Candida refers to a type of yeast that proliferates in the environment. These organisms can be found in foods such as cheese and bread, in drinks and beverages such as fruit juices, wine or beer, in our carpeting, in books, in bathrooms, in moist warm rooms, in our clothing and in the air. Most important of all, Candida microorganisms also reside in our bodies more specifically, in our digestive tracts, mucous membranes and on our nails and skin.
There are so many types of yeasts that can be found in the environment but only the Candida family has the power to cause health issues on humans. This is especially true with Candida Albicans. This yeast is the most infectious strain of yeast and it rapidly multiples and uses our mucus membranes as its own colony.
Even at birth a lot of us have already been colonized as we pass through our mother’s birth canal, the Candida fungus, however, is usually benign under normal circumstances and is kept in check by beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Besides suppressing Candida, these “good” bacteria can also inhbit the growth of other harmful microorganisms. Bifido Bacterium and Lactobacilli Acidophilus are two of these “good” types of bacteria.
The term Candidiasis refers to a condition in which the intestinal tract of a person suffers from an overgrowth of yeast. The yeast can transform to a mycelia organism with root-like growths under certain conditions in the body. These mycelial yeasts can go through the intestinal walls while searching for food and enter the bloodstream where they dump toxic waste products during their process of reproduction. And because of the intestinal wall damage, they cause the toxins such as ammonia, alcohols, and undigested proteins from the bowels to seep into the bloodstream. These toxins lead to the dysfunction of some of the systems of our body.
Both sexes and all age groups can be affected by Candidiasis. A woman’s reproductive organ and hormones make her Candidiasis infection produce more symptoms than men.
The first body systems affected by Candidiasis are the uro-genital tract and the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the symptoms that may appear include prostatitis, kidney infections, vaginal infections, chronic bladder infections, inability to digest food, diarrhea, severe constipation, flatulence, gastritis, colitis, heartburn, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Allergy symptoms may also be experienced by Candidiasis sufferers as the toxic materials travel through the circulatory system triggering autoimmune responses from the body. Some of these symptoms include chemical and food sensitivities, acne, eczema, coughs, asthma, hives, chronic ear infections, sinusitis, and hay fever.
The yeast overgrowth can soon affect the central nervous system leading to tingling and numbness of the extremities, joint stiffness and pain, libido loss, mental faculty deterioration, irritability, and fatigue. Candidiasis can also amplify any existing gland and organ problems causing issues such as miscarriages, infertility, endometriosis, depression, PMS, menstrual irregularities, hypoglycemia, diabetes, and adrenal and thyroid disorders.
Patients suffering from these myriad of symptoms usually need to consult with different medical specialists including psychiatrists, endocrinologists, gynecologists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, and allergists.
There are people who are highly predisposed to Candidiasis. People with a weak immune system are quite prone to this condition. Also prone are people who have undergone multiple operations and chemotherapy, as well as those who have been exposed to chemicals, people who often eat foods made up of mold and yeast derivatives, refined carbohydrates, people who take cortisone and other types of steroids, those who use often antibiotics and those taking birth control pills.
For people wanting to try traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment for their Candidiasis should consult with a practitioner who specializes or has wide experience in treating the condition. These days, diagnostic tools such as stool cultures and blood tests now can be performed to see if Candidiasis is indeed the condition affecting a persons’ health. The practitioner should get to know the medical history of the patient (i.e., if he/she often takes steroids, birth control pills, antibiotics, etc.) The symptoms are also important to the diagnosis. If, for example, a woman states that she suffers from chronic vaginal infections, abdominal bloating and pain, chemical and food sensitivities, and says she has extreme food and chemical sensitivities, then chances are that a Candidiasis infection is contributing to her condition.
The boosting of the immune system is one of the most important goals of Candidiasis treatment. There are some Candidiasis patients who have low amounts of folic acid, and vitamin B12. They also are deficient in zinc. For these kinds of deficiencies, practitioners recommend fish oil and primrose oil and other essential fatty acids as well as vitamins B12, A and C to augment their deficiencies. Adrenal and thyroid function should also be examined. Several Candidiasis patients also manifest hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia. Moreover, they are often plagued with parasitic infections. All of these issues need to be tackled along with the Candidiasis treatment itself.
Modifications in diet are keys to treating Candidiasis. Foods made from yeast, foods containing vinegar, smoked and fermented foods, dairy products, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and sugar should be avoided and substituted with vegetables and foods rich in complex carbohydrates, and proteins.
A Candidiasis patient can also use several natural products that can kill yeast without the side effects of conventional pharmaceutical products. Products containing grapefruit seed extract, berberine sulfate, undecylenic acid, and caprylic acid can be very effective for those who can tolerate them. Effective as well for killing yeast are antifungal herbal preparations such as white oak bark, phellodendron, coptis, astralagus, clove, pau d’arco, garlic, uva rsi, goldenseal, and oregano oil. Of the utmost importance is the need for good bacteria such as Bifido Bacterium and Lactobacilli Acidophilus to thrive once more in the intestinal tract. Products that can make this happen are now widely available in the market.
Acupuncturists and TCM practitioners see Candidiasis as mainly a pattern of Spleen Deficiency complicated by dampness that exhibits as cold extremities, chilliness, fatigue, foggy thinking or heavy sensation in the head, heavy limbs, constipation or diarrhea, abdominal bloating or gas, and appetite loss. Usually a Liver Heat pattern also exists resulting in irritability, constipation, insomnia, PMS, and migraines. If Liver Qi Stagnation occurs, symptoms such as heartburn, menstrual cramps, stomach pain, depression, and mood swings may be felt. If Kidney Deficiency is diagnosed, it often creates a lot of illnesses including poor memory, tinnitus, vision problems, dizziness, edema, infertility, and frequent urination.
For the treatment of Candidiasis, acupuncture can be a very powerful treatment that can clear Liver Heat, Spleen Dampness and fortify the kidneys and the spleen. This ancient healing modality is also quite potent in strengthening the immune system which is important when treating a Candidiasis sufferer. Acupuncture together with dietary modifications and the use of antifungal products can be a very successful plan of treatment for completely curing Candidiasis.