Candidiasis (Thrush and Yeast Infection)

Candidiasis (Thrush and Yeast Infection)

 

Candida albicans is one of the many types of fungi that live and grow inside most human bodies. Normally, candida causes no harm; our bodies are equipped with pro- biotic (or “friendly”) bacteria and immune cells that keep it under control. However, some medications, high-sugar diets, allergies, and other factors can all cause the friendly bacteria to die, leaving candida free to grow unchecked in parts or all of the body.

The medical name for this overgrowth is candidiasis, but most people know the condition as either thrush or as a yeast infection. Thrush is marked by soft white patches in the oral cavity, around the anus, or on the skin. It most often appears in babies and in the elderly, but people with seriously compromised immune systems— such as those who have AIDS or who are undergoing chemotherapy—are also quite vulnerable. Many conventional doctors do not believe that such a condition exists except in cases of a seriously compromised immune system such as AIDS. Our view is different, and we find that many people with chronic fatigue and other chronic health conditions have problems with yeast overgrowth.

A vaginal yeast infection, by far the more common manifestation of candidiasis, causes burning, itching, and soreness in the vagina, along with a thick, sticky dis- charge. Its often the result of antibiotic use, poor diet, hormone imbalance, or a com- bination of these causes.

Sometimes the fungus spreads throughout the entire body in a condition known as systemic candidiasis. This disorder can produce any of a wide variety of symptoms and is often at the root of a persistent, mysterious illness. If you feel sick but are told by doctors that nothing is wrong, theres a good chance that youre actually suffering from systemic candidiasis. For people with dramatically weakened immune systems, systemic candidiasis is a grave threat, as the fungus can actually poison the blood.

Complementary treatments, which emphasize therapies that reduce the levels of candida to normal levels, are the best ways to resolve this condition. Depending on the person, several steps are often required for success in treating candida overgrowth. This requires treating the underlying cause(s). One of the obvious steps is to elimi- nate or cut down on simple sugars, alcohol, and so on, which feed yeast. Also, direct therapy that destroys candida works to assist the body in getting candida levels down to a controllable level. Examples include oregano oil and garlic. However, many chronic cases require a change in the biological terrain. By this, we mean the state and the health of the digestive tract, the organs of detoxification and elimination, the immune system, and hormone balance. In particular, one often needs to improve digestion and elimination. The by-products of poor digestion can form metabolites that can promote candida growth. Leaky gut syndrome, as the result of intestinal per- meability, is often a root problem of chronic candida. It is also imperative to promote the growth of the friendly flora that inhabit the digestive tract and many other areas of the body. These good bacteria are an essential component of the immune systems presence that keeps yeast levels in check. Also, keep in mind that chronic stress can alter flora balance and can suppress immune function. And finally, hormone balance



is important, especially for women. The use of the birth control pill or other forms of synthetic hormones may set the stage for candida overgrowth.

In a small percentage of cases, antifungal medications may be required. They, of course, should be used sparingly and with close supervision. They are not a magic bullet, and the root causes described in this chapter must still be addressed for long- term success.

 



SYMPTOMS OF THRUSH

 

White patches on the inside of the mouth

Inflamed, red patches on the skin

Bad breath

Heavily coated tongue

Dry mouth

 

 



SYMPTOMS  OF YEAST INFECTION

 

Vaginal itching, pain, and burning

Thick yellow discharge 

Burning during urination

 

 

SYMPTOMS OF SYSTEMATIC CANDIDIASIS

 

The list of symptoms that systematic candidiasis can cause is too long to print here, but following are some of the most common:



Persistent fatigue

Constipation

Diarrhea

Colitis

Abdominal pain

Rectal itching

Kidney and bladder infections

Muscle pain

Arthritis

Canker sores

Congestion

Cough

Headaches

Numbness or tingling in the limbs

Poor memory and concentration

Mood problems (depression,anxiety)

Chronic skin rashes

Genital or toenail fungus

Allergies

 

 



ROOT CAUSES

 

Prolonged or frequent use of antibiotics or corticosteroids, lead- ing to a depletion of good bacteria

Poor digestion and elimination

A depressed immune system

A high-sugar diet 

Allergies

Stress

Hormonal changes and birthcontrol pills

Aging

 
 

Testing Techniques

The following tests help assess possible metabolic reasons for candidiasis: Candida  levels—stool, blood (antibodies),  or urine (yeast metabolites) Intestinal permeability—urine test



TREATMENT Diet

Recommended Food

For high-density nutrition and immune support, base your meals around fresh vegetables, whole grains, and quality sources of lean protein, such as beans, lentils, fish, and organic poultry.

To replace friendly bacteria, eat unsweetened yogurt daily. Make sure the brand youre using has live yogurt cultures. Sauerkraut and miso are other examples of foods that contain friendly bacteria.

Despite its name, brewers yeast does not encourage Candida albicans; in fact, it enhances your immune system, so add some to your salads and other dishes. Vegetable and green drinks will improve your resistance. Drink 8 glasses of pure water a day to help flush yeast toxins out.

Consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds daily. Flaxseeds have antifungal properties.

 

Food to Avoid

The fungus that causes candidiasis feeds on sugar and yeast, so you must absolutely avoid all foods (especially alcohol) containing these sub- stances during the initial phase of treatment.

Many people with candidiasis also have undiagnosed allergies. See the Food Allergies entry on pages 251–256 to determine whether youre one of them.

During the course of your infection, avoid foods with mold (aged cheese, nuts, and nut butters)

Avoid refined foods that are likely to be loaded with sugars.

Avoid or reduce the use of fruits and fruit juices during the initial phase

 

Bacteria Basics

 

Many cultured  and sour prod- ucts contain  the friendly bacte- ria that will prevent candidiasis and many other infections. Yogurt can be an especially good source,  but you need to shop carefully—many mass- produced yogurt products  just dont have enough  of the bacte- ria you need. When youre reading labels, look for one or more of these Latin names:

Lactobacillus acidophilus Bifidobacterium bifidum Lactobacillus bulgaricus Strepococcus thermophilus

When buying yogurt, be sure the label or the container lists yogurt cultures that are “live,” “living, or “active. And since sugar encourages the growth of Candida albicans, buy unsweetened yogurt only.

(first month) of treatment. It is especially important to avoid these foods between meals.

 

Detoxification

 

Consume foods such as garlic, onions, chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass, and others that are known to support detoxification.

 



Super Seven Prescriptions—Candidiasis

 

Super Prescription #1    Oregano (Origanum vulgare) oil

Take a 300 to 500 mg capsule or the liquid form (as directed on the container) three times daily with meals (to avoid digestive upset).

Super Prescription #2    Probiotic

Take a product containing 4 billion active organisms twice daily, thirty minutes after a meal. It supplies friendly bacteria, such as acidophilus and bifidus, which fight candida and prevent its overgrowth.

Super Prescription #3    Garlic (Allium sativum)

Take 500 to 1,000 mg of aged garlic twice daily. Garlic fights fungal infections and also boosts immune strength.

Super Prescription #4    Grapefruit seed extract

Take 200 mg two to three times daily. Practitioners rely on this herb for its anti- candida properties.

 

 

 

 

study com- pared  the anti candida effect of oregano  oil to that of caprylic  acid. Researchers  found that oregano  oil is over one hundred times more potent than caprylic  acid against candida.



Super Prescription #5    Caprylic acid

Take 1,000 mg three times daily. This type of fatty acid has been shown in stud- ies to have antifungal properties.

Super Prescription #6    Gentian root (Gentiana lutea)

Take 250 mg or 0.5 to 1.0 ml at the beginning of each meal. It improves stomach acid levels and overall digestive function. Its often used with other bitter herbals.

Super Prescription #7   Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) combination

Take 500 mg or 2 to 4 ml of tincture three times daily. Both herbs enhance immune function. Echinacea has been shown to have antiyeast effects.

 
 

General Recommendations

 

Pau d’arco (Tabebuia avellanedae) has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. No matter what kind of candida infection you have, drink several cups of this tea every day.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil relieves intestinal cramping often associated with candida. Studies also show that it has antifungal properties. Take 1 to 2 enteric-coated capsules or 0.2 ml of peppermint oil two to three times daily.

Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium), and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) all have antifungal properties. Take as part of a can- dida formula.

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is mainly used topically for skin-related yeast infections. The tincture form can also be mixed in water (5 to 15 drops) and swished in the mouth for treating thrush.

A high-potency multivitamin provides the many nutrients used to support detoxification.

Vitamin C is used to enhance immune function. Take 1,000 mg two to three times daily.

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) are herbs used individually or in formulas to support liver and kidney detoxification while you undergo an anticandida program. Generally, you take

1 to 2 capsules with each meal or as directed on the container.

Betaine HCL, taken with meals, improves stomach acid levels and absorption. Take

1 to 2 capsules with meals.

Enzymes also support digestion when taken with meals. Protease enzymes, taken between meals, may have antifungal effects and reduce inflammation.

  

Homeopathy

 

See a qualified homeopathic practitioner for an individually prescribed remedy. For specific problems related to candida, see the corresponding sections in this book, such as AIDS, Constipation, Diarrhea, Fatigue, Headache, Indigestion, and so on. Other- wise, try the following recommendation:

Candida Albicans 6x, 12x, or 30x. This is a homeopathic preparation of candida that can be used to stimulate the immune system to target candida organisms. Take

2 pellets three times daily.



Acupressure

 


Spleen 6 and 10 detoxify the blood.

If candidiasis is accompanied by nervousness and stress, massage Large Intestine 4 and Liver 3.

 

 

Bodywork

 

Massage

Any massage, especially with one of the following relaxing oils, is wonderful for reducing stress. If you have a yeast infection and prefer to remain clothed, try a shoul- der, a head, or a foot rub. Lymphatic massage is particularly good to support detox- ification for people undergoing treatment for chronic candida.

 

 

Reflexology

See pages 686–687 for information about reflexology areas and how to work them.

Work the areas that correspond to the location of your symptoms. For thrush, mas- sage the head region. For a yeast infection, concentrate on the pelvic area. If you have systematic candidiasis, work the entire foot or the hand.

 

 

Aromatherapy

To relax and reduce stress, try any of the following in a bath, in steam inhala- tion, or in a diffuser: chamomile, jasmine, lavender, or rose.

Tea tree oil, peppermint, and myrrh all have a natural antifungal action. Use any one of them in a massage, a bath, or a compress. Tea tree oil can some- times be irritating, so if youre adding it to a bath or a compress, use just a few drops.

 

 

Stress Reduction

 

General Stress-Reduction Therapies

High levels of stress have been implicated in candida infections. If youre prone to candidiasis, any stress-reduction technique is likely to help. Exercise, yoga, and prayer are very good.

 

 

Bach Flower Remedies

 

Consult the Bach Flower Remedy chart on pages 648–650 to find the best remedy for your personal situation. Following are some suggestions to get you started. Once youve selected the right remedy, place 10 drops of the liquid under your tongue. Hold the drops in place for thirty seconds and swallow. Use as often as needed.

If you are nervous or tense, and if you have a hard time sitting still, take Impatiens. If a lack of self-confidence causes you anxiety in work or social situations, try

Larch.

Rock Water is helpful if a perfectionist nature makes you hard on yourself and those around you.



Other Recommendations

 

Whether you have thrush, a yeast infection, or systemic candidiasis, change your toothbrush monthly to avoid reinfecting yourself.

 

For a yeast infection, wear cotton underwear and loose clothes to keep the area dry.

If you have a yeast infection, you can apply live yogurt locally to replace pro- biotic bacteria. Spoon the yogurt onto a towel or a sanitary pad, or douche with yogurt and distilled water.

Be aware that sexual intercourse can spread candida. Partners should both be treated if vaginitis is a chronic problem.

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