Some of the most common health complaints people suffer from when candida is prevalent are fatigue, allergies, thrush and cystitis, skin rashes, mood changes, low libido and bowel changes, to name a few.
Because candidiasis can affect various parts of the body - the most common being the mouth, ears, nose, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina - it can be characterized by many symptoms. These include constipation, diarrhea, colitis, abdominal pain, headaches, bad breath, rectal itching, impotence, memory loss, mood swings, prostatitis, canker sores, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and persistent cough, congestion, acne, night sweats, severe itching, extreme fatigue, vaginitis, kidney and bladder infections, arthritis, depression, hyperactivity, adrenal problems. Symptoms often become more severe after the consumption of foods containing sugar, yeast and/or mold.
Candidiasis may affect both men and women, however, it is rarely transmitted sexually. It is most common in babies (an infected mother may pass the fungal infection to her newborn) and in persons with compromised immune systems. In babies, they will develop nappy rash that looks like a very bad burn.
Taking antibiotics, hormones, steroids and cortisone drugs are the main reason why most people suffer from a Candida overgrowth. This is because these drugs affect the balance between the "Good" and "Bad" bacteria found in the intestines and bowel. These medicines also weaken the immune system, cause nutritional deficiencies and alter the permeability of the gastro-intestinal lining giving rise to further infections.
Very often food allergies or environmental sensitivities are present in candidiasis sufferers.
The bowel and intestine are the first areas of imbalance when candida proliferates. In the bowel we have a large population of "Good Bacteria". When we are born, provided we are breast fed, the colostrum (which is the first part of breast milk) feeds this good bacteria and supplies a plentiful amount of it. This helps to keep the balance between "good and bad" in the intestines. If we have antibiotics, their action wipes out the harmful bacteria, however this action is non specific and also destroys the beneficial bacteria as well. Each time we have another course of antibiotics, this good bacteria is destroyed further and further. This lack of good bacteria leads to all kinds of health problems, such as constipation and diarrhea, headaches, skin rashes, mood changes, a lowered immunity and general ill health.
Therefore the primary treatment of candidiasis is to establish a healthy amount of 'friendly' bacteria in the bowel and intestines. The three reasons this is essential are:
a) The friendly bacteria control the pH of the bowel, this action helps to control opportunistic bacteria and fungus.
b) Probiotic cultures compete for food with yeast and other harmful bacteria.
c) Good bacteria also compete for space to attach themselves onto the bowel wall and intestinal lining, thus 'crowding out' harmful bacteria.
Candida has two quite separate identities in the body. One is when it is in its yeast form and the other is in its fungal form. In the yeast form it has no root, but in its fungal form it produces what are called Rhizoids. These are long structures, similar to roots. Once in this form, the roots can actually penetrate through the mucous lining of the tissue, in which they are growing. When this happens this substance then enters the blood stream. This form of infection is known as systemic candidiasis. Once the candida has broken through the intestinal barrier, undigested proteins from the food eaten, as well as toxic wastes from the candida infestation, may begin to circulate in the blood stream. Once in the bloodstream, candida can invade every organ system in the body, causing a type of blood poisoning called candida septicaemia. If these substances reach the brain, there is a chance for the production of, what have been termed as, "brain allergies". These can result in a wide variety of mood and personality problems, ranging from depression, irritability and mood swings, to conditions, which look to all the world, like the symptoms of schizophrenia.
When candida infects the vagina, it results in vaginitis characterized by a large amount of white, cheesy discharge and intense itching and burning. When the fungus infects the oral cavity, it is called thrush. Candida infection may also take the form of athlete's foot or jock itch.
Protocols in natural medicine seek to establish a balance between yeast and beneficial bacteria as well as controlling proliferation through anti-microbial and anti-fungal supplements.
The 2 main formulas we use for treating this condition are the herbal combinations Kolorex and Candaid. Kolorex contains contains herbs made from NZ native plants. These herbs contain properties that are very fast acting and effective against candida and other fungi.
Candaid contains a variety of herbs including caprylic acid. Caprylic acid is a potent anti-fungal agent and was first investigated for its anti fungal use in 1938-39, but it wasn't until the mid 80's that its use became widespread and accepted. At low doses it shows a fungistatic action by inhibiting the separation of buds from the parent candida cell. At higher doses it destroys the integrity of the cell wall causing the cells to leak and collapse. Caprylic acid binds to the candida cells and begins its action within 5 minutes of contact.
Other herbs or supplements that will break down candida yeast in the body, or support the body's ability to do so, are Garlic, Pau d'Arco, Olive leaf, the B Complex vitamins, Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, Zinc, Iron.
Nutritional and Herbal support used against Candidiasis includes
Kolorex - A NZ native herbal formula with broad spectrum anti-fungal action.
CandAid - contains a blend of herbs & other ingredients known for their anti-fungal activity. Formulated to help restore a healthy balance in the intestines in conjunction with a sugar and yeast free diet.
Vitamin B Complex 100 - This is needed for growth, function and repair of all cells in body.
Advanced Antioxidant Formula - Helps support the weakened immune system and helps with liver support.
Formula 825 - A herbal formula specifically for its antimicrobial support.
Primadophilus Bifidus - Essential friendly bacteria, that is needed to repopulate the gastrointestinal tract.
Colostrum - Helps feed the friendly bacteria and heal the gastrointestinal tract. Restores the bowel to optimum functioning.
Some interesting points on Candidiasis
Eat vegetables, fish, brown rice, oat, bran, live yogurt. Try to keep the diet simple and as natural as possible.
Drink at least 2 litres of water a day.
Avoid sugar, yeast, aged and fancy cheese, chocolate, alcohol, ham, honey, pickles, nut butters, mushrooms, soy sauce, vinegar and foods containing MSG. These all encourage the growth of the yeast.
Avoid antibiotics, oral contraceptives and corticosteroids if possible until your condition improves. Oral contraceptives upset the balance of organisms in the body.
If you have had chronic and/or unusually persistent Candida infections, consult a health care provider.