If you’ve ever had thrush, candidiasis or yeast infections, then you know we’re not making this up! Regardless of the name, symptoms of a Candida Albican overgrowth can be uncomfortable, unpleasant and more than a little annoying.
What are Candida Albicans?
We talk about our good bacteria frequently, so it’s about time we spoke about some of the not so good micro-organisms. Candida albicans, head most wanted list.
While Candida albicans are a normal part of our bowel and genital / urinary tract flora, their numbers are kept tightly under control by the colonies of good bacteria and our immune system. The environment in a healthy body, is a little like the local neighbourhood. Sure, there’s those elements of the population that we’re just not happy with, but on the whole the rest of the population (our good bacteria) and the police force (our immune system) keep them well and truly under control. In an unhealthy body, you don’t really want to go out of doors at night. The good bacteria have been overrun and our immune system is fighting a losing battle.
An overgrowth of Candida albicans is actually surprisingly common. Some sources suggest that up to 1 in 3 people in Western nations are affected by some form of over proliferation.
What Are the Symptoms of Candida Albicans Overgrowth?
Like many of our bodies different micro organisms, both good and bad, Candida albicans inhabit many different areas of the body. The bowel, intestine, mouth, vagina, urinary tract and nail beds all make cosy homes for this none too fussy species. This is the reason for the wide diversity of symptoms associated with Candida albicans overgrowth and, part of the difficulty in diagnosis.
Just like the rowdy neighbours next door, once they setup house it doesn’t take long for Candida albicans too make themselves known. Some of the more common overgrowth symptoms of Candida we encounter include:
- recurring bouts of vaginal candidiasis or genital thrush;
- a broad range of digestive disturbances from constipation to diarrhea and gas;
- recurring and hard to mask bad breath;
- a weakened immune system and constant low grade fevers and sore throats;
What Can be Done About Candida Albicans Overgrowth?
Now it wouldn’t be much use in talking about the problems of Candida albicans overgrowth without providing, at least some hints, about how we can treat these pesty little things! Fortunately, natural medicine has a number of methods for tackling fungal and bacterial overgrowth. Now, more than ever, these are attracting ever growing attention as we find increasing numbers of micro-organisms developing resistance to standard anti-bacterial and anti-fungal pharmaceuticals.
Starve The Bugs Out
Okay, we realise Candida albicans are a yeast and not a bug, so please excuse our poetic license!
Avoiding all simple sugars may sound extreme, and, if you’ve done an anti candida diet before you know exactly how hard this can be. It is still however, the most effective form of getting those bad bugs to leave town.
If you’ve brewed your own beer, or soft drink, you will know, one of the key ingredients is sugar. Like most yeasts Candida albicans love sugar. The preferred energy source for Candida albicans are simple sugars, whether obtained directly from table sugar and soft drinks, or refined pastas, cereals, grains and breads. Avoiding all simple sugars brings a rapid reduction in Candida albicans populations bringing symptoms back under control and allowing our beneficial bacteria to gain the upper hand.
We regularly recommend anti-candida diets and find results to be directly related to commitment. An anti-candida diet not only kills off Candida albicans, but also other bad bacteria. We regularly find improvements not just in candida related symptoms, but also other symptoms of intestinal dysbiosis.
Shortly after starting an anti-candida diet many people feel a slight worsening of symptoms before improvement. This reaction, known as a Herxheimer Reaction, is a standard and normal part of the Candida die off, and should not be cause for concern. We have found that taking 20-30 grams per day of charcoal mixed in water, can help to absorb the toxins released as part of the die off process.
Non Pharmaceutical Antibiotics
For those harder to dislodge Candida infections, that diet isn’t beating, it may be time to call in the big guns. We’re not talking about pharmaceutical options here, rather, some of the many natural alternatives that have been shown to be just as effective, with two big differences:
- they don’t lead to antibiotic and anti-fungal resistant strains of candida;
- they leave good bowel and gut bacteria intact;
Oregano – Not just for Pizza’s
Many people regularly underestimate the power of our culinary herbs, oregano essential oil is a perfect example of this. While not something you would typically choose to diffuse or use for relaxation purposes, Oregano essential oil is a powerful anti fungal, both for diluted, topical application and when used internally. It is important to consult with our Naturopath when using any essential oil, particularly oregano essential oil internally. Some oils can irritate the sensitive mucous membranes of the bowel and colon. We can provide these as a capsule that will prevent this.
Now there’s another reason for adding more coconut oil to your diet!
While coconut oil might be rocketing to fame for it’s metabolic and weight loss advantages, it has been shown to be just as effective as pharmaceuticals in the treatment of many forms of Candida.
Why Talk to a Naturopath About Candida?
While tackling Candida, and other bacterial imbalances naturally, can be time consuming and require dedication and commitment to dietary change, it is the only way to properly address the underlying cause of these problems. Pharmaceutical antibiotics and anti-fungals, may provide short term relief, however they lay the ground work for recurrent infections or imbalances and can often lead to more powerful, drug resistant strains.
We have had great success treating people affected by recurrent Candida infections using simple dietary modification and proven herbal and nutritional supplements. Stop the bugs from ruling your life today and talk to our Naturopath for more information.