I have a candida overgrowth!
I know… you’re probably thinking: “WTF, why would anyone be excited about that?” Well, after years and years of searching for answers, I finally feel like things are starting to make sense. Hopefully!
Ok, so I was a little hesitant to share this news on the blog and social media because of what people might think (and say). I mean, candida is a yeast overgrowth. It sounds pretty gross. But even if one person can benefit from this information, it’s worth it. Plus, I know there are readers and followers who are lost and struggling with their health, so this could possibly be an avenue to explore. Candida issues are actually really common. Obviously, I’m not a doctor, but if any of this sounds familiar, please chat with your appropriate health professional.
Let’s start with the basics…
All sorts of fungi live in and on the human body, including yeasts known as candida. Candida is typically found in small amounts in the mouth, intestines, and on the skin. At normal levels, it’s not a problem and most people have some candida in their system. However, when Candida begins to grow uncontrollably, it can causes all sorts of health issues. Typically, the healthy bacteria in your body keep candida levels under control. But if healthy bacteria levels are disrupted or the immune system is compromised (aka autoimmune diseases), candida can begin to overproduce.
Here are some factors that can lead to candida overgrowth:
- Taking antibiotics – I took antibiotics 4 times in 2008 and another 2 times (strong ones) in 2019 as well as a ton of them as a kid and teenager (acne meds)
- Taking oral contraceptives – I took them for 15 years before getting pregnant.
- A weakened immune system – Yep, thanks to UC and the various drugs I’ve been on over the years.
- Using steroids – I was on and off Prednisone for 2 years.
- High alcohol intake – I wouldn’t say high, but I like(d) to have a few glasses of wine each week.
- Eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbs – I mean, I like dessert.
- High stress levels – 2017 and 2018 were rough years for me.
Common candida symptoms (from Dr. Amy Meyers):
- Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus
- Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and/or brain fog
- Skin issues including eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
Can you relate to the risk factors and symptoms above? I’ve experienced some of the symptoms, and I basically checked all of the boxes for risk factors, so I guess you could say I’m not all that surprised by my diagnosis.
The test that my functional practitioner recommended was the “Candidiasis FingerStick” from Alletess Medical Labs. It measures various candida antibodies in your blood (IgM, IgA, IgG), which may suggest overgrowth. This overgrowth could be of digestive, respiratory (i.e. my gross cough), nasal, oral, genital, or urinary tract origin. There are other tests available as well as the DIY “spit test.”
So, now my basic treatment plan looks like this: