Let me just start by saying if you’re suffering from Candida and feeling completely overhwelemd from where to start, what to do or who to speak with, believe me when I say this – you are not alone. We all feel the same way, including myself.
Thinking back to all the health issues and symtpoms I suffered from all makes sense to me now. I would go through a lot but after a while I just thought it was ‘normal’. But what even is considered ‘normal’? What I do know is is that feeling unwell or having your body/ gut tell you something is not right is most likely telling you the truth.
Question yourself this, have you ever or do you suffer from any of the symptoms below?
- Cravings for sweets
- Bad breath
- White coating on tongue
- Brain fog
- Hormone imbalance
- Joint pain
- Loss of sex drive
- Chronic sinus and allergy issues
- Digestive problems (gas and bloating)
- Weak immune system
These are just some of the signs that you may have a fungal infection known as candida. But how do you know if you have it, and what do you do if you do?
Well let’s firstly go into some information about the overgrowth itself.
What Is Candida?
Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. Some of the hundreds of Candida species can cause infection in humans; the most common is Candida albicans. Candida normally lives inside the body (in places such as the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina) and on the skin without causing any problems. Candida yeasts can cause infections if they grow out of control or if they enter deep into the body (for example, the bloodstream or internal organs like the kidney, heart, or brain).
Candida is a fungus – it aids with nutrient absorption and digestion when in proper levels in the body. When it overproduces, typical candida symptoms may appear (which I will mention below). In the digestive tract, if left unchecked, it breaks down the walls of the intestinal lining and penetrates into the bloodstream. This releases byproduct toxins and other toxins from your system, causing leaky gut syndrome.
In addition to candida symptoms, individuals who have never experienced a serious yeast infection can find they have developed new sensitivities, allergies or intolerances to a variety of foods. These foods include dairy, eggs, corn and gluten.
What Causes Candida Infections?
There are many possible causes of candida, including a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol that help feed candida. Other causes stem from use or overuse of antiobiotics (as they kill the good bacteria too), birth control pills, imbalance of hormones, diabetes and a weak immune system.
9 Candida Symptoms and Tests
Candida needs to be tested through a comprehensive stool test or a serum testing, candida DNA test, stool PCR testing and microbial organic acids testing. This type of systemic yeast infection presents different ways in different people.
Symptoms include – chronic fatigue, mood disorders, recurring vaginal and irunary tract infections, oral thrush, sinus infections, intestinal disorders, brain fog, skin and nail fungal infections and hormonal imbalances. I’ve got into detail with some of my main symptoms, which I find common in most people.
When it affects the mouth, it is commonly called thrush. Signs and symptoms include white patches on the tongue or other areas of the mouth and throat. Other symptoms may include soreness and problems swallowing. When it affects the vagina, it is commonly called a yeast infection. Signs and symptoms include genital itching, burning, and sometimes a white “cottage cheese-like” discharge from the vagina. Yeast infections of the penis are less common and typically present with an itchy rash. Very rarely, yeast infections may become invasive, spreading to other parts of the body. This may result in fevers along with other symptoms depending on the parts involved.
Don’t overlook your symptoms! Your body is telling you something.
If you have fatigue or exhaustion that you simply cannot shake, regardless of the number of hours you sleep, you may have chronic fatigue syndrome. The disease is characterized by fatigue that lasts a minimum of six months and is often accompanied by other candida symptoms, including headaches, joint pain, difficulties with memory and concentration and sore throat.
One of the reasons it can be difficult to diagnose candida is that so many of the candida symptoms are common to other conditions, including mood disorders. Individuals with candida overgrowth may experience dramatic mood swings, anxiety, irritability, depression and even panic attacks.
Recurring Vaginal and Urinary Tract Infections
When an individual experiences recurring infections in the urinary tract or vagina, candida may be at the root of the problem. It is important to realize that candida can be sexually transmitted, and partners can spread it back and forth. For women, reduce the risk by avoiding tight-fitting underwear or pantyhose and avoid hot baths during an active infection.
Ongoing intestinal distress is one of the more uncomfortable candida symptoms. Persistent flatulence, burping, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and stomach cramps may be caused by a lack of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract.
When yeast overtakes the intestines, healthy bacteria are undermanned, and cannot fight off the infection alone. When the bacteria in your gut are out of balance, it’s known as dysbiosis. Many individuals experience dramatic relief of chronic intestinal distress when effectively treating a candida infection.
A hormonal imbalance is one of the candida symptoms that presents in many other health conditions. However, it is important to recognize how an infection can cause early menopause, PMS, a low sex drive, migraines, endometriosis, water retention, mood swings and an inability to lose unwanted pounds.
While in the midst of candida overgrowth, your body becomes inflamed, causing the yeast to grow and spread beyond the digestive tract. One of the byproducts of candida actually can mimic estrogen, leading to a serious hormonal imbalance.
To get yourself started you can help yourself from doing a Candida cleanse from home.
This can help the body get rid of excess candida through the flushing of the digestive tract whilst bringing in beneficial good bacterias. It won’t heal you, but it can be an initial step forward before the candida diet.
There are two options: a liquid only cleanse or one with food.
Option One: Liquids-Only Candida Cleanse (Duration 1–2 Days)
Start by making a vegetable broth from organic onions, garlic, celery, kale, sea salt and pure water. Let simmer and strain. Discard the vegetables and refrigerate the broth.
Throughout the day, sip on the warm broth; it’s important that you drink lots of water to help your body expel all the toxins in your system. While this is not a long-term cleanse, it can be repeated as needed every few weeks. It can also be used as a jumpstart to the food cleanse below.
Option Two: Steamed Vegetables (Duration 3–5 Days)
By eliminating grains, sugars, fruits, starches and alcohol from your diet for three to five days, you can make great a great start in your fight against candida overgrowth.
Mostly, eat fresh, organic vegetables that have been steamed. For this cleanse stage, keep away from any starchy vegetables like carrots, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes and white potatoes, which may contribute to sugar levels and feed the candida. Continue to drink plenty of pure water, a minimum of 2 litres per day, to help flush the candida and byproducts from your system.
During this time — no more than once a day — you can eat salads made from leafy greens eg romaine lettuce, or bitter greens eg rocket, coconut oil and ACV or lemon juice.
During either of the candida cleanses above, you can use bentonite clay to help surround the toxins and efficiently remove them from your system.
The Candida Diet
This is a diet to not just discourage candida; it’s the diet to help you rid your body of candida! This is also a great next step if you have already started with the candida cleanse.
1. The first step of the diet is to boost your immune system through the elimination of sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates. These items are contributing to the growth of the candida in your system.
2. Step two is to replace these foods with organic vegetables, including carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and asparagus.
According to ancient Chinese medicine, warm starchy vegetables support the spleen in clearing candida from the body. While it’s not recommend to have these vegetables during the “cleanse” stage, the regular candida diet includes warming fall vegetables that nourish the spleen, such as sweet potatoes, yams, peas, mung beans, lentils, kidney beans, adzuki beans, carrots, beets, corn, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, zucchini, yellow squash, rutabaga and pumpkin. These should be the main sources of carbs that satisfy your cravings for sweets as well.
What about grains? I would recommend not including this in your diet just yet.
The same story follows for cold foods, which shouldn’t be consumed more than once per day. Therefore, don’t have a gut-friendly smoothie on the same day you have a salad. Your candida gut will heal most from warm nourishing foods.
As with any food, however, it’s always important to monitor how you feel after consuming a meal when you have candida. Some people who suffer stomach distress after eating any kind of starch, for instance, should avoid starchy vegetables like corn, peas, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, zucchini and yams. Instead, they should eat non-starchy vegetables — typically the flowering parts of the plant — like lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers and tomatoes.
Also, keep fruit intake low as well as natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey.
3. Add cultured dairy, preferably goat milk kefir, because healthy probiotic foods can effectively kill the candida in your system. Probiotics like kimchi and sauerkraut are good additions to your diet, as well as unsweetened cranberry juice, because they create an acidic environment that makes it difficult for candida to thrive.
Fermented vegetables contain microflora that help to protect the intestines. Regular consumption of fermented foods can help improve the immune system, making the body less hospitable for candida. Begin with a half cup per day of sauerkraut, kimchi or other fermented vegetables as part of a new eating plan dedicated to bringing your body back into a healthy balance.
The candida diet helps to provide beneficial bacteria, regulate appetite, and reduce your cravings for refined carbohydrates and sugars.
Supplements, Essential Oils and Coconut Oil
Antifungal medicines most often prescribed for candida. This would be something recommended by a specialist to ensure you are consuming the right supplements.
However the below are everyday supplements I would recommend including into your daily routine. It can at least make some headway.
1. Coconut oil can effectively fight candida due to its antimicrobial properties. The combination of lauric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil, kills off harmful candida through both ingestion and topical application.
2. Milk thistle is a supplement that helps cleanse your liver from toxins in the body such as prescription medications (steroids, birth control, antibiotics, as well as others), environmental pollution, harmful effects of alcohol consumption, pesticides in our food supply, heavy metals, and the remnants from both chemotherapy and radiation.
3. Vitamin C helps to boost adrenal glands and helps to restore your immune system. I recommend 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C two or three times per day, taking a total of 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams daily.
4. Clove oil, oregano oil, castor oil and myrrh oil may help to kill a variety of parasites and fungi, including candida, in the body. Lavender oil can help to reduce the growth of candida, preventing the spread of the overgrowth.
For example, by adding a couple of drops of clove oil or lavender oil mixed with coconut oil during your cleanse, you can help to kill off the offending candida. Because these essential oils are powerful, they should only be taken internally for 10 days or less.
Also, for oral thrush, use three drops of clove oil with one tablespoon of coconut oil and swish in the mouth for 20 minutes.
Do not give clove oil internally to children under 2 years of age. If you are pregnant or nursing, check with your natural health care provider before taking clove oil internally.
Whilst you may start this protocol from home, I would highly recommend looking for a gut specialist in the field to help you going forward, as it can take 26-52 weeks to battle this infection alone and supplements have stages and change all the time. They all depend on your body and other issues going on in the gut.
Another point is that, if you suffer from something more than only candida, eg. SIBO, you may find that including foods such as fermented foods into your diet, or high fodmaps may make you feel worse. This is another reason as to why working with a speciliast will help overcome these hurdles, as it can become quite overwhelming from the amount of information or many symtpoms you have suffer from.
For someone like myself, I struggle with both candida and SIBO, which makes me feel like a lost cause at times. I can’t eat many foods at all, I joke I just eat rabbit foods – but that does not even include carrots!
I wish you all the best with your journey and hope this may help in some way! If you have any questions message me to help direct you to work with someone or maybe I can give you some help myself xo