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Last Updated on May 14, 2021

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

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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.

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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 November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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