Do you know what fatigue, digestive problems and yeast infections have in common? They can all be caused by Candida infection – a little-known, yet common condition triggered by antibiotics and poor lifestyle choices.
According to a recent report from the National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC), three out of four women will experience a yeast infection at some point in their lives as a result of Candida overgrowth in their body. However, what the report doesn’t mention is that Candida infection can be also traced to other common and debilitating health problems such as lack of energy, digestive disorders (bloating, diarrhea), headaches, “brain fog” and even increased cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates.
To further complicate the issue, most allopathic physicians don’t know they could prevent the condition with just two words: Take probiotics.
Understanding Systemic Candida
Candida infection, or chronic candidiasis, is an overgrowth of a yeast-like organism Candida albicans, which is normally present in healthy bodies. Most commonly, the cells of C. albicans grow out of control as a result of prolonged antibiotic use, weakened immune system, stess, high-sugar diets, or the use of steroids and birth control pills.
But as with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and lyme disease, the unfortunate truth is that many conventional practitioners are reluctant to accept chronic candidiasis as a bona-fide condition, leaving sufferers with no relief or sicker than before.
“Yeast overgrowth is quite common, but many people don’t know they have it and conventional doctors tend to ignore it,” explained Mark Hyman, pioneer in the emerging field of functional medicine, which strives to use new research to understand and treat the underlying causes of disease. “This can result in many chronic illnesses and symptoms including allergies, chronic inflammation, joint problems, mood and bran disorders, digestive symptoms and more.”
Each one of us carries trillions of bacteria that make up our intestinal flora. Under normal circumstances, these little inhabitants of our gut produce important vitamins, hormones and enzymes, while enhancing the immune system and promoting healthy digestion. However, when the intestinal flora is imbalanced, our health suffers.
Causes, Treatment & Prevention
Intestinal microbes can die off with stress, medication use and poor diet. Nowadays it’s common knowledge that antibiotics wipe out not only the bad bacteria, but the good ones, too (while leaving yeast cells unharmed). In the absence of competition, Candida albicans can replace the dead flora and grow out of control, expanding into all the empty nooks and crannies of the large intestine.
There are more factors that promote yeast overgrowth. One of the most common culprits are diets high in carbohydrates. “The refining of sugar and wheat has its downside by creating a simple food source of yeast,” explains Carolyn Dean, MD, ND in her article on yeast and weight gain. Birth control pills don’t help either, as they can promote hormonal imbalance, which increases your chances of developing recurring yeast infections.
Once you have Candida, it takes time and consistency to rebalance. As with any other disease, the best way to combat the increasing incidence of yeast overgrowth is through prevention.
Avoid stress and try to eat healthy whole foods, while keeping sugar consumption on a sensible level. When you have an infection that requires antibiotics, take all the pills and follow up with probiotics to restore the balance of good bacteria. A balance in intestinal flora makes a happy, healthy you.
Visit the author, James Schreiber's website @ www.ecandida.com