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Common Signs Of Candida Overgrowth And How To Treat Them Naturally

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Common Signs Of Candida Overgrowth And How To Treat Them Naturally

You've probably heard the word "candida" as well as all the "candida diets" and "candida cleanse" lately. It's become quite the popular marketing phrase. But with all the negative press around it, you may not know that candida is actually a naturally occurring fungus that grows in and on our bodies.  

Candida Albicans, the most common yeast in the human body, commonly lives in the gut, mouth, throat, vagina, and skin. Under the right circumstances, it is part of a healthy microbiome and usually doesn't cause any harm.  

However, sometimes conditions are perfect for Candida Albicans to grow out of control, causing an infection known as candidiasis, aka candida overgrowth. Once candida turns into candidiasis, many problems can present, including skin rashes, yeast infections, and GI distress.

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Reasons for Candida Overgrowth

Candida can overgrow for many reasons, but one of the most common reasons is dysbiosis (unbalance of the good vs bad gut bacteria). The health of your digestive system relies heavily on the good bacteria that live in your gut to keep bad bacteria and fungi in check. Once your gut microbiome is disrupted, candida can quickly multiply.

Common Reasons for Dysbiosis

Lifestyle-Based Reasons for Dysbiosis

Candida Signs & Symptoms

Frequent Yeast Infections

Many women will get a yeast infection at some point in their life, but if you suffer from frequent yeast infections, you might have a problem with candida overgrowth.

GI Problems

The overgrowth of candida in the GI tract can lead to generalized IBS symptoms at the beginning, such as bloat, pain, constipation, and diarrhea. But if left untreated, the overgrowth of candida can weaken the lining of your gut, leading to increased gut permeability (leaky gut syndrome).

Current studies indicate that an overgrowth of candida is also associated with gastric ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease.

Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

UTI's are commonly caused by bacteria, but Candida Albicans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that can overgrow in the urinary tract causing chronic UTIs.

While this is a less common reason for chronic UTIs, it shouldn't be ignored if you have other candida overgrowth symptoms.

A clean catch urinalysis test can help rule out the yeast in your urine to confirm if your UTI is coming from bacteria or yeast.

Thrush

A thin white coat on your tongue is considered normal. But if you notice a thicker white coating on your tongue, cheeks, throat, or the roof of your mouth, you could have oral thrush, which is a sign of candida overgrowth.

Frequent Skin Infections or Nail Infections

Candida normally lives on the surface of the skin. But sometimes, the fungi can make their way beneath the skin or nail's surface and cause an infection.

Since candida loves warm, moist environments, the infections often form between skin creases or folds like the armpit, groin, torso, or under the breasts.  

Functional Medicine Labs to Test for Candida

Comprehensive Stool Test

A comprehensive stool test will test for Candida Albicans overgrowth and help rule out possible reasons for the candida overgrowth, such as dysbiosis or inflammatory markers leading to other health-related illnesses caused by the candida. Retesting a few months into care allows for any modification that may be needed.

SIBO Breath Test

If you suspect candida overgrowth, it's also essential to rule out SIBO. SIBO, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the small intestine, is commonly found in patients with candida overgrowth. Leaving SIBO untreated can further complicate treatment if not addressed.

Blood Test

A candida profile blood test is another way to rule out candida overgrowth. These tests look for an IgG, IgA, or IgM reaction to the fungus. This way of testing is not as inclusive as a stool test; therefore, it is usually added alongside a comprehensive gut health test, food sensitivity test, or SIBO test.

Functional Medicine Treatment for Candida

Treatment protocols and antifungal prescriptions vary depending on where the candida has overgrown. But one thing all candida overgrowth treatments have in common is to follow a version of the "Anti Candida Diet."

Nutrition for Candida Overgrowth

"The Anti-Candida Diet is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes good gut health. The diet includes non-starchy vegetables, low sugar fruits, non-glutinous grains, fermented foods, and healthy proteins."

Probiotics for Candida Overgrowth

Good quality probiotics have been shown repeatedly to reduce candida infections in different organ systems of the human body. A comprehensive stool test can help identify which probiotics your gut microbiome is deficient in.

Supplements for Candida Overgrowth

Caprylic acid, oregano oil, garlic, and berberine have been shown in studies to be effective treatments for candida overgrowth. I suggest utilizing the GI Effects comprehensive stool test for a more personalized approach. This assessment will show which prescriptive and natural agents were effective at inhibiting the growth of the candida specific to the patients microbiome.

Summary

Candida Albicans are naturally occurring fungi that live in and on our bodies. Keeping our gut healthy and balanced can potentially decrease our chances of fungal overgrowth. If you suspect you have candida overgrowth, it is best to confirm your diagnosis by working with a provider before self-treating at home. Lab testing can ensure a targeted and effective treatment plan.

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The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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