will feel new and fresh each time you eat it.

              Get the recipe here!

              7. Pesto Pasta

              Pesto Pasta

                This is a delightfully light, yet filling meal that will definitely add a twist to the working lunch. It’s packed with roasted tomatoes and asparagus, adding another dimension to an already delicious pesto pasta. Make it for dinner the night before and use the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

                Get the recipe here!

                8. Spinach Artichoke Turkey Panini

                If you’re a fan of spinach artichoke dip, you’ll love this easy panini. It includes Greek yogurt, which will offer an extra dose of protein and combine well with the flavors of the turkey and spinach. Everything combines to create filling sandwich that’s the perfect alternative to the traditional ham sandwich that you often find strewn on your coworkers’ desks.

                Get the recipe here!

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                9. Chicken Lettuce Wraps

                This Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe is easy to make and has incredible flavor!

                  These are favorites at Chinese restaurants, and now you can make them as a quick and healthy lunch ideas in your own home! Use large leafy green lettuce leaves as a nutrient-rich alternative to a regular wrap. This recipe calls for ground chicken, but you can use ground turkey, lentils, black beans, or any other protein to fill your lettuce.

                  Prepare the filling on a Sunday evening, and you’ll have your lunch ready to go for several days.

                  Get the recipe here!

                  10. Mason Jar Ramen

                  This Mason Jar Ramen Recipe Will Forever Change Your Lunch Game

                    Forget boring, sodium-packed, store-bought ramen. This homemade ramen is stored in mason jars, making it amazingly easy to just pull out of the fridge before you head off to work. It also includes kimchi, Korean fermented vegetables, which is full of probiotics that will help you digestion[1]. This is truly one of the best quick and healthy lunch ideas for a busy lifestyle.

                    Get the recipe here!

                    The Bottom Line

                    Don’t let your busy lifestyle impede your progress towards gaining optimal health. Healthy lunch ideas can help keep you focused, prevent the 3 PM energy slump, boost your mood, and save you time and money in the long run. Learning how to meal prep is a process as it’s a new habit you’ll have to form, but once you’ve learned it, life will be a great deal easier.

                    More Healthy Lunch Ideas

                    Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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