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Candida

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A fungal disease affecting the warm, damp regions of the body such as the genital area.

Also called

Thrush

Affected areas

Genitals, gums, tongue, lips and inside the mouth.

Symptoms

Acute candida most commonly affects the vagina and female genito-urinary region, where symptoms may include:
  • Yeasty, vaginal discharge that is usually whitish in colour and smells unusual
  • The affected areas experience redness, itching and swelling
  • Painful reaction to sexual intercourse and/or urination
  • White lesions such as mucous membranes on the vaginal wall

Thrush can also be experienced by babies and people with suppressed immunity and it commonly presents itself as white, creamy lesions on the gums, tongue, lips and inside the mouth that are unable to be scraped off. Babies can experience nappy rash as well.

Many natural therapists believe that an overgrown candida can also cause more long-term health issues. Symptoms of this condition, referred to as chronic candidiasis, can include:
  • Abdominal pain such as diarrhoea or constipation, bloating and flatulence
  • Fatigue
  • Depression, irritability, lack of concentration and pre-menstrual syndrome
  • Recurring cystitis
  • Increased susceptibility to infections due to depleted immunity
  • Adverse reactions or a worsening of symptoms after eating certain foods or being exposed to certain chemicals.

Causes

Candida albicans is a yeast-like fungus that usually lives in balance with the other bacteria and yeasts that inhabit our skin and mucous membranes such as the mouth, bowels and genitals.

If this balance is upset then Candida can multiply rapidly and may result in an outbreak of thrush. Factors that may trigger Candida overgrowth include:
  • Antibiotic use
  • The oral contraceptive pill (especially high-oestrogen varieties)
  • Cortisone and other steroids
  • Drugs designed to suppress digestive acid secretions (e.g. proton pump inhibitors and H2-receptor antagonists)
  • Pregnancy and menstruation
  • Depleted immunity (e.g. HIV/AIDS)
  • Poor dietary habits (such as excessive intakes of sugars, dairy products or yeasts)
When the Candida albicans organism proliferates due to the factors above, or the lining of the digestive tract is damaged, allowing the organism to entrench itself in the gastrointestinal system, chronic candidiasis is believed to take hold.

Diet and lifestyle

There are some lifestyle considerations to take into account if you are experiencing the effects of Candida.
  • It's more likely to develop in warm, moist environments.
  • Avoid tight clothing, and wear cotton rather than nylon underwear
  • Avoid antibiotic use unless absolutely necessary
  • A diet free of yeast-containing foods (e.g. yeasted breads and yeast spreads), alcohol and sugar is recommended by natural therapists

What you eat can also be important too; garlic's antifungal properties have been noted above and raw garlic should be eaten liberally to assist the body in fighting the infection.

Because yoghurt contains live probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis it's also a valuable addition to your diet.

Give your immune system the support it needs by consuming a diet high in fibre that favours fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Important notes

  • Consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of thrush so they can rule out other conditions with similar symptoms or discuss what effect (if any) prescribed medicines may be having on your susceptibility to the condition
  • If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional
  • You should also seek medical advice if you're suffering from immuno-suppressive conditions

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Hi Theresa
I would recommend seeing your Dr regarding the skin marks you mention, as the cause could be many and varied. You may even require consultation with a dermatologist for diagnosis. For general skin health and support you may wish to consider zinc, vitamin E and vitamin C levels are adequate. Kind regards Emma Flett (Blackmores naturopath)
I have several tan/dark roundish marks that look like bruises ( but aren't) on my torso. I have been suffering and diagnosed with Candida...do these have anything to do with Candida?
Anonymous
Anonymous 24 Feb 2014
Hi Suzanne, thanks for the tip. Jen (Blackmores naturopath)
Another cause of Candida / Thrush is the glycerine in almost all personal lubricants use by Doctors for procedures and Women. I have insisted Doctors use a Glycerine free lubricant, that I also use myself. Astroglide has three good glycerine free lubricants. Check the contents of any lube you buy. Watch out for glycerine.
recurrent thrush - need to find answers - has anyone used boric acid? also this is a little out there - but has anyone heard makeup in particular revlon colourstay may be a contributing factor?
Anonymous
Anonymous 16 May 2013
Try not to take antibiotics, if you can help it. They will almost always cause a candida problem. Take a look at this neat little Youtube video I found http://youtu.be/CO8yAP42L7c
Anonymous
Anonymous 06 May 2013