Do you often experience digestive symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, or constipation? Maybe you’re feeling tired and worn down. These symptoms can point to either Candida overgrowth or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Regarding Candida vs SIBO, it’s important to know which one you’re dealing with. 

What if you’re not sure? Treatment options can look different for SIBO vs Candida, so learning the difference is critical.  

Right now, conventional medicine only Candida overgrowth in its systemic form. Also known as Candidemia, this type of Candida invades the blood. Candida overgrowth, while not fatal, is extremely disruptive to your health.

Diagnosing SIBO can be challenging because its symptoms vary so widely. SIBO can be so tricky that it’s often misdiagnosed as IBS. In fact, research suggests that 50% of those diagnosed with IBS actually have SIBO. 

Today I’m diving deeper into the differences between Candida overgrowth and SIBO. I’ll also show you how to determine whether your symptoms could be Candida vs SIBO, and how to get rid of it. 

Let’s begin by discussing Candida overgrowth.  

What is Candida Overgrowth?

Before we dive into the great SIBO vs Candida debate, you might be wondering, “What on earth is Candida?” Candida is a fungus, a form of yeast that lives in your mouth and intestines in small amounts. It is a part of your body’s normal microflora, which are microorganisms that aid with digestion and nutrient absorption. This fungus is also found in your throat, gut, skin, and vagina in women.

Normally good bacteria, bad bacteria, and Candida exist in a balanced state. When one species gets out of balance, everything gets out of control. When the delicate balance tips between Candida and other microorganisms, Candida overgrowth occurs. This condition is very common. Those with Candida imbalances include symptoms such as bloating and constipation. Some may also get rashes, fungal infections, fatigue, brain fog, and mood swings. 
Candida overgrowth causes problems when it passes your gut lining. The normally rounded cell switches to a hyphal or elongated, sticklike structure. In this shape, Candida cells can pierce tiny holes in your gut wall. This causes a leaky gut 1, allowing food particles and toxins to pass through. If left unchecked, Candida can enter the bloodstream and lead to nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, and brain fog. You can also develop skin problems like acne, rashes, or eczema. Joint pain and widespread inflammation is also something I see a lot.1 This allows food particles and toxins to pass through into your bloodstream leading to nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, brain fog, skin problems such as acne, rashes, or eczema, joint pain, or widespread inflammation.2

Do you think you have Candida overgrowth? Take this short quiz to find out!

Do you think you have Candida overgrowth?

Candida overgrowth is one of the most common conditions I saw in my clinic, especially among autoimmune patients. I’ve seen thousands of people with digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, recurring fungal infections, skin problems, mood swings, and more – all caused by Candida overgrowth.

If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune or thyroid condition, or experience any of the following symptoms, chances are you have some degree of Candida overgrowth…


Your results will be delivered to your inbox in just a few moments!

Causes of Candida

Remember, your microflora usually balances the ‘good’ bacteria and Candida levels in your gut. However, several factors can influence an imbalance. For one, a round of antibiotics can kill too many of the friendly bacteria. A diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar can also disrupt the balance. Both can lead to Candida overgrowth.3

High alcohol intake and oral contraceptives play a role in microflora confusion. Chronic stress and lack of physical activity lower the immune system. You guess it, this adds to yeast overgrowth problems. Even fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles, can feed Candida overgrowth.4

Candida overgrowth has a destructive domino effect on your body. Because of this, it’s vital to address this condition through both diet and stress reduction. First, I recommend a diet high in nutrients. Leafy greens, free-range chicken, organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, and wild-caught seafood are all great choices. 

I’ll get more into how to get rid of Candida overgrowth and SIBO later. Right now, however, it’s important not to confuse Candida vs SIBO. I often get asked how Candida overgrowth differs from SIBO, and how you might be able to tell one from the other. 

What is SIBO?

So, what is SIBO? SIBO occurs when the bacteria in your small intestine become unbalanced and overgrow.

The bacteria in your GI tract play a vital role in your health. In fact, it can influence your immune system, thyroid function, bone health, skin and more! Scientists discovered that the gut microbiome contains tens of trillions of microorganisms. These include up to 1,000 different species of bacteria with over 3 million genes.

Most of your gut bacteria are meant to be located in your large intestine and colon. Here, they help break down food, synthesize vitamins, and eliminate waste. When bacteria normally found in the large intestine and colon move in and colonize the small intestine, bacterial overgrowth occurs.5 SIBO can also occur when there is too much normal bacteria in the small intestine.

As food makes its way through your small intestine, bacteria feed off of it. This starts a fermentation process. Hydrogen, a by-product of this process, then feeds single-celled organisms called archaea. Archaea then releases methane. With SIBO, too much hydrogen, methane, or both can accumulate in your digestive system.

Can you begin to see the subtle SIBO vs Candida differences yet?

Causes of SIBO

After enzymes break food down, it moves through the stomach to the small intestine and to the colon. In a healthy gut, food and bacteria pass through the digestive tract to the colon.

Unfortunately, certain factors interfere with this process, including:

  • Damaged nerves or muscles in the gut result in leftover bacteria in the small intestine. For example, diabetes mellitus and scleroderma can affect the gut muscles. This leaves room for SIBO to develop.
  • Physical obstructions in the gut, such as scarring from surgeries, Crohn’s disease and diverticula. These can collect bacteria instead of passing it on to the colon, where it belongs.
  • Medications that influence or disrupt the normal gut flora. These include antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs, and steroids. 
  • A diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and other high-carb foods you eat or drink.

SIBO vs. Candida Overgrowth

Candida or SIBO? – Comparing Candida and SIBO – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®Candida or SIBO? - Comparing Candida and SIBO - Infographic - Amy Myers MD® or SIBO? – Comparing Candida and SIBO – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®

Now that you understand SIBO vs Candida symptoms, let’s discuss their differences. How do you know if you have Candida overgrowth or SIBO? As I mentioned earlier, Candida vs SIBO can look very similar.

The main difference between Candida overgrowth and SIBO is the type of overgrowth. Candida overgrowth is a yeast overgrowth and SIBO is a bacterial overgrowth. With SIBO, the bacteria that typically resides in your large intestine and colon decide to move up and colonize your small intestine. 

Candida overgrowth is usually found in your intestines, but it can also affect your skin and mouth. Once Candida gets into the bloodstream, it can invade other tissues. This means it can quickly transition from a gut problem to a full-body problem!

Another way to tell if your symptoms are tied to SIBO vs Candida is where they are experienced. SIBO symptoms are typically tied to digestive issues and abdominal pain. Candida symptoms will include oral thrush and recurring urinary tract infections. For some, it shows up as skin and nail infections. This is all in addition to digestive problems. Let’s look at the differences between symptoms

SIBO Symptoms

SIBO Symptoms - Infographic - Amy Myers MD®
  • Gas, bloating, and diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Constipation (much less common than diarrhea but can still be a symptom)
  • Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Food intolerances such as gluten, casein, lactose, fructose, and particularly histamine intolerance
  • Chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, neuromuscular disorders, and autoimmune diseases
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including vitamins A, B12, D, and E
  • Fat malabsorption (signified by pale, bulky, and malodorous stools)
  • Leaky gut

Candida Overgrowth Symptoms

Candida Symptoms - Infographic - Amy Myers MD®
  • Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus
  • Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and/or brain fog
  • Skin issues including eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
  • Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
  • Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching
  • Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  • Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

Testing for Candida and SIBO

Comparing Testing for Candida and SIBO – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®Comparing Testing for Candida and SIBO - Infographic - Amy Myers MD® Testing for Candida and SIBO – Infographic – Amy Myers MD®

What if you’re still not sure whether your symptoms are due to SIBO vs Candida? Thankfully, your functional medicine practitioner can perform a variety of tests.

Testing For SIBO

For SIBO, the gold standard is the breath test. It is the most accurate and determines if the SIBO is hydrogen or methane-dominant. When you have an overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine, the carbs you eat can ferment before they break down. This fermentation process releases hydrogen gas. In turn, people with SIBO symptoms often have elevated levels of hydrogen in their GI tract. I highly recommend the Lactulose Breath Test from Aerodiagnostics

A comprehensive stool test can also be used to determine if you’re dealing with SIBO vs Candida. With the stool test, your stool is directly analyzed for levels of Candida. The lab can determine the species of yeast as well as which treatment will be most effective. It can also look at the flora of the large intestines to determine a bacterial overgrowth. This functional medicine test can test for multiple gut infections. For those looking for time and cost-effective solutions, this may be a viable option for you.

How To Get Rid of Candida vs SIBO?

Treating Candida overgrowth and SIBO doesn’t just involve stopping the growth. It also means restoring the friendly bacteria that usually keep them in check. 

I’ve developed a 3-step approach to overcoming Candida overgrowth and/or SIBO. This protocol is what I used with patients in my clinic. Because of it, thousands of people beat Candida overgrowth for good. The best part is that they didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars, travel to see me, or wait for an appointment! 

You can do this at home with just three simple steps:

Step 1: Starve the Overgrowth

The first step is to remove foods that feed yeast or bacteria in your small intestine. This often includes sugar, alcohol, and carbohydrates. Next, remove glutens and alcohol, as well as grains and legumes. Your gut breaks these foods down into sugar, which feeds the bacteria. Swap these out for plenty of non-starchy vegetables, leafy greens, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Keep fruits at a minimum during this stage.

Step 2: Kill the Overgrowth

Once you’ve starved the overgrowth, you’ll want to kill it with supplements. 

I formulated Candifense® to create an inhospitable environment for Candida overgrowth. The enzymes in Candifense® support a healthy balance of microflora throughout the digestive tract. Caprylic Acid is another powerful tool to support yeast balance. This physician-formulated supplement penetrates the intestinal mucosal cells and supports healthy intestinal flora. 

Microb-clear® is my go-to weapon to kick SIBO to the curb.This blend of botanical extracts, minerals, and fatty acids supports optimal gut bacteria.

Step 3: Restore the Good

Restoring your microbiome is essential to your immune system and overall health. Repopulate your gut with good bacteria by taking a high-potency probiotic. I recommend a probiotic supplement containing 100 billion colony-forming units (CFUs). An added benefit is that it keeps Candida under control.

There are certain situations where standard probiotics can hurt more than they help. SIBO is one of those situations where a soil-based probiotic can really shine.

The Candida Breakthrough® Kit is a powerful combination that supports optimal yeast balance in the gut. It also discourages opportunistic yeast overgrowth. The SIBO Breakthrough® Kit helps maintain beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. Both kits make it easy to rid your body of these harmful issues fast!

You can banish your symptoms through my 3-step approach and dietary changes and stop your overgrowth for good. This system works for both Candida vs SIBO. I’ve seen thousands of my patients regain energy and vitality, and you can too!

Candida Breakthrough Kit bottles

Article Sources

  1. Growth of Candida albicans hyphae. Peter E. Sudbery. Nature Reviews Microbiology. 2011.
  2. What to know about leaky gut syndrome. Jamie Eske. Medical News Today. 2019.
  3. What to know about leaky gut syndrome. Ivone Lima Santana, Letícia Machado Gonçalves, Andréa Araújo de Vasconcellos, Wander José da Silva, Jaime Aparecido Cury, and Altair Antoninha Del Bel Cury. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2013.
  4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Fermentation Saga. Toni Tarver. Food Technology. 2016.
  5. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome. Jan Bures, Jiri Cyrany, Darina Kohoutova, Miroslav Förstl, Stanislav Rejchrt, Jaroslav Kvetina, Viktor Vorisek, and Marcela Kopacova. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2010.