Candida (or yeast) overgrowth can be extremely uncomfortable. Yet, many people experience the condition without even realizing it. If you’ve dealt with health concerns like skin infections, chronic fatigue or digestive issues, you may be experiencing a proliferation of Candida in the gut. Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about this naturally-occurring fungus in order to help you better understand how to recognize and manage its symptoms.
What is Candida?
Candida is a fungus (a form of yeast) that lives on the skin, as well as in the mouth and vaginal area. In a healthy intestinal system, Candida plays a part in helping to regulate digestion and absorb nutrients. However, when imbalance occurs – due to diet changes, antibiotics, or chemical interference – it can cause the bacteria in your gut to go haywire, allowing yeast to grow unchecked. This can lead to a variety of health concerns, including inflammation of the intestinal wall, infections of the skin and vaginal area, and/or nutritional deficiencies.
Common Symptoms of Overgrowth
The most common signs include fungal infections of the skin, nails, and mouth, in addition to:
- chronic fatigue
- digestive issues (bloating, constipation, or diarrhea)
- sudden mood changes, anxiety, and/or depression
- sinus infections
- vaginal infections (including yeast or chronic urinary tract infections)
- certain autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or ulcerative colitis)
Plus, since Candida thrives in an acidic internal environment, you may experience uncontrollable cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, and other foods that feed this fungus.
Treatment and Prevention in 3 Steps
Proper care starts with noticing symptoms quickly, so you can treat them before the condition worsens. Depending on the degree of infection, treatment is often easier than you think, beginning with three simple changes in your daily diet and wellness routine:
- Two powerful ingredients that can help to prevent and treat Candida overgrowth include a quality probiotic (one with Saccharomyces to help balance candida) and apple cider vinegar (diluted with warm water in the morning to help balance your digestive pH).
- It’s also a good idea to eat plenty of organic, low-sugar fruits, along with non-starchy vegetables and moderate amounts of lean protein. Decreasing your intake of sugar, carbohydrates, and alcohol can greatly reduce your chance of infection, as well.
- Adding antimicrobial herbs like berberine, curcumin, reishi mushroom, and uva ursi into your diet has also been shown to help combat Candida overgrowth and rebalance your gut.
Along with a healthy, balanced diet, make sure to incorporate stress management practices into your routine, including getting enough rest every night. Other stress relief methods to try: exercise, mediation, journaling, reading, or anything that helps you relax throughout your day.
Most importantly, remember you’re not alone in dealing with the challenge of Candida overgrowth – millions of Americans are affected each year. Consult your trusted health professional to get a personalized treatment plan or address specific concerns.