Candida is a type of yeast that naturally lives in our gut and mouth. However, when there is an overgrowth of candida, it can lead to health problems. Candida overgrowth, also known as candidiasis, is a condition in which there is an imbalance of yeast and bacteria in the body. This condition is common in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or cancer. Candida overgrowth can also occur in people who have recently taken antibiotics, which can kill off the good bacteria in our gut, allowing the yeast to grow unchecked.
Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
The symptoms of candida overgrowth vary depending on the severity of the condition and the location of the overgrowth. Common symptoms include:
Digestive issues: Candida overgrowth can cause bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. People may also experience abdominal pain, heartburn, and acid reflux.
Skin problems: Candida overgrowth can cause rashes, hives, and acne.
Fatigue and brain fog: Candida overgrowth can cause fatigue, lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating.
Vaginal yeast infections: Women who have candida overgrowth may experience itching, burning, and discharge in their vaginal area.
Oral thrush: People with candida overgrowth may develop oral thrush, which is a white, cottage cheese-like coating on the tongue and inside the mouth.
Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates: Candida overgrowth can cause cravings for sugar and carbohydrates, which can feed the yeast and make the condition worse.
Treatment for Candida Overgrowth
The treatment for candida overgrowth depends on the severity of the condition and the individual’s health. A healthcare provider may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Antifungal medication: Antifungal medication, such as fluconazole or nystatin, can be taken orally or applied topically to kill off the yeast.
Probiotics: Probiotics can help restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut and prevent the overgrowth of yeast.
Diet changes: Avoiding sugar and carbohydrates and eating a diet high in vegetables, protein, and healthy fats can help reduce the growth of yeast in the body.
Lifestyle changes: Reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco can help improve the overall health of the body and prevent candida overgrowth.
Candida overgrowth is a common condition that can cause a variety of symptoms. The best way to treat candida overgrowth is to address the underlying causes, such as a weakened immune system or an overuse of antibiotics. A healthcare provider can help determine the best treatment for each individual. By making dietary changes, reducing stress, and taking antifungal medication, people can help restore the balance of yeast and bacteria in their body and prevent the growth of candida.