Candida overgrowth is a very common problem, leading to symptoms such as gas, bloating, irritable bowel, constipation and/ or diarrhea, lethargy and fatigue, brain fog, neurological issues and many more. Candida is a yeast that occurs in our large intestine – it is supposed to be there, and serves a good function as part of our natural microbiome. However, if Candida becomes overgrown, which can happen secondary to antibiotic use, a high-sugar diet, or other irritants in the gut such as food allergens or intestinal parasites, problems can arise.
Yeast overgrowth is similar to food allergies in that there are a plethora of associated symptoms. This can lead to skepticism in many doctors; the symptoms are tough to define. Candidiasis commonly infects the ears, nose, and urinary and intestinal tracts.
Signs and Symptoms of Yeast Overgrowth- Do Any of These Sound Familiar? It Might be Yeast?
- constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome
- abdominal pain
- bloating, gas, and indigestion
- bladder spasms and infections
- ear infections
- sinus infections
- rectal itching
- itchy ears or nose
- sugar or starch cravings
- white tongue (thrush)
- toe or finger nail infections
- jock itch
- chronic vaginal yeast infections
- intestinal permeability
- increased body odor
- chronic fatigue
Like most opportunistic infections, Candida and other yeasts may increase during times of stress!
Like most opportunistic infections, Candida and other yeasts may increase during times of stress. This overgrowth leaks toxins into the bloodstream or other tissues, allowing antigens (foreign invaders) to set up residence in various bodily tissues. Antigens then trigger complex allergic reactions. (This might explain why most individuals with chronic yeast overgrowth develop food, inhalant, and environmental allergies).
Allergic reactions can manifest in a variety of symptoms: fatigue, brain fog, depression, joint and muscle pain, digestive disorders, headache, rash, and breathing problems. Inflammation of the nose, throat, ears, bladder, and intestinal tract, can lead to infections of the sinus, respiratory, ear, bladder and intestinal membranes.
In an attempt to arrest these infections, doctors might prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic. Such antibiotics promote yeast overgrowth and often times, additional symptoms. Yeast can also invade the intestinal wall creating intestinal permeability aka “Leaky gut”. Once a leaky gut has developed, toxins from microorganisms and protein molecules from your food enter the blood stream and create an immune reaction.
Remember, yeast feeds on sugars and on carbohydrates that easily convert to sugars. In turn, yeasts produce a series of chemical products as waste, among which are acetaldehyde and ethanol. Ethanol is alcohol, and there are cases of people who have never drunk a drop of alcohol yet feel as though they are drunk.
What Causes Yeast Overgrowth?
Birth control pills, food allergies, antibiotics, and corticosteroid therapy are all initiators of yeast overgrowth. A minor increase in intestinal yeast is usually not a problem, leading possibly to infection of the mouth (thrush) or vaginal lining (vaginitis or “a yeast infection”). The body’s immune defenses are usually strong enough to keep the yeast from taking over the intestinal tract. However, if yeast overgrowth is left unchallenged, more sinister symptoms appear. Yeasts can change into an invasive mycellial fungus with rhizoids (tentacle-like projections) that penetrate the lining of the intestinal tract. These projections can cause intestinal permeability and leak toxins across the cellular membranes.
How do you test for Candida overgrowth?