What is Candida?
Candidiasis - acute pneumonitis Source: Yale Rosen of Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/pulmonary_pathology/5494227334/in/photolist-msWFxM-8ysD2e-9nvmss-9nvmHu-9nsjeR-9nvmCQ-9nvmF3-6Bbuhm-9nvmnu-9nvmzL-8pgd1v...
Candida is the short name used to describe yeast overgrowth in the body. The technical term is Candidiasis. Like their “cousins” the molds, they live all around us. One family “Candida Albicans” lives in all mucus membranes, i.e. intestines, eyes, ears, bladder, stomach, lungs, vagina, etc. It is one of the billions of other friendly organisms that serve a useful purpose in the body.
One of its important functions is to recognize and destroy harmful bacteria. However, candida is not intended to overgrow and get out of control while the body is alive. This is only intended to happen when the body dies, when it’s function and characteristics change in order to break down the body.
When Candida Albicans is under control it poses no problem, but when it gets out of control it begins to overgrow causing numerous symptoms and health problems from the top of the head to the tips of the toes, from migraines to nail fungus. It can result in symptoms inside (pain and malfunction of organs, even brain lesions) and outside (eczema and hives). It can also cause problems with the mind and emotions.
- Allergies, sensitivities and intolerances that worsen in damp, muggy or moldy places or weather that is damp, muggy, humid or rainy.
- Hay fever and asthma.
- Intolerances or allergies to perfumes, odors, fumes, fabric shop odors, grass, cats, dogs or other animals, tobacco smoke, chemicals, smog, molds, dust mites, dust, pollen, and other airborne substances.
- Athletes’ foot.
- Babies—colic, diaper rash, thrush (coated white tongue), and cradle cap.
- Bruising easily.
- Cheekbone or forehead tenderness, pain.
- Cold hands or feet, low body temperature.
- Cold-like symptoms—excessive mucus in the sinuses, nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs.
- Cravings or addictions for sugar, bread, pasta and other high carb foods, and also alcohol.
- Cysts, abnormal formation of, in different parts of the body, especially around the neck, throat, and ovaries, and in the bladder or scrotum.
- Digestive problems—diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distention, bloating or pain, gas, mucus in the stools, hiatal hernia, ulcers, suffering from bacteria, i.e. salmonella, E. coli, h. pylori, etc.
- Ears—ringing in the ears (tinnitus), sounds in the ears, ear infections, dryness, itchiness, ear pain, ear aches, ear discharges, fluid in ears, deafness, abnormal wax build-up.
- Eyes—erratic vision, spots in front of eyes (eye floaters) and flashing lights; redness, dryness, itching, excessive tearing, inability to tear, etc.
- Fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome or Epstein Barr or a feeling of being drained of energy, lethargy, drowsiness.
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Glands—swollen, too little saliva (dryness in the mouth), blocked salivary glands, swollen lymph nodes.
- Hair loss, scum on the scalp, dandruff, itchy scalp, scalp sores and dryness.
- Heart palpitations and irregular heart beat.
- Headaches, migraines, brain fog, dizziness, etc.
- Hemorrhoids, and rectal itching, rash, irritation and redness.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and diabetes.
- Hypothyroidism, Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome, Hashimoto’s disease, hyperthyroidism, erratic thyroid function, etc.
- Irritability, nervousness, jitteriness and panic attacks.
- Lesions on the skin, and inside the body, i.e. the brain.
- Male associated problems—jock itch, loss of sex drive, impotence, prostitis, penis infections, difficulty urinating, urinary frequency or urgency, painful intercourse, swollen scrotum, etc.
- Female health problems—infertility, vaginitis, unusual odors, endometriosis (irregular or painful menstruation), cramps, menstrual irregularities, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), discharge, painful intercourse, loss of sexual drive, redness or swelling of the vulva and surrounding area, vaginal itching or thrush, burning or redness, or persistent infections.
- Fungal infections of the skin or nails, i.e. ringworm, saborrheic dermatitis, dark and light patches on the skin (tinea versicolor), etc.
- Joint pain, stiffness or swelling (arthritis).
- Kidney and bladder—infections, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder with possible infection), urinary frequency or urgency, low urine output, smelly urine, difficulty urinating, burning pain when urinating.
- Lack of appetite.
- Mind and Mood—anxiety attacks, crying spells, memory loss, feeling spaced out, depression(including suicidal feelings), manic feelings, inability to concentrate, mood swings, irritability, etc.
- Mouth sores or blisters, canker sores, dryness, bad breath, a white coating on the tongue (thrush) and blocked salivary glands.
- Muscle aches and pain, numbness, burning or tingling, and lack of strength and coordination.
- Nasal congestion, postnasal drip, itching, dryness.
- Odor of the feet, hair or body not relieved by washing.
- Respiratory—cough, bronchitis or pneumonia, pain or tightness in the chest, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma.
- Sick all over feeling.
- Sinus inflammation, swelling and infections.
- Skin—dryness, dry red patches, acne, pimples, hives, rashes, itching skin, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoea, ringworm, contact dermatitis, rosacea, etc.
- Stomach—h. pylori bacteria (causes ulcers), heartburn, indigestion, hiatal hernia, acid reflux, belching, vomiting, burning, stomach pains, needle-like pains, food that seems to sit in the stomach like a lump, etc.
- Sleep—insomnia, waking up frequently, nightmares, restless sleep, etc.
- Sore throat, hoarse voice, constant tickle in the throat, laryngitis (loss of voice), etc.
A healthy immune system keeps Candida in balance with the other micro-organisms in the mucous membranes but under certain conditions it begins to overgrow and get out of control. The causes of immune system dysfunction are varied and complex, but antibiotics are the biggest culprits because they wipe out friendly micro-organisms, in the digestive system. Because Candida is resistant to antibiotics the imbalance of micro-organisms allows it to take over. It begins to change its shape and starts to overgrow; raising large families called colonies.
These colonies excrete toxins that circulate throughout the body further weakening the immune system and creating havoc throughout the body. The Candida produces very long root-like structures that penetrate intestinal walls leaving microscopic holes which allows toxins, undigested food particles, bacteria and yeast to enter the bloodstream. This condition is known as the “Leaky Gut Syndrome”, which causes food allergies and many health problems. These root-like structures also causes considerable damage to the walls of the intestines resulting in malabsorption of nutrients.
Adding to the problem of malabsorption are nutritional deficiencies that also weaken the immune system.Today’s standard diet lacks the necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy immune system. It is loaded with sugar, carbohydrates, hydrogenated oils and fats (trans-fats), white flour products, processed foods, food additives, preservatives, pesticides, and heavy metals. This, in addition to foods being irradiated (exposed to high levels of radiation to extend shelf life), and being grown in nutrient depleted soil, long storage and transportation time, and improper handling, cooking and microwaving that goes on in most homes, further depletes nutrients available. All of these factors contribute to a weakened immune system.
Testing for Candida at Home
Your holistic practitioner will have conclusive means of testing for candida, however for a simple at home test try the following. First thing in the morning, before you put anything in your mouth, fill a clear glass with room temperature bottled water.
Work up a bit of saliva, and spit it into the glass of water. Check the water every 15 minutes or so for up to one hour.
If you see strings (fibers) traveling down into the water from the saliva floating on the top, cloudy specks (particles suspended in the water) or cloudy saliva that sinks to the bottom of the glass you have a candida problem.
Read the next article to find out how to get Candida back under control