Candidiasis is an infection caused by a group of fungi or yeast. Candida albicans, a harmless yeast that naturally lives in the body, is the most common species of candida. However, when the body’s system is imbalanced they can become so numerous they cause infections and treating candida is necessary.
Candida overgrowth can be caused by a number of known and suspected triggers. These include:
- The use of immunosuppressive drugs in cancer or AIDS treatment
- Antibiotics overuse
- Poor diet
- Estrogen replacement therapy (HRT)
- Alcohol overuse
- Chemotherapy and radiation
Symptoms of Candida
Candida of the mouth is called oral thrush and causes white patches on the lining of the mouth and throat and cracks at the corners of the mouth. Thrush can often appear in warm, moist areas like the skin in folds under the breasts, between the buttocks, and in the genital region. Skin and diaper rash, vaginal yeast infections, and nailbed infections are all examples of a candida infection.
Candida infection in the intestinal tract may cause ulceration, leading to bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, high fever, and other symptoms. For immune system impaired patients, candida can be life-threatening, spreading through the bloodstream to all parts of the body, including the brain, eyes, and bones.
Other symptoms of a candida overgrowth attack on tissues and organs are indigestion, bloating, fatigue, disorientation, numbness, memory loss, abdominal pain, anxiety attacks, depression, reduced coordination, headaches, rashes, and urinary frequency.
Risks of Having Recurring or Prolonged Yeast Infections
If the candidal infection is able to spread throughout the body, there can be a 75% mortality rate.
Recurring yeast infections may be red flags to other serious diseases, such as diabetes, leukemia, or AIDS. Candida has been linked to almost every medical condition including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, alcoholism, hypoglycemia, and many others. In some cases, the fungi are infecting these individuals through the opportunity of their weakened systems. There is even the suggestion that candida albicans may cause autism and may exacerbate the behavior and health problems or autistic individuals.
Treatment of Candida
Antifungal drugs and supplements can be helpful in battling the infections. Most effective, are extreme but temporary diet modifications that deprive the yeast of its food supply such as all sugars, dairy, refined carbohydrates, and yeast products. However, while treating candida infections, there is a period off “die-off” reactions where the patient feels much worse before feeling better. These symptoms include headaches, abdominal problems, and other aches, and can be improved with exercise, and an increase in fiber and water intake. Most people feel better within 6 weeks to three months, with more severe cases taking as long as six months to two years for improvement.