Our gut health is crucial to our overall health.

A healthy gut is teeming with a variety of bacteria, yeasts, and other organisms living in harmony with one another. But, when Candida or other normal gut “residents” are allowed to overgrow, it can lead to nagging symptoms and chronic health conditions.

WHAT IS CANDIDA OVERGROWTH?

Candida overgrowth, also known as Candidiasis or Candida Overgrowth Syndrome, is as the name states, an overgrowth of yeast, typically Candida albicans (aka Candida). (1) Candida albicans is the most commondisease-causing species of Candida, although there are others

WHAT CAUSES CANDIDA OVERGROWTH?

Candida albicans is a normally harmless yeast found in mucus membranes, including those in the mouth, ears, nose, skin, vagina, and gut. Overgrowth can occur in any of these areas, often in combination with one another, so identification of any one area of overgrowth may indicate the presence of overgrowth in the gut as well.

MEDICATION AND LIFESTYLE FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO A CANDIDA OVERGROWTH

No one factor on this list causes Candida overgrowth on its own. But, in combination, these factors can create the perfect storm for an overgrowth.

  • Diet high in refined carbohydrates (white flour/white rice), and sugar
  • Diet high in certain fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles
  • High alcohol intake
  • High or chronic stress environment (prolonged stress can impair our digestive system)
  • Overuse of antibiotics (number 1 reason, particularly broad-spectrum antibiotics like tetracycline, cephalexin, cefoperazone
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Oral corticosteroid use (Prednisone, etc.)
  • Inhaled steroids (steroid asthma inhaler, steroid nasal sprays)
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Inflammatory conditions (obesity, autoimmune disease, etc.)
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes (1, 2, 17, 18)
  • CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH CANDIDA

    • ADD/ADHD
    • Eczema
    • Psoriasis
    • Hives
    • Rash
    • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Ulcerative Colitis (70-86%)
    • Crohn’s Disease (44%)
    • Lupus
    • Scleroderma
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    • IBS
    • Depression/Anxiety
    • Leaky Gut Syndrome
    • Chronic Inflammation
    • Asthma
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes (2, 4, 7)

    HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE CANDIDA?

    Candida overgrowth can manifest in a variety of symptoms, some of which can be non-specific and similar to other conditions – making it difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone.

    COMMON SYMPTOMS OF CANDIDA

    • Recurrent athlete’s foot
    • Recurrent toenail fungus
    • Recurrent yeast infections (Vaginal Candidiasis)
    • White coating on tongue (Oral Thrush)
    • Feeling tired and worn down
    • Gas/Bloating
    • Diarrhea/Constipation
    • Brain fog
    • Recurrent skin issues (16)
    • Irritability/Mood swings
    • Depression/Anxiety
    • Diagnosed autoimmune diseases
    • Recurring UTIs
    • Rectal itching
    • Vaginal itching
    • Severe seasonal allergies
    • Itchy ears
    • Strong sugar/refined carbohydrate cravings
    • New sensitivities to commonly eaten foods (16)
    • Headache
    • Disorientation
    • Dizziness
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Muscle and joint aches
    • Chronic sinusitis
    • Recurrent colds
    • PMS
    • Decreased libido
    • Prostate and bladder infections
    • HOW TO TEST FOR CANDIDA

      It’s important to confirm a Candida infection, and not just treat based on symptoms, the latter of which can lead to costly and unnecessary medication use and unwarranted diet restrictions.

      It is best to use a combination of these tests, along with your symptoms, to confirm a diagnosis of Candida or other yeast overgrowth. A holistic dietitian or other qualified healthcare provider can help determine whether Candida is causing symptoms, and can order any or all of the following tests.

      • Blood Test – Checks for high levels of IgG, IgA, and IgM (Candida antibodies).
      • Stool Test – Checks for actual yeast in the stool. Positive test is indicative of Candida in your colon, or large intestine. Be sure a comprehensive stool test is ordered.
      • Urine Test – Checks for D-arabinitol (a yeast waste product). A positive test is indicative of Candida in the small intestine.

      NOTE FROM DENA:

      If you don’t already have a practitioner who can order these tests and discuss the results with you, I’d be happy to help! Contact me here for details.


      There is also a fourth test, a spit test (2), which can be performed at home and the best part is, it’s free. This test could be a good starting point if you suspect you might have a Candida overgrowth, but the spit test shouldn’t be used to diagnose Candida.

      To perform the spit test – First thing in the morning (before eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth), spit into a clear glass of water. If after 15-30 minutes your spit looks cloudy, has grown legs, or sinks to the bottom, then you might have Candida. Doing this over the course of a few days might paint a better picture. This video shows how to perform the spit test. Again, it’s important to confirm with one of the more established and scientific tests mentioned above before treating.

    • Note: This post contains affiliate links. By making purchases through these links, you pay the same amount for products, but a small portion of the sale will be sent my way to help support the mission of Back To The Book Nutrition. Thank you!
    • Click here to know Five Steps To Quickly Treat Candida Overgrowth

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