Now I’ve had candida myself a few times in the past and for me it was soooo uncomfortable. But the thing with candida overgrowth is, you may have it but not even know it!
All of us naturally carry candida in our digestive and genital tracts, and when it’s kept under control it’s totally fine. It only becomes a problem when it starts to overgrow and take over your gut. This can happen after taking antibiotics, as the antibiotics kills any bacteria present in your gut, but as candida is a fungi, antibiotics have no effect on it. So, once the antibiotics have run their course, there are large portions of your intestinal lining vacant due to the mass removal of bacteria (good and bad), so it seizes this opportunity and begins to set up camp in as many places as it can along your digestive tract.
Other reasons a candida overgrowth may occur can be due to a impaired immune system. When your immune system becomes compromised due to illness or injury, it may find it challenging to keep candida at bay, and so they take the chance to spread themselves like crazy throughout your digestive and genital tracts.
Candida Overgrowth Symptoms
When it overgrows, it causes major problems and symptoms such as:
- Persistent constipation, bloating, or gas
- Mental fog that you can’t shake
- Debilitating chronic fatigue (or exhaustion)
- Intense sugar cravings (the candida feeds off sugar)
- Chronic sinus infections
- White coating on the tongue
- Excess mucous
- Recurring vaginal yeast infections (you can feel very itchy down there)
- Persistent food or environmental allergies
- Depression and anxiety
- Hypothyroidism (Candida inhibits thyroid conversion)
Irritation/itching in the downstairs area can occur if the candida overgrowth occurs in your lower gut area. If you have a candida overgrowth in your throat or higher areas of your digestive tract, you may notice sores appear in/on your mouth, usually white and cottage cheese-like in appearance. You may also notice redness, burning, or soreness in your mouth area that can become severe enough to cause difficulty eating or swallowing. But if you have an overgrowth in the middle of your digestive tract or stomach area, you may not notice any of the usual symptoms.
What Contributes to Candida Overgrowth?
- Antibiotics – even just one full-spectrum course can cause it. Antibiotics in our meat supply can also cause candida to grow out of control.
- Eating a diet high in sugar and processed, refined foods – candida thrives on sugar.
- Consuming too much alcohol and coffee
- Chronic, prolonged stress – depletes the immune system dramatically.
- C-section deliveries
- Mercury exposure from dental fillings, vaccines, & tattoos.
- Birth control pills
These things kill our good gut flora, thin the lining on our gut, and compromise our immunity enough to allow this yeast to take over and cause havoc to our gut health.
How to Test for Candida
I had my naturopath test me using a bioresonance machine which quickly diagnosed my mild case of candida.
But there are other ways to test for it. Things like stool, blood, and saliva lab tests can be done to identify candida overgrowth in the body. But if you don’t want to go through the hassle of these lab tests, there is an easy, DIY, free candida spit test you can do at home.
Over the period of 6 days, you are going to monitor your saliva. Keep a pen and paper handy in the bathroom. When you wake up, before eating or drinking anything, fill a glass of water halfway and spit a small amount (about a dime-size) of saliva into the glass.
Watch it a few times, coming back to it every so often over a 45-minute time-frame and record your results each day for 6 days.
You’ll notice that your saliva will either stay floating on top, will sink to the bottom, or it will grow “legs”. If it stays floating on top, there is likely no candida overgrowth to be concerned about, but if it grows legs or, especially, sinks to the bottom, then candida is likely a problem for you.
The reason you test over a 6-day window is to rule out variables that are likely to interfere with the results. Make sure you keep to your normal diet while testing.
How to Get Rid of Candida
Now, if you do have a candida overgrowth there are some ways to help your body to kick this yeast to the curb once and for all.
To treat my candida, my naturopath gave me some strong herbal supplements and put me on the candida diet until I got the all-clear. This was beneficial in many ways, one being it helped me reduce my sugar intake. Bonus, right!
The Candida Diet
The following is a list of foods to avoid, as well as foods that are ok to eat to help your body naturally get rid of the overgrowth of candida.
Foods to Avoid
- Sugar – This counts for all forms of sugar like fructose, sucrose, glucose, malt, corn syrup, desserts, honey, jams, sodas, juices, dried fruits, etc.
- Fermented foods and yeasts – Things like breads, soy sauce, pickles, vinegar, alcohol, ketchup, Vegemite, etc.
- Simple carbs – Like white rice, white flour, white pasta, etc. (the refined carbs).
- Peanuts – This is because some peanuts can grow a fungi or mould on them, and this can trigger a reaction in Candida sufferers who are particularly sensitive to mould exposure.
- Cheeses – blue and hard types especially.
Foods to Eat
- Fish, poultry, and meat
- Nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils
- Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, oats, amaranth, etc. Keep wheat to a minimum as it may irritate the gut.
- Veggies, especially green and raw vegetables. Keep potatoes to a minimum and only eat with the skins on.
- Keep fruit to a minimum. If you must have it, only 2 pieces a day. Avoid dates, grapes, and other high sugar fruits.
- Plain live yoghurt – High in beneficial probiotics. Great for gut health.
- Coconut oil – One of coconut oil’s many benefits is it’s a natural anti-fungal. You can rub coconut oil on topically to irritated or affected areas, as well as consume in liberal amounts.
- Drink plenty of water
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products.
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Have you had Candida before? What worked for you in helping to treat it?
Wells, Katie. (January 23, 2019). What is Candida? (and How to Tell if You Have It). Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/2430/what-is-candida/
Myers, Amy, M.D. 10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth & What To Do About It. mbg health. Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8376/10-signs-you-have-candida-overgrowth-what-to-do-about-it.html
Oral Thrush. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-thrush/symptoms-causes/syc-20353533
Enloe, Autumn, MS, RD, LD. (October 21, 2018). The Candida Diet: Beginner’s Guide and Meal Plan. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/candida-diet
Richards, Lisa, CNC. (April 10, 2019). Foods To Eat On The Candida Diet. The Candida Diet. Retrieved from https://www.thecandidadiet.com/foodstoeat.htm