Candidiasis, or Candida albicans is the most prominent fungal infection and it is commonly associated with both acute and chronic diseases. All fungal infections grow better when the immune system is weaker. Aging individuals tend to have weaker immune systems, accounting for the higher rate of fungal infections with increased age. Candida is a yeast infestation that begins in the digestive system. It is a strong, invasive fungus that attaches to the intestinal wall and can spread to other areas of the body (sinuses, ears, reproductive tract). Candida overgrowth has been shown to cause symptoms in nearly every body system with the most noted symptoms arising from the gastrointestinal, genitourinary, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems.
|Causes||Dietary Factors, Antibiotics, Heavy Metals, Stress|
|See Also||Infections / Allergies / Sensitivities, Women's Health, Insulin Resistance|
|Books||Books on Infections, Allergies, Intolerances|
|Articles||Articles on Infections / Allergies / Sensitivities|
- 1 Naturopathic Assessment
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Naturopathic Treatment
- 4 References
|Check out this book||Conquer Candida and Restore Your Immune System: A Guide to the Naturopathic Science of Healing|
In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. Candida is found in virtually all normal, healthy individuals but causes problems when overgrowth occurs. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to the fungal overgrowth and Candida infection.
- Douching increases the risk of vulvovaginal candidiasis.
- Sexual Practices
- Environmental toxins can increase the likelihood of candida and can impede the healing from Candida infections.
- Heavy metal exposure to mercury and an intestinal C. albicans overgrowth, leads to a much higher chance of developing symptoms of mercury toxicity. This is because C albicans converts elemental mercury into methyl mercury in the intestines, and while only approximately 5% of elemental mercury is retained in the body (the rest is evacuated in the feces), approximately 95% of methyl mercury is retained in the body. Thus, when a person has both an intestinal overgrowth of C albicans, and mercury amalgam fillings they are much more likely to develop mercury toxicity.
- Prescription Medications
|Article||The Pathogenesis of Candida albicans in Andropausal Hormonal balance , NDNR , 2011 November|
- Medical Treatments
- Therapies that suppress the immune system can predispose individuals to candida overgrowth.
A case taking and physical examination by a knowledgeable health care practitioner is the best tool for evaluating the likelihood of identifying a candida related condition. Specific diagnostic tests that may be helpful include:
|Article||Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, NDNR; 2013 January|
- Comprehensive Stool and Digestive analysis (CDSA) to differentiate between leaky gut syndrome, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and candida overgrowth.
- Antibody and Antigen levels can help to confirm candida levels.
In the case of a classic vaginal yeast infection presentation, the following testing is indicated:
- Pelvic examination
- Wet mount microscopic KOH test
Related Symptoms and Conditions
Candida infection is associated with a number of conditions such as:
|Article||Candidiasis and dysbiosis in children with autistic spectrum disorders: Assessment and treatment strategies, IHP, Dec/Jan 2009|
- Type II Diabetes
- Insulin resistance
- Heart attacks
- Kidney Disease
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Decreased immune function
- Yeast Infection (Vulvovaginal Candidiasis)
- Popular use of the term yeast infection typically refers to a vulvovaginal candidiasis. This condition involves yeast overgrowth in the vulvovaginal area, typically presenting with a cottage cheese-like discharge, vaginal soreness, vulvar swelling, dysuria, and itching. Despite the local nature of the symptoms in vulvovaginal candidiasis, there is evidence that candida colonization of the large intestine is associated with recurrent infection and needs to be addressed in order to prevent chronic flare ups. Symptoms may be the direct result of overgrowth, or may be attributed to hypersensitivity to candida.
- General Candida Overgrowth
- After tissues are infected by candida, they commonly respond by becoming overactive, resulting in an increased production of tissue products and local inflammation. For example, when the liver is infected, it creates more cholesterol; the pancrease produces more insulin, leading to obesity; the adrenal gland, which is two glands in one, may produce a variety of hormones, such as adrenalin and norepinephrine which can result in insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, high blood pressure etc. After a period of overactivity, the affected tissues become exhausted, resulting in chronic under-functioning.
Common symptoms of candida overgrowth include:
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Candida is considered both an acute and chronic disease, depending on the individual.
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
Home Care strategies include:
- Focus on Prevention
- Eliminate the use of antibiotics, steroids, immune-suppressing drugs, and birth control pills (unless there is absolute medical necessity).
- Avoid tight fitting clothing and pantyhose.
- Use condoms to maintain normal vaginal pH and prevent all types of vaginitis.
- Determine if you have allergies to any of the following: food, pollen, clothing detergent, semen. This is especially important in recurrent cases.
Lifestyle recommendations include:
- Do not eat foods high in sugar or simple carbohydrates.
- Do not eat foods with a high content of yeast or mold, including alcoholic beverages, cheeses, dried fruits, melons, peanuts and fermented foods.
- Reduce or avoid milk and milk products because of their high content of lactose (milk sugar) and trace levels of antibiotics, however 8 oz of unsweetened acidophilus yogurt daily can be beneficial.
- Avoid all known or suspected food allergies and food intolerances.
- Increase dietary intake of garlic.
- increase raw vegetables, whole grains and the following fruits: apples, blueberries, cherries, pears and berries.
- Ensure you drink adequate water.
- Smoking Cessation
- Candidiasis is yet one more reason to stop smoking.
- An exercise regimen aimed at achieving a healthy BMI can help to prevent recurrence of candida infection.
- Relaxation and stress reduction techniques, including yoga, guided imagery, and self hypnosis may improve immune status in patients under high levels of stress.
Naturopathic Therapies for Candidiasis include:
- Vegetables, Roots, Nuts & Gourds such as onion.
- Clinical Nutritional Supplementation includes
- Vitamins such as intravaginal vitamin A, vitamin C, and topical or intravaginal vitamin E., B Complex, folic acid
- Minerals such as iron, selenium, zinc,
- Other supplements such as Flaxseed oil, Acidophilus, probiotics, water soluble dietary fibre, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Omega-6 Fatty Acids, Betaine HCL, caprylic acid, boric acid suppositories.
- Herbs such as Thymus extract, Garlic (Allium sativum), Oregano (Origanum vulgare) Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), or emulsified Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) or Calendula (Calendula officinalis) ointment used externally. Other herbs include: Oregano (Origanum vulgare), Pau D'Arco (Tabebuia avellanedae), Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)
- According to TCM theory, Candidiasis can be caused by the following: Blood deficiency, Damp heat in the lower burner and liver channel, Lung and kidney qi deficiency, Liver qi stagnation, or Damp and phlegm in the middle burner.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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