10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth and What to Do About It

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You might be wondering, “What on earth is Candida?” Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, a very small amount of which lives in your mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption, but when it is overproduced it breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to many different health problems ranging from digestive issues to depression.

How do you get Candida overgrowth?

The healthy or ‘good’ bacteria in your gut typically keeps your Candida levels in check. However, the Candida population can get out of hand if a round of antibiotics kill too many of those friendly bacteria, you have a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the yeast), high alcohol intake, are taking oral contraceptives or any number of other factors including a high-stress lifestyle. Even a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles, can feed Candida causing an overgrowth.

10 Common Candida Symptoms

1. Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus
2. Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
3. Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
4. Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
5. Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog
6. Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
7. Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
8. Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching
9. Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
10. Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

How do you test for Candida overgrowth?

Blood Test
IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida Anti-bodies. These can be checked through most any lab. High levels of these antibodies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida is present. I find in my clinic that these can often be negative even when the stool or urine test is positive.

Stool Testing
I personally find this to be the most accurate test available. This will check for Candida in your colon or lower intestines. However, you need to make sure that your doctor orders a comprehensive stool test rather than the standard stool test. With the stool test, your stool is directly analyzed for levels of yeast. The lab can usually determine the species of yeast as well as which treatment will be effective.

Urine Organix Dysbiosis Test
This test detects D-Arabinitol a waste product of Candida yeast overgrowth. An elevated test means an overgrowth of Candida. This test will determine if there is Candida in your upper gut or small intestines.

How do you treat Candida overgrowth?

Effectively treating Candida involves stopping the yeast overgrowth, restoring the friendly bacteria that usually keep them in check, and healing your gut so that Candida can no longer enter your bloodstream.

Getting rid of the Candida overgrowth primarily requires a change in diet to a low carbohydrate diet. Sugar is what feeds yeast, so eliminating sugar in all of its simple forms like candy, desserts, alcohol and flours. Reducing to only a few cups a day of the more complex carbohydrates such as grains, beans, fruit, bread, pasta, and potatoes will prevent the Candida from growing and eventually cause it to die. I would recommend eliminating all fermented foods as well.

Using diet alone could take three to six months before the Candida is back under control. Because of this I use an anti fungal medication such as Diflucan or Nyastatin for a month or longer with my patients. If you are self-treating you can take a supplement of candisol or caprylic acid. These supplements contain plant-based enzymes that basically ‘poke holes’ in the yeast cell wall causing it to die. You may read that some people recommend herbs such as oil of oregano. Oil of oregano can be very effective however it can kill good bacteria as well so I don’t recommend it. The anti-fungal medications, caprylic acid, and candisol are very specific to yeast and will not harm your good bacteria.

It’s a must to restore the healthy bacteria that typically keep your Candida population under control, you should take probiotics on a regular basis. Taking anywhere from 25-100 billion units of probiotics should help to reduce the Candida levels and restore your levels of good bacteria. Finally, healing your gut, by eliminating inflammatory foods that can harm your GI tract and introducing foods that aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, will prevent Candida from working its way through your body, and will dramatically improve your overall health.

If you would like to find out for sure if you have Candida overgrowth, consider seeing a Functional Medicine Doctor who is trained in detecting and treating Candida.

 

 

Interested in learning more about gut infections?

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Take our Guide to the Gut and Comprehensive Elimination Diet eCourses! These courses outline Dr. Myers’ method in diagnosing and treating gut infections in order to achieve optimal gut health. If headaches, seasonal allergies, and gastrointestinal issues (like IBS) have you looking for a solution, the basic protocol outlined in these eCourses will help to resolve those issues. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, or candida overgrowth, these eCourses have a specialized protocol designed for you.

Our objective is to empower you to discover your personal food sensitivities and find the most effective ways to implement a dietary change into your unique lifestyle. You will discover the root cause of your symptoms and be able to self-treat at home with food and supplements. During the course, you will have access to a number of worksheets, shopping guides, and checklists that you can complete in the comfort of your home.

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  • 4 hours of information
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  • Brittany Stephenson

    Thank you so much for this post! I met you at PaleoFX and asked you about this very subject because I have had such a hard time finding info on candida and what to do about it. I have had yeast infections since early childhood and I also had yeast spots on my skin that my family doctor called “sun spots”, I have also have a candida “overgrowth” in my gut for the last few years (at least, but I suspect longer). about 9 months ago I found a Doc. that figured out what it was and I have been unsuccessfully trying to fight it off since. This helps!!

  • Pingback: 8 Supplements to Heal a Leaky Gut » Amy Myers, MD Functional Medicine Blog

  • disqus_sDCtgk2OVt

    Thanks for this, when you say autoimmune diseases, soes that include Crohn’s? I knwo you mentioned colitis.

    • http://www.amymyersmd.com Dr. Amy Myers

      yes

  • icandyart

    I asked an GI doctor to test me for this about 5 years ago. I had most of the symptoms, as well as mouth sores around the lips. She said sure, but then didn’t and later told me that this condition is not real. I was pretty annoyed at this sneaky and dishonest approach in her communication with me. But she did in fact diagnose me with SIBO and prescribed me a high-level anti-biotic. This worked, but it didn’t solved the problem. I use candida cleanses from time to time, and this has helped stop the yeast infections, but not the GI problems nor the chronic fatigue. Do you know how I can find a doctor who will IN FACT do this test? I need to use insurance, as I can not afford to pay for these tests out of pocket, otherwise I would make an appt with you if I could.

    • http://www.amymyersmd.com Dr. Amy Myers

      I don’t know any functional medicine doctors who take insurance.

    • Jen Gonzalez-Naburn

      Hi there! You don’t need to go to a doctor to see if you have Candida. You can do the test at home for free by doing the spit test. First thing in the morning before you brush your teeth or eat or drink anything, spit into a glass of water. If your spit looks like any of the illustrations, you most likely have Candida. Your spit should just sit on top of the water in a”blob.”

  • Pingback: 10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth and What to Do About It - Waking Times

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  • ‘sissy’ Merka

    I’ve had great success with taking Syntol AMD and coconut oil…of course, cutting the carbs is necessary. Thanks for the info, Dr. Myers.

  • ‘sissy’ Merka

    Syntol AMD, coconut oil, and cutting the carbs has really been helpful for me. Thanks for this great article, Dr. Myers.

    • http://www.amymyersmd.com Dr. Amy Myers

      you’re so welcome!

  • Pingback: 10 Foods to Fight Candida » Amy Myers, MD Functional Medicine

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  • Saila Karina

    Great info! Just wondering why all fermented foods should be eliminated but probiotics are recommended? Hope you could clarify this Amy :)

    • http://www.amymyersmd.com/ Amy Myers, MD

      fermented foods feed good bacteria but they also feed Candida. So best to avoid while treating. Probioitcs are good bacteria that battle with the Candida. I have a podcast on this – you may want to listen to it

      • Saila Karina

        Thanks for your reply, Amy (I listened to the podcast)!
        But…I’m still wondering this probiotic / prebiotic issue. I thought fermented foods (at least sauerkraut) contain bacteria i.e. act as probiotics. I tried to do some research on this and found this article: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=dailytip&dbid=113

        Could you kindly clarify this a little bit more please :) I’d really want to understand the difference between good bacteria in sauerkraut and good bacteria in probiotics.

  • LevitaG OO

    I’m trying to see if the stool test results are reliable, with the Diagnos-Techs Lab, they do a stool culture for yeast, but how can you know if they give false positives or vice verca?

  • ariel

    Great article. Regarding the Nystatin, do you recommend powder or liquid form and how does it compare to Diflucan in your opinion? Thanks.

  • icandyart

    What happened to all the comments that were already here?

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