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Treatment for Candida and Symptoms of Candida Yeast Overgrowth

Updated on February 7, 2012

The first step in any diagnosis and subsequent treatment regimen for any disease or ailment is to identify symptoms.  The symptoms of candida overgrowth are widely varied and often mistaken for something else.  In addition, the treatment for candida albicans related problems is also not easy and is primarily focused on making some fairly drastic dietary changes.  At least they are drastic for most people.  To understand the symptoms of candida and how to treat candida overgrowth, we first need to know what exactly candida albicans is in the first place.

Many people can feel unwell and never know the true reason for their malaise. Often there is a good chance that candida albicans could be a factor in this. If you experience recurring sinus infection symptoms, persistent headaches, dizzy spells, and other strange and abnormal health issues it might be caused by candida overgrowth.

So what is candida albicans, anyway?

candida yeast viewed with an electron microscope
candida yeast viewed with an electron microscope

Candida albicans is a type of fungus or a yeast organism to be more exact. This microorganism lives in your body, and it is present and all over nearly everything we come in contact with in our environment.  For these reasons it is virtually impossible to avoid, but not everyone develops a problem with it.  It is not fully understood why with two people who have similar characteristics and diet, one may become susceptible to and develop symptoms of candida overgrowth and one may not.  There is a fair amount of theory and more is being understood about what things tend to cause the infection, though.

You may already be aware that the human body contains many microorganisms that aren't part of us. Every day we are carrying around all sorts of "bugs", and while many of those are beneficial and even essential to us and our well-being, candida is not among that group.  The problem with candida, besides the fact that it's everywhere and is not a beneficial organism, it can also be a cause of various and unexplained health problems that we experience. For this reason candida albicans has been called "the Hidden Disease" because it tends to be a factor for many people who don't feel "well" but otherwise don't have a clear diagnosis to hang their hat on.

Here is a partial list of some things that may be caused by and are symptoms of candida overgrowth:

  • athlete's foot
  • thrush
  • vaginal yeast infections
  • penile yeast infections
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • diarrhea
  • gastritis
  • heartburn (GERD)
  • sinus pressure
  • skin infections
  • and on and on...

It is believed that more than half of Americans may be experiencing the effects of candida yeast overgrowth in some form or another. Candida can also be a cause for the rise in various food allergies that have become more prevalent these days.

What are the common causes of candida overgrowth?

There are several causes for the abundance of candida albicans yeast that is known as "overgrowth". One of the most common of these is repeated antibiotic usage. This has been widely debated in the past among those in the medical community, but over the past few years several doctors have come out in support of reducing the overuse of antibiotics. A healthy balance of the essential intestinal bacteria can suppress the overgrowth of yeast, but when antibiotics destroy this healthy flora, the candida is free to proliferate and cause some of the problems mentioned. Several cortisone drugs and birth control pills are also commonly cited as causes of candidia overgrowth as a side effect.

Our reliance on processed foods is another one of the major reasons that many doctors think yeast overgrowth has become a larger problem. The over consumption of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates can greatly affect the balance of the good flora in our intestinal tract. A lack of good quality food in our diets can also compromise our immune systems, and this will cause the yeast and parasites to flourish.

Vaginal yeast infections are exclusively a female problem, but you may not know that there is a similar infection that can affect men. This can even be transmitted from an infected partner, so it would be best to curb sexual activity involving intercourse during an active infection.

Higher progesterone levels seem to enhance yeast growth, so women with candida overgrowth may also see increased symptoms pre-menstrually or during pregnancy.

In fact, more women than men are affected by candida overgrowth, and they can be 8 times more likely to develop problems and with a higher level of severity than men. This does not mean, though, that men should not be concerned.

Treatment for Candida Overgrowth

If you are experiencing an advanced stage of candida albicans overgrowth, the first and most effective remedy is to change your diet. Most people hate diets, but in the case of candida it is absolutely essential in order to reduce the population of the yeast organism to a level your body can handle. One also should try to ensure that the beneficial bacteria are allowed to increase to healthy levels. This is especially true after a round of antibiotics or other powerful drugs.

The list of things that advanced-stage candida overgrowth sufferers should avoid is lengthy and likely is full of things you love. The single biggest thing is sugar and things that contain sugar. Carbohydrates such as breads and pasta are broken down into simple sugars in the body as well, so these are also foods you should avoid or at least sharply limit.

A list of other foods and beverages to avoid includes: aged cheeses, alcohol (anything alcoholic), fermented foods(sauerkraut, kim chi), fruits, and some vegetables like corn that contain both mold and sugar.  There are a couple of very good books on the anti-candida diet that are displayed here.  There really is too much for me to go into here in the space of one article, so you definitely should purchase one of these as I have selected a couple of the best ones that we have used.

Another treatment option that has become popular and is actually effective is the Threelac and Fivelac products. These are powdered packets of various ingredients that include a healthy dose of the beneficial bacteria that is needed in the body and particularly the intestine to help reverse candida overgrowth.  These types of treatments are typically called "probiotic" and have been shown to be very beneficial.  I know personally, that these can work as well, especially when combined with the dietary changes suggested.

Fortunately, once the yeast has gone through the candida die-off, most people can take up some of their old dietary habits.  It is best to permanently remove some of the  worst offenders, but in moderation many of these things can be reintroduced into the diet with little to no ill effects.  One should always be vigilant, though, and at the first sign of any of the milder symptoms of candida overgrowth, treatment for candida should resume.


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