You may have heard of Candida. You also may have heard it can “overgrow” in your body, causing a wide range of symptoms from brain fog, to nail fungus, itchy skin conditions, athlete’s foot, and even the dreaded vaginal yeast infection. Yet how do you know your issue is, in fact, Candida overgrowth and not SIBO?
You can find out all you need to know about Candida overgrowth, including what to do about it, in my informative free training that I developed after helping tens of thousands of people from around the world conquer this condition. You can also take this quiz to see if you may have Candida overgrowth. If this is the case, don’t be discouraged! You can banish it for good, just as thousands of my patients have with the steps outlined in the above training.
What is Candida Overgrowth?
Candida is a naturally occurring species of yeast, a type of fungus, that lives in and on your body. It is a part of your body’s normal microflora — the microorganisms present in a delicate balance in your mouth, throat, gut, vagina in women, and on your skin. When this balance is tipped and the Candida gets out of balance with other microorganisms, Candida overgrowth occurs.
Candida overgrowth is the most common form of fungal infection. There are hundreds of Candida species, with the most common being Candida albicans. Albicans comes from the Latin word for “white,” as this yeast often appears white. For example, in oral thrush, a mouth infection caused by Candida, the inside of the mouth and the tongue appear to be coated with a white film.
I’d like to note, however, that Candida overgrowth is different than systemic Candidiasis, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when Candida infects internal organs such as the kidney, heart, or brain, among others.1
Candida overgrowth is very common and causes symptoms such as bloating, constipation, rashes, fungal infections, fatigue, brain fog, and mood swings. If left untreated, Candida can travel through the bloodstream and cause problems in the joints such as chronic pain and arthritis.2
Solutions to Candida Overgrowth
The solution to Candida overgrowth lies in the gut. Your gut contains hundreds of microorganisms — both good and bad. Normally, the healthy bacteria in your gut keep Candida in check, and together, the good bacteria and yeast help your body with digestion and nutrient absorption from food. Yet, if your gut microbiome is out of balance, Candida becomes an invasive, fast-growing form of yeast, which can quickly cause symptoms throughout your body. How exactly does it do this?
Let me explain. Candida can simply cause problems by overwhelming the good bacteria in your body. However, Candida cells are also able to penetrate the single-cell layer of the intestinal lining of your gut quite easily, because it can change shapes. Under specific conditions, the normally rounded cell switches to a hyphal, or elongated, sticklike structure. The Candida cell in this shape can pierce holes in your gut wall, allowing food particles and toxins to pass through.3
This leads to a host of problems, ultimately suppressing your immune system and resulting in all sorts of autoimmune conditions. Candida overgrowth has a destructive domino effect on your body, so it’s vital for your health to address this condition.
I’m often asked how Candida overgrowth differs from SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and how you might be able to tell one from the other.
What is SIBO?
SIBO is a condition in which bacteria that normally resides in your large intestine and colon, colonizes in the small intestine. SIBO can also be the result of a small amount of bacteria that occurs naturally in your small intestine growing out of control.
This can be caused by high-carb diets, nerve and muscle damage from diabetes, physical obstructions such as diverticula, scarring from surgeries or Crohn’s disease, and from medications such as antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs, and steroids. SIBO can lead to malnutrition, as it can prevent. It also leads to digestive issues such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating.
Bloating is the #1 symptom of SIBO, because as the bacteria feed off of and ferment the undigested food located there in your small intestine — particularly sugar, carbohydrates, starches, and alcohol — it produces hydrogen, methane, or both types of gases as a byproduct. To find out if you have SIBO, take my SIBO quiz. If you find you do have SIBO you can reverse this condition naturally, without harsh treatments such as antifungal medications.
Candida vs SIBO: How to Tell?
Now, back to Candida overgrowth. So how do you know you have Candida overgrowth, and not SIBO or some other condition? Over my years of clinical practice and treating thousands of people with this condition, I’ve found the common symptoms include:
- Brain fog
- Fatigue, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia
- Gas and bloating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Sugar Cravings, weight gain, or an inability to lose weight
- Skin iIssues (acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, tinea versicolor)
- Dry, itchy, or red skin
- Nail fungus, athlete’s foot, dandruff
- Recurring yeast infections
- Vaginal, rectal, jock itching
- Itchy ears
- Mood swings, sleep issues, anxiety, or depression
- Sinus infections or seasonal allergies
How do you know those symptoms are Candida?
To confirm that you have Candida overgrowth there are several tests available and although the first two may be offered by conventional doctors and covered by insurance, the second two likely are not. You can learn more about them here.
- IgG, IgA and IgM Candida Antibodies
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- Urine Organix Dysbiosis Test
- Functional Medicine Comprehensive Stool Testing
However, in my clinic I found that reviewing the symptoms, which may seem unconnected, and taking a complete, detailed health history is the best way to determine if Candida overgrowth is the culprit. Signs your issue is Candida overgrowth is if any of these are part of your story:
Birth and Childhood
- You were delivered by C-section and missed out on the good bacteria from the birth canal
- You were bottle-fed instead of breast-fed, so you did not get antibodies from your mother
- You had frequent ear infections during childhood
- You grew up on the Standard American Diet of added sugars, dairy products, and processed foods
- You eat and/or crave carbs such as bread, pasta or starchy vegetables; sugar; and/or alcohol
- You eat fermented foods which can feed Candida
- Antibiotics can kill off good bacteria in your gut
- NSAIDS disrupt your microbiome
- Steroids weaken the immune system
High estrogen levels resulting from
- Birth control pills
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Estrogen dominance
- Cortisol which leads to higher glucose levels, feeding Candida
- Disrupts microbiome
- Suppresses immune system
So if you have any of the symptoms listed above and your history includes any of the five factors I listed above, Candida overgrowth may be the root cause of your health challenges. To find out even more about Candida overgrowth, including how to eliminate it, check out my free training I developed after working with thousands of patients in my practice. These are proven techniques that will help you get to the root cause of your symptoms.
Learn the simple, natural steps you can take to banish your symptoms through lifestyle and dietary changes, including going gluten-free. You can take back your health and feel amazing when you’re free of brain fog, skin issues, digestive problems, and mood swings! I’ve seen thousands of my patients regain energy and vitality, and you can too!