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What is candidiasis?

Candidiasis is caused by the overgrowth of a common type of yeast called Candida Albicans that occurs naturally in the body. In most cases, a healthy immune system can keep the balance between good bacteria and fungi such as Candida in check.

Candida can occur anywhere in the body, but it is most commonly found in areas with mucous membranes, such as the vaginal tract, rectum, and throat.  Some causes of the overgrowth of Candida can include prolonged use of antibiotics, the Birth Control Pill (BCP), eating refined sugar and processed foods, and immune suppression.

For many, especially women, systemic Candidiasis can seriously impact their quality of life. Many of us associate Candida infection with those annoying and dreaded yeast infections. Common symptoms of a yeast infection (vaginitis) can include burning and itching, either in the vagina or around the vulva, as well as a thick/whitish discharge.

Candida can also occur in the throat, where it is called thrush. This can affect newborn babies, as well as people with weak immune systems. Symptoms of thrush can include white patches that look like cottage cheese or red spots, sore throat, pain while swallowing, and loss of appetite.

Because an overgrowth of Candida can lead to a diverse group of chronic symptoms, it is challenging to diagnose. Many conventional medical doctors may treat symptoms, such as yeast infections or thrush, but will tend not to view the connection between Candida and these symptoms.

In addition, there is no accepted medical test available, outside of allergic antibody testing, to determine the existence of an overgrowth of Candida. It is important to remember that when candidiasis (i.e., a candida infection) is treated and yeast cells are killed off rapidly,

Symptoms associated with candida die off such as fever, sweating, and muscle and joint pain, may be experienced, making it feel as though the infection is getting worse. These symptoms do resolve in time.

A Candida infection is of concern because it can also become a systemic issue and lead to a variety of symptoms such as:

  • Digestive symptoms (pain, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Itching (skin, ears, vagina, rectum)
  • Skin problems (acne, eczema)
  • Mood changes (anxiety, depression, mood swings, difficulty in thinking clearly, poor memory)
  • Reproductive health (PMS, painful menstruation, infertility, low sex drive)

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