- WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT CANDIDA?
- Candida Albicans is a yeast organism which peacefully coexists in & with
many people when it is present in modest amounts. When circumstances
lead to the excessive growth of candida in the body, one can develop myriad
symptoms of chronic illness. The conditions of overgrowth is called Candidiasis.
The numerous problems which can result from this are called Candida Related
Complex, or Candida Colonization/Hypersensitivity Syndrome.
- What frustrates me is that though there is a great deal of information
written on this subject, traditional physicians are not paying any attention to
it. This creates tremendous confusion for those suffering from this problem.
Those patients who seek consultation from physicians who acknowledge &
diagnose candida are met with scoffing & disbelief when they report this to
their more traditional physician.
- Why all the misunderstanding? Because most doctors only recognize
a brief vaginal "yeast" infection known as monilia, a brief oral "yeast"
infection known as thrush, or a serious life threatening "systemic candidiasis"
found only in those with severe immune deficiency such as in Aids patients.
- But these doctors fail to recognize that the same fungal overgrowth
which can occur in the mouth or vagina can occur in any mucous membranes
in the body. This includes the entire gastrointestinal tract, the sinuses, the
ears , nasopharynx, & entire respiratory system, & the genitourinary tract.
And of course, fungal overgrowth can occur on the skin & under the finger
& toenails. Furthermore this may not be the short-lived condition they
attempt to treat with 1-3 days of antifungal medicine.
- Some people develop a short term fungal overgrowth related to
antibiotic treatment which can be readily cleared with a few days of meds.
Yet a larger number suffer from Chronic Candidasis which is a far more
complicated situation. I have seen published figures that this is as high
as 80 million Americans. I don't know how they got those figures, but I know
I have seen it frequently in my patients for many years, and I & family members
have been previous victims of Chronic Candidiasis. I got my start by being
a sugarholic for many younger years & promiscuously using antibiotics for
the frequent sore throats I was getting during the rigourous hours of Medical
school & training. Then, they knew very little about it, so I grappled for years
before the problem was taken care of--by me. So I am particularly peeved
when doctors say it doesn't exist.
- WHAT PREDISPOSES TO CHRONIC CANDIDA OVERGROWTH?
- Recurrent antibiotic use, steroid drugs, use of acid blockers, birth
control pills, excess sugar & refined carbohydrate intake, alcohol, diabetes,
decreased immune function, severe chronic stress, & familial factors are
the main predisposers to chronic candida.
- WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Anyone who has & knows they have chronic candida knows how many
different symptoms can be stirred up. Unfortunately, most who have this
disorder are unaware of it.
- Such individuals may crave sugar, breads, carbohydrates & alcohol-
though they are often alcohol intolerant. They may be bothered by the
smell of tobacco smoke & more symptomatic when exposed to chemicals,
such as household chemicals, perfumes. They may feel worse in damp
muggy locations & not infrequently develop inhalant mold allergies.
- General symptoms may be fatigue, drowsiness, muscle aches, weakness,
or tension, joint pain or swelling, dizziness, loss of balance, incoordination,
fluid retention & tissue swelling, numbness, burning or tingling.
- Cognitive/emotional symptoms may be a sense of spaciness or mental
fog, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, depression, anxiety, frequent
mood changes, & irritability.
- Head symptoms may be headache, nasal congestion or postnasal drip,
nasal itching, chronic sinusitis, visual changes, burning, tearing, or itching
eyes, fluid in ears, ear pain & congestion, recurrent ear infections, draining,
itching ears, sore or dry throat or mouth, & scalp lesions.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms may be constipation or diarrhea, bloating,
belching, & flatulence, indigestion, heartburn, esophagitis, bad breath, &
mucous in the stools.
- Respiratory symptoms can be persistent cough, pain or tightness in the
chest, wheezing, or shortness of breath.
- Genitourinary symptoms can be genital itching, burning, or irritation,
loss of sexual feeling, thick white lumpy vaginal discharge, painful intercourse,
menstrual cramps, urinary urgency or frequency, burning on urination, PMS,
endometriosis, prostatitis, & impotency.
- Skin symptoms can be rashes & itching, especially in areas which are
moist & get little air circulation. Sometimes there are fingernail & toenail
WHY SO MANY KINDS OF SYMPTOMS?
- This is a logical question & the reason the manifestations can be so
widespread is complex. Some of the symptoms are related to local
inflammation of the mucous membranes caused by the overgrowth of the
- Then the candida organisms can produce 79 different toxins
which can cause other inflammatory responses anywhere in the body. Most
notable of these is acetaldehyde which is the same chemical to which
alcohol is metabolized. These chemical overloads may directly induce
symptoms, as well as chronically affecting the system so that chemical
hypersensivity reactions occur. The toxic metabolites further suppress
the immune system which may already be compromised.
- The individual may become allergic to the candida organism, so that
reaction is added & also may become allergic to other foods & inhalant molds.
- The inflammation & production of chemicals in the GI tract alter the
intestinal membranes making them allow particles to pass into the system
which would ordinarily be blocked. This increased intestinal permeability
is one of the root causes of delayed food hypersensivity reactions, so food
allergy symtpoms get added to the list.
- Most serious of all are the autoimmune & endocrine disorders which
may develop after years of significant chronic candidiasis. Decreased
adrenal, thyroid, parathyroid, & ovarian functioning may also be associated
with autoimmune disorders of those glands.
- Other associated disorders may be hair loss, vitiligo, malabsorption,
chronic hepatitis, dental enamel dysplasia, & disorders of the thymus gland.
- This is why I am appalled by those doctors who fail to responsibly look
in to this matter.
HOW CAN YOU DIAGNOSE CANDIDIASIS?
- If you have the predisposing factors & suspicous symptoms, then tests
can be done. There are blood tests which measure for increased antibodies
to candida indicating overgrowth, there are blood tests for candida immune
complexes, & there are stool culture & sensitivites when GI symptoms
predominate. When I am able to get a positive stool culture & sensitivity,
it aids treatment because it tells me which natural & presciption items will
work best with this patient. The candida organism is extremely resilient
& can keep mutating into resistant forms, so often is resistant to a number
of items in the test. If your doctor is open to learning they can find out
more about these tests from the labs which offer them.
- The labs I use for the blood tests are:
Alletess Candida Profile - http://food-allergy.com/tests/available-tests/
- The labs for the stool culture & sensitivity & preferably for their
Comprehensive Stool & Digestive Analysis which gives other info helpful in
treating candida are:
HOW DO YOU TREAT CANDIDA?
- The most critical part of treatment is dietary change. There must be no
sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, white flour products, fruit juices, dried
fruits, melons, yeast, moldy cheeses or foods, or alcohol. One must read
labels to be stringent. The allergy rotation diet doubles as an
anticandida diet if you delete melons & dried fruits.
- Unfortunately those prone to chronic candida are also prone to relapse
if they stop their dietary program & complete wellness may require life-
time dietary modifications.
- It is also necessary to eliminate the predisposing factors listed earlier
in this news as much as possible.
WHAT ABOUT DRUGS VS NATURAL ANTIFUNGALS?
Depending upon the severity of the blood test & stool findings, I am
prone to prescibing antifungal medication, which may need to be taken
relatively long term in more severe cases. Those medicines are Nystatin
capsules or powder ( not the tablets), Nizoral, Diflucan, & Sporonox. The last
2 are very expensive.
Additionally there are a number of natural antifungal agents I may
recommend. However, one reason I recommend the meds is that often when
I do order the culture & sensivity the candida is resistant to many of the
natural items, except for something called Tannins & grapefruit seed extract.
But with milder cases, where there is no culture & sensivity we opt for the
It is important to restore the normal acidophilus & bifidus organism in
the GI tract which are killed with antibiotics & predispose to candida.
If there is a situation of low stomach acidity , betaine HCL needs to be
added as the candida organisms thrive best in an alkaline environment. You
want to make an inhospitable neighborhood for them. If food allergies have
developed, further digestive enzyme support may be needed.
It is also helpful to support the immune system with thymus fractions.
HOW CAN YOU LEARN MORE?
There is a list of books on candida.
An additional good book not listed there is Candida Related Complex by
I appreciate your responses.
Please let me know what you want featured.
Feel free to forward to interested parties.
UNTIL NEXT MONTH--ENJOY LIFE.
Priscilla Slagle M.D.
- "To heal is to make happy" ---Course In Miracles
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