About Candida Overgrowth
A decade ago if someone said they think they have Candida the doctor would look at them like they were crazy – the typical response would be: “only AIDS patients or cancer patients with compromised immune systems could have Candida.” But at Mitchell Medical Group, we have been diagnosing Candida overgrowth for over two decades.
Candida is an overgrowth of yeast that affects millions of people, many of whom are unaware of the cause of their symptoms. In fact, it is estimated that one in three people suffer from yeast overgrowth and candida.
If you are experiencing chronic symptoms ranging from intestinal discomfort to fatigue, but your doctor is at a loss to explain the reason, candida overgrowth could be to blame.
We recognized what is now commonly accepted science: that a disruption in the proper balance of our good and bad bacteria (our microbiome) has led to a plethora of medical symptoms that have affected patients and confused physicians.
Dr. Dean Mitchell Specializes in Diagnosing and Treating Candida
Candida syndrome (also commonly called candida albicans, candida yeast syndrome, or chronic candidiasis) is a yeast overgrowth that can lead to several severe symptoms, including gas and bloating skin abnormalities, muscle aches, and even psychological symptoms such as mood swings and lapses in attention. Due to its large number of diverse symptoms, candida syndrome is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions in the world, with many treatments unsuccessfully targeting symptoms rather than the underlying cause. At Mitchell Medical Group, we use our over 25 years of experience to diligently diagnose cases of candida syndrome and provide a holistic, dietary approach to treating it at its source.
What Is Candida Syndrome?
Candida is a yeast fungus that normally exists in small amounts in your mouth and intestines, where it aids in digestion, but when the levels increase, it can become systemically damaging.
Candida syndrome is caused by an overgrowth of the candida albicans yeast that lives naturally inside the human stomach, vaginal tract, mouth, and skin. In its natural amounts, the Candida albicans yeast is harmless, but in an overgrowth, it can cause serious illness and other gastrointestinal issues. Candida overgrowth can attack any organ or system in your body relentlessly 24 hours a day. Eventually, it can change into a pathogenic fungus with roots that cause a myriad of symptoms.
High levels of candida can leak from the intestines into the bloodstream, causing a series of uncomfortable symptoms that can have long-term health implications.
Overgrowth is caused by the introduction of a foreign chemical into a patient’s body. Steroids, antibiotics, and alcohol have all been known to cause candida syndrome. Other causes include birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapy, acute and chronic stress, recreational drugs, chemotherapy, and a poor diet. Symptoms of candida syndrome include recurrent oral thrush, gas and bloating, itchy skin and other skin abnormalities, vaginitis, allergies, muscle aches, and more.
Check out our helpful infographic, Candida Overgrowth: Symptoms, Stages and Solutions.
Risk Factors for Developing Candida Overgrowth
The most common causes of candida overgrowth include:
- Prescription medications such as antibitiotics
- High stress lifestyle
- Oral contraceptives
- Dietary choices such as eating a lot of refined sugars and carbohydrates
- Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
- Oral corticosteroids
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Acute and chronic hronic stress
- Fermented foods
- Estrogen replacement therapy
- Birth control pills
- Recreational drugs
Once an imbalance occurs, the yeast continues to multiply as it is fed by any type of sugar such as the sugar found in alcohol, desserts, white flour, dairy products. Mild to severe health conditions can appear after a few years if left untreated.
Does Diet Play a Role in Candida Overgrowth
Yes, an unhealthy diet can contribute to yeast overgrowth in the body. Yeast thrives in the presence of diets high in:
- Refined sugars
- Refined carbohydrates
- Dairy products
- Processed foods
- Dairy products
New data are shows that most of us on Western diets have different microbes than populations that are from rural backgrounds, such as Africa and Amerindians in Venezuela. These differences may eventually explain why chronic diseases such as allergies and autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in our culture.
Poor food choices can lead to candida overproduction. A big contributor to candida overgrowth is a diet high in sugary or yeasty foods such as bread and dairy (which contains lactose).
If you have gastrointestinal problems, including bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel, your candida overgrowth may be linked to your diet.
Watch out for sugar cravings as they can be a sign of candida. Many people feel a sudden and unexplained desire for refined carbohydrates, including pasta, cookies, cakes, and bread. However, other sugar cravings, including soda, fruit, honey, and other sweets, are just as problematic. While there is nothing wrong with occasionally wanting dessert, severe sugar and carbohydrate cravings may be symptomatic of candida overgrowth.
Many also seek candida treatment for yeast overgrowth caused by drinking alcohol. Remember, most alcohol is a by-product of yeast. That means excessive alcohol use can create excessive candida. If you drink frequently, you may be inadvertently killing off friendly bacteria. If you exhibit candida symptoms, you should stop drinking immediately.
Antibiotics, Prescription Medications and Candida
While there are more than 12 causes of candida overgrowth, prescription medication such as antibiotics is a common culprit. The majority of patients seek treatment for candida because antibiotics have caused immune imbalances.
Numerous times we have seen at Mitchell Medical Group women who have come in with severe vaginitis due to candida immediately following a course on antibiotics. The connection is clear that the antibiotics in eradicating a bacterial infection, whether in the throat or chest, also cleared out the “good” bacteria in the intestines. This imbalance sets the environment for Candida (yeast) to overgrow in the body.
Candida typically occurs in patients that have been given multiple doses of antibiotics for varied conditions such as acne, sinusitis and any type of chronic infection. The chronic use of antibiotics changes your microbiome by allowing candida to overgrow in your system. As a result, this normally beneficial yeast becomes harmful to the body.
The same thing can occur after being on oral corticosteroids for asthma or arthritis as many different kinds of drugs can alter the immune system and gastrointestinal tract.
Candida is associated with birth control use. Unlike antibiotics, birth control itself does not stimulate yeast growth. However, if you have taken antibiotics, regularly eat refined sugar, and have also taken birth control for many years, birth control can significantly increase the level of yeast in your body. Eventually, you can wind up with a candida infection. If you believe your symptoms are associated with birth control, talk to your holistic doctor about your other options for contraception.
Issues with your immune system may also drive you to seek candida treatment. Candida is associated with many different ailments, including cancer and diabetes. With diabetics, sugar levels can skyrocket. Candida yeast feeds on sugar, which is why diabetics may be more likely to suffer from candida overgrowth. While cancer itself does not cause yeast to grow, cancer treatments may. Finally, anyone with a weaker immune system is more likely to develop candida.
Symptoms of Candida
- Yeast infections
- Skin rashes
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Unexplained fatigue
- Poor concentration
- Sinus infections
- Athelete’s foot
- Irritiable bowel syndrome
- Gas and/or bloating
- Arthritic pain
- High and low blood sugar
Most symptoms can be categorized as gut symptoms, vaginal symptoms, cognitive impairment symptoms, and chronic fatigue symptoms. Candida overgrowth causes a cascade of imbalances in the body and can lead to serious health issues if the balance in the body is not restored.
How Do You Test for Candida Overgrowth?
Because of the diverse number of symptoms most traditional doctors misdiagnose candida. Candida can manifest as irritable bowel symptoms such as:
It can also manifest as chronic fatigue or mimic numerous other neurosensory diseases which makes it difficult for most doctors to identify and diagnose.
Women and men can come with different presentations: for women, the vaginitis or cystitis can be the predominant problem. In others, it can be the digestive tract with symptoms such as bloating, constipation and abnormal stool. In men or women, certain fungal rashes anywhere on the body can indicate Candida. Toenails are another area where fungus can thrive and show a person’s vulnerability.
By the time most patients come to Mitchell Medical Group, they have seen multiple traditional doctors such as gastroenterologists, neurologists, rheumatologists, endocrinologists and gynecologists – the majority of which can’t accurately identify and diagnose candida overgrowth.
Is Candida Overgrowth Common? Is It Even a Real Thing?
About 1 in 3 people suffer from yeast-related symptoms or conditions which means yeast overgrowth, candida, affects millions of people and it is a very real condition. Most people only associate candida with vaginal yeast infections but it’s much more. Considering that mainstream Western medicine protocols, poor diets, and stress overload, all major contributing factors to yeast overgrowth, it is no wonder that yeast overgrowth affects millions of Americans.
Does Candida Overgrowth Cause Weight Loss?
Candida yeast overgrowth indirectly impacts the ability of the endocrine system to function correctly. This system is responsible for releasing hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic activity. When these glands do not function correctly low blood sugar, diabetes and obesity can occur. Candida overgrowth typically does not result in weight loss. In fact, in many cases, it makes it difficult to lose weight because your endocrine system is not functioning optimally. Once you eradicate candida the weight should drop easily.
How is Candida Syndrome Treated?
Since candida syndrome is first and foremost a yeast growth, the most effective candida treatments will work to limit yeast production and kill off existing candida albicans within the body until it returns to normal yeast levels. At Mitchell Medical Group, our medical team advises strong dietary restrictions heavy on foods that will not allow the yeast to grow. That way, your body’s candida albicans levels will return to normal over time, curing candida syndrome.
Steps to Our Treatment
- We educate patients on the proper diet to “starve” off the candida yeast
- We use antifungal medications to further eradicate the yeast to non-toxic levels
- We use anti-candida immunotherapy (a unique treatment that is only offered at our practice) to build up your body’s immunity to candida which helps keep the candida in check even if you need to take antibiotics or other medications that might cause a flair
When you start the candida treatment some patients experience worsening symptoms called candida die-off before they start feeling better. This is can be frustrating but it is doesn’t mean the treatment protocol isn’t working. It actually indicates that you are on the right track.
Holistic Treatment at Mitchell Medical Group
Since candida syndrome has a wide range of diverse symptoms, many medical professionals are tempted to either misdiagnose the condition altogether or treat only its symptoms — or both. At Mitchell Medical Group, we work diligently to both diagnose candida syndrome and provide a holistic treatment plan that will not only cure your condition over time but improve your health overall. We invite you to visit our Candida Diet page to learn more about the candida diet and its benefits.