Candida albicans is a yeast that is present in small amounts in everyone. Normally it lives in harmony with all the usual friendly bacteria that are present in our intestinal tracts. At times when the environment of the gut changes due to a toxic body, abuse of antibiotics, sugar laden food and a weakened immune system the yeast can proliferate and you can end up with a yeast overgrowth or yeast infection.
Candida is a species of yeast that normally inhabits the skin and the mucus membranes that line the lungs, digestive tract and vagina. It is a member of a broader classification of organisms known as fungi. Candida Albicans and Candida Glabrata are probably best known for causing vaginal infections in women and is easily diagnosed by a culture from a swab taken by a doctor. The diagnosis of intestinal yeast overgrowth is more difficult and goes largely unrecognized by the majority of the main stream medical profession.
Symptoms of Candida yeast overgrowth
Candida has been linked with numerous and diverse symptoms all over the body such as lethargy, depression, headaches, asthma, skin erruptions, menstrual problems, allergies, chemical sensitivity, abdominal bloating, diarrhea, constipation, intestinal gas, frequent bladder infections, low immune function and many others. Is it any wonder that doctors are reluctant to believe that this normally harmless organism can produce all these problems?
When Candida yeast overgrows it produces toxins which are absorbed from the digestive system into the blood and are believed to be the cause of the symptoms. This is often referred to as the yeast syndrome or Candidiasis. It can turn into a fungal form which produces long root like structures that penetrate the intestinal walls and causes a leaky gut ( increased intestinal permeability) leading to some of the many symptoms.
Is Candida overdiagnosed?
Many people in search of answers to their numerous symptoms that their doctors can’t put a name to often end up believing that yeast overgrowth is the cause of them. Candida yeast overgrowth has probably become one of the most over self diagnosed conditions there is. According to many alternative therapists Candida is an epidemic.
What has largely been ignored by many practitioners is the fact that the diverse symptoms could also be caused by small intestine bacterial overgrowth or parasites or both. Yeast overgrowth may be present as well but unless the other two are treated the yeast problem will not be resolved.
Tests for Candida
As we all have Candida present in our intestines stool tests analysis rely on the quantity of Candida present. A negative test result however does not rule out Candida or parasites. A special technique known as a PCR stool test can produce better results as it detects the DNA of certain organisms. The GI effects profile from Metametrix is a very comprehensive test. In the UK Dr Budka does PCR testing.
If you live in Europe there is a German laboratory that claims to accurately diagnose Candida overgrowth from a stool test.
You can find out more about the test and find a practitioner here : http://www.candidatest.co.uk/
Oragnic Acids Test
One of the best ways to find out if you have yeast or bacterial overgrowth is to do an Organic Acids Test. This is an easily done test that measures the by products of bacterial and yeast metabolism that are excreted in urine. It also give you an indication of fatty acid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, energy production, B vitamin status, neurotransmitter metabolism and detoxification. A very worthwhile test.
A Candida antibody blood test can check for Candida infection through the measurement of IgG, IgA, and IgM antibodies to Candida albicans. The presence of IgM antiboides indicates a current infection.
Hydrogen Breath Test
A hydrogen breath test can be done to detect bacterial overgrowth. When there is a problem with digestion certain types of bacteria multiply and ferment undigested food and hydrogen is produced. Some it is absorbed into the blood stream and released into the lungs where it is breathed out and can be measured with special equipment.
If you have self diagnosed yeast overgrowth and are having trouble getting it under control it is worth considering testing to rule out bacterial overgrowth and parasites as contributing causes of your symptoms.
Body Detox is important if you want to get rid of yeast overgrowth
If you do have Candida then it pays to detox your body. It took Dr George Georgiou of the Davinci Natural Health Centre, Cyprus, 11 years to finally rid himself of Candida even though he had many different treatments from experts who had written books about it. He says that the missing part of most of the Candida protocols is detoxification.
I have written about a Candida cleanse in a previous post on this blog and about a Candida Yeast Cure in another article on my Natural Remedies Blog. Read Part 2 of this topic here. Get back to basics to treat Candida Naturally.