Candida, also known as Candida albicans, is the scientific name for a type of yeast. It is a fungus that lives almost everywhere, including in your body. Usually, your immune system keeps yeast under control. However, if you are sick, or taking antibiotics, yeast can multiply and cause an infection in various parts of the body as toxins produced by the yeast enter the blood stream.
Symptoms of Candida are numerous and can include fatigue, headache, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, mood swings, poor memory and concentration, and cravings for sweets, to name a few. Sounds a lot like PMS, doesn’t it. That’s because excess estrogen can contribute to Candida, therefore a variety of female conditions co-exist with Candida. The most well known form of yeast overgrowth occurs in the form of vaginal yeast infections, which affect a majority of women at least once in their lifetime. Some women, depending on their dietary habits and immune system, experience recurring yeast infections.
Since many female conditions co-exist with Candida, sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether it’s PMS or Candida. If you are experiencing recurring yeast infections seeing a health care professional may help to get to the root cause of your symptoms. Candida testing should be considered as part of a thorough evaluation. There are tests available that can help you determine 1) the likelihood of a Candida yeast overgrowth being the cause of your health issues, and 2) how much overgrowth there is. One such test is the Organic Acid Test (OAT).
You can order the OAT test online from the following Websites, however I cannot vouch for the quality of any of the labs listed, nor am I responsible for the contents of their Websites. I’m only providing this brief list as a matter of convenience:
- Great Plains Laboratory. The test requisition form (included in test kit) must be signed by a medical practitioner and accompany all specimens. Off hand, I couldn’t find what they’re charging for this test.
- Interestingly enough, Integrative Psychiatry also offers this test ($320.00).
- Vitamin Research Products is selling the OAT test for $269.00.
Yeast infections affect different parts of the body in different ways:
- Thrush is a yeast infection that causes white patches in your mouth
- Esophagitis is thrush that spreads to your esophagus, the tube that takes food from your mouth to your stomach. Esophagitis can make it hard or painful to swallow
- Women can get vaginal yeast infections, causing itchiness, pain and discharge
- Yeast infections of the skin cause itching and rashes
- Yeast infections in your bloodstream can be life-threatening
Treatment for Candida albicans includes conventional over-the-counter medication or prescription medication such as topical creams, anti-fungal drugs, probiotics, and pharmaceuticals.
Suggested natural remedies for detoxification and Candida:
Lactobacillus acidophilus is bacteria that normally live in the human small intestine and vagina. This is a type of beneficial bacteria (commonly used probiotic, or “friendly,” bacteria) is typically found in most yogurts (more so in the organic, sugar free yogurts) can help to support the immune system and maintain normal levels of yeast in the system.