Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, that naturally occurs in small amounts on your skin and nails, in your mucous membranes, and more abundantly in your digestive tract. There are many strains of yeast, yet Candida Albicans is the most infectious strain. In small amounts, it helps with digestion and nutrient absorption. However, a Candida overgrowth can cause a wide range of symptoms.
When there is an overgrowth of Candida, the fungus attacks the walls of the intestines, causing increased gut permeability or “leaky gut.” In addition to the leaking of undigested food molecules, which triggers unnecessary immune responses, the yeast can then travel into the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts that contribute to negative symptomatology.
What causes a Candida Overgrowth?
Normally, the “good” bacteria in your gut keep the levels of Candida in check. However, numerous factors can contribute to an overgrowth:
- eating processed and/or packaged foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars, which feed the yeast
- excessive alcohol consumption
- Antibiotics that destroyed too many of the good bacteria in the gut
- depleted immune system, which allows the yeast to take over
- high amounts of stress (mental, physical, emotional, etc.), which raise the acidity of the body and allow the candida to thrive
- underlying conditions that allow yeast to flourish, such as heavy metal toxicity, parasites, mold, or bacterial overgrowth
- delayed gut motility, which allows food to ferment and feeds the Candida
Symptoms may include:
- Unexplained fatigue and feelings of “heaviness”
- difficulty concentrating; brain fog
- Decreased libido
- Thrush; puffy or thick coating on tongue
- Bloating/gas/intestinal cramping
- diarrhea and/or constipation
- Rectal itching/altered bowel function
- Bladder infections
- strong cravings for sugar and carbohydrates
- Menstrual irregularities
- Mood disorders: Depression, anxiety, panic attacks
- Allergies or food intolerances/chemical sensitivities/low immune function
Testing for Candida
Blood, urine, and stool testing performed by your doctor may indicate a Candida overgrowth. However, these tests are often unreliable and show false negatives. Therefore, looking at your symptoms and how you’re feeling is the most reliable way to determine if you have a yeast overgrowth.
While western medicine typically uses antifungal medications such as Diflucan or Nystatin, these are only temporary fixes. In fact, these drugs may cause other side effects or even the creation of drug resistant strains of yeast. Chinese herbs and acupuncture can effectively target Candidiasis without the nasty side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs. Acupuncture enhances the immune system, which is a critical component of successfully targeting Candida and helping prevent the recurrence of an overgrowth. In addition, acupuncture can enhance gut motility, which decreases the likelihood of food fermenting in the gut and feeding the yeast.
In conjunction with herbs and acupuncture, successfully lowering the Candida load often requires a change in diet. Eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates literally starves the yeast, allowing your body to restore balance. In addition, restoring healthy gut bacteria to keep the yeast in check and healing the gut lining to prevent the Candida from traveling through the bloodstream helps the body to heal itself.
The combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional & probiotic supplements can help to successfully eradicate the Candidiasis and alleviate your symptoms. Your treatment plan will be individualized to meet your needs and current lifestyle.