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Published on June 5, 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

8 Best Fiber Supplements on iHerbs (Reviewed by a Gut Health Expert) 5 Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth (And How To Treat It) 25 Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Energize Your Day Best 7 Supplements to Boost Immune System 25 Best Weight Loss Breakfast Ideas for Busy People

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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