What is Candida?

Candida is a type of yeast like fungi which is generally found in trace amounts in the mouth, skin, intestinal tract and vagina of normal individuals. Candida is the organism most commonly associated with mycotic (yeast of fungus) infections.  Ordinarily, the growth of this fungus is kept in check by the immune system and the beneficial bacteria of the body or flora (the beneficial bacteria naturally found in the body that are essential for our health).  Individuals with weakened immunity, those who consume too much sugar (which feeds the fungus) and those who have taken drugs which kill the beneficial flora (mainly antibiotics, birth control pills, and the long-term use of cortisone) may develop an infection or overgrowth of this fungus.  This condition is referred to as candidiasis and the organism most frequently involved is candida albicans.

When a candida infection involves the mouth or throat, which usually occurs in infants and young children who have been on antibiotics, it is characterised by the formation of white patches and ulcers and is frequently accompanied by fever and gastrointestinal inflammation.  This condition is referred to as thrush.  

What are the symptoms?

A whole host of symptoms are thought to be either caused by, or worsened by candidiasis including thrush, irritability, mood swings, headaches, menstrual problems, hay fever, asthma, weight gain, loss of appetite, sleep problems, sinus problems, cystitis, muscle aches and pains, psoriasis, eczema, depression, heartburn, colitis, indigestion, constipation, vision problems, mouth ulcers, recurrent cough, white patches, ear infections and hyperactivity.

What is Systemic Candidiasis?

Occasionally, candida overgrowth occurs throughout the body including the liver and blood.  Once in the blood, the fungus can be carried anywhere in the body resulting in a myriad of health problems.  This condition is referred to as systemic candidiasis.  Many of the individuals with this disease go undiagnosed for years, continuing to suffer from health problems which baffle their doctors. 

In fact, although this condition is not uncommon, medical doctors will rarely suspect it.  If they do diagnose it they will treat it with special antibiotics which kill fungi and yeasts. 
Some individuals prefer to avoid antibiotics and opt to handle their candidiasis with diet, nutritional supplementation, and lifestyle changes to prevent recurrences.

Systemic candidiasis can also be a complicating factor for individuals who are overweight.  These individuals find it difficult to lose weight and even harder to keep it off, no matter what they try.  Once their candida is under control they often lose weight without even trying and find it much easier to maintain their ideal weight.

What can help?

A full food intolerance test is advisable.  All food intolerances need to be eliminated from the diet.  The candida albicans will be treated with a natural homoeopathic or herbal supplement and probiotics will be used to re-establish healthy gut flora.  The immune system will be strengthened as will have been weakened , any additional problems created by candida albicans will be treated and the digestive system rebalanced.