Yeast overgrowth. Candida. Thrush. It comes by many names. Though it may not be the most comfortable thing to talk about, as research reveals that an estimated 70% of people are affected in some way by this systemic fungal infection, there is cause to talk about this problem.
Have you ever dealt with a yeast infection yourself? Chances are you have, or know someone who has. For women, it is said that the majority of females (75%) will experience at least one instance of being diagnosed with a vaginal yeast infection. It can be uncomfortable, painful and sometimes embarrassing when we are dealing with our sensitive and intimate areas. This is why so many people – and women in particular – are seeking answers. Not just for how to treat in a natural and effective way, but also how to prevent this condition from occurring.
We’ve delved into the research on how this condition is created in our bodies, the implications for our health, and the most well known, proven ways to treat this condition naturally.
What is Candida?
Candida is a form of yeast overgrowth in the body. Yeast overgrowth is a very big topic among naturopathy, with many people suffering from this persistent condition seeking herbal, at home remedies. Usually a naturally occurring, benign yeast present in the gastrointestinal tract, the overgrowth of Candida Albicans can lead to uncomfortable and even debilitating symptoms.
People suffering from Candida problems may experience some of the following symptoms:
– Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and other digestive complications.
– Brain fog and mood disorders.
– Migraine and chronic fatigue.
– Skin problems such as eczema and acne.
– Food sensitivities and weight gain.
What Causes Candida Overgrowth?
The number one cause of Candida Overgrowth in the body at present is the use of antibiotics (usually for a long period of time), which disrupts the natural balance of bacteria in the gut. Other causes include the use of birth control, digestive disorders and other illnesses/allergies, stress and immunity depletion and poor diet.
Candida can affect the skin and mucous membranes, as well as body cavities such as the mouth, genitals and sometimes even the lips, ears and eyelids.
Candida thrives in warm, moist areas, which is why the most common forms of Candida that is often experienced are Oral Thrush and Vaginal Yeast Infections. Oral Thrush is characterised by yeast overgrowth in the mouth, with a creamy white coating or patches on the tongue especially. Vaginal Yeast Infections usually come with itching, burning, and white, thick discharge.
If you have proper immune functioning, there is little risk of the overgrowth turning serious. If the immune system is depleted however, especially due to stress, or other illnesses affecting the body, then it can migrate to greater regions in the body, such traveling via the blood to around the heart and brain membranes, affecting the entire health of your system.
Left unchecked, candida overgrowth breaks down the intestinal walls and lining, absorbs into the bloodstream and creates heavy instances of toxins and by-products into the body. This is where gastrointestinal disorders can become chronic and severe, such as leaky gut syndrome. People may also experience reactions to the yeast overgrowth leading to the development of rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and kidney dysfunction.
How to Clear Candida – A Holistic Approach
A general guideline to follow when you are looking to clear up candida overgrowth at home, is to support yourself through a proper detox with herbs and diet cleanses.
The first stage is all about starving the yeast through diet. This means limiting/eliminating sugars that the yeast feeds on. It’s suggested to have no fruit for a few weeks, and then implement back in first with low-glycemic choices slowly. The sugar lactose in milk is also candida feeding, so no diary is also suggested. Avoid alcohol and peanuts and support the body through its elimination with high fiber, green, fresh foods.
The second stage is all about killing the overgrowth, and clearing up with potent anti-fungals. As candida is a yeast overgrowth, often termed as a fungal infection, this is where the herbal remedies come into play. Below we have listed some tips to use these remedies at home to help the cleanse process.
The third stage is to support the body through creating a healthy colon and digestive environment so that the balance of bacteria can populate back to a healthy level. Probiotics are recommended here to take daily. You can find a vast range of probiotic liquids and capsules, and we advise speaking to a natural health care provider for the best choice for you. Probiotic rich foods contain healthy doses of microflora, which protects the intestines. These include fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.
Natural Herbal Anti-fungals and Antimicrobials to Clear Up Candida Infections
This high content of sulfur compounds give garlic a strong natural anti-fungal property.
Eat regularly with your meals. Take raw cloves on their own to treat internally.
For those who can’t handle the taste, supplements can also be taken.
The primary medium chain fatty acids, Caproic acid, capric acid, caprylic acid and lauric acid are found in high concentrations in coconut oil.
In studies of oral administered treatment for Candidasis in Mice, results showed that all four fatty acids (especially capric acid) support candida treatment. Even at low concentrations, caprice and caprylic acid inhibited candida growth. To get some of these fatty acids in your diet, get some high quality organic coconut oil, apply to affected area up to 4 times a day. You can also ingest by taking a tablespoon of raw coconut oil each day for a few weeks.
This oil is one of the most potent natural oils used to treat candida. The compound Carvacrol, found in oregano oil inhibits the growth of candida yeast.
Mix with carrier oil and apply to affected area (however, not on the vulva region, as it is very sensitive).
You can also ingest the oil mixing a few drops in a bottle of water and sipping throughout the day.
There are also oregano capsules, which are suggested to take twice a day after meals.
Tea Tree oil
Tea Tree oil has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, much like oregano oil.
Apply several drops to a tampon and insert for a few hours to treat internal vaginal yeast infections.
Mix with carrier oil and apply to affected area (use sparingly on vulva region).
For oral thrush conditions, gargle in water (do not swallow) a few times a day.
This herb is a potent anti-fungal which also contains an active ingredient called Oleuropein, which works to stimulate and boost the immune system.
This herb is taken for treatment of yeast infections, and also as a preventative against them.
You can make Olive Leaf tea by boiling 2 tablespoons of the fresh herb in large teapot. Drink multiple cups a day.
Many people also take the extract in liquid, or capsule form.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a well-known treatment for yeast overgrowth. The fermentation of ACV makes it is prebiotic which feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut. It can be taken internally, or even used topically for fungal skin infections.
Take 1 tablespoon in a glass of water and sip before each meal.
You can also use topically by placing a cup in a hot bath and soaking your body.
Milk Thistle: Cleanse and Support
Milk thistle supplements work as a liver cleanser, which can cleanse from medications that often cause the overgrowth (such as antibiotics, birth control and steroids). Heavy metals and pollution can often build up in the system, so cleansing the liver will also help the body get back on track in healthy immune functioning, necessary to support candida cleansing. Talk to your natural health care provider to determine how best to take Milk Thistle.
Don’t Fear the Die Off
If you are suffering from yeast overgrowth, and begin to cleanse your system of Candida with diet and through anti-fungals, you may experience what it termed as the ‘Die-off’. The detox reaction can be discouraging, and feel as if your condition is becoming worse before it becomes better. Though after several days (or often, weeks), this feeling subsides and there is a light, refreshed feeling. Digestion changes will occur as the body heals from the overgrowth, so elimination may feel uncomfortable or not regular. Fatigue, flu symptoms, headaches, fever, dizziness and skin breakouts may all be due to die-off reactions. When a feeling of balance and freshness begins to return, there’s an added sense of energy and focus beyond what you may have felt in a long time!
Where to go from here?
Once you have spoken to your natural health care provider, and decided on which mode of treatment will work best for cleansing your Candida, it is necessary to stick to it. Some people may be discouraged by the die off symptoms, and after a week or so abandon the diet or anti-fungals, which is not giving your body adequate time to rid itself of the overgrowth. Stick to your remedy for at least a few weeks.
Once you feel clear (you can test at the doctors for yeast overgrowth), then it is important to maintain a healthy diet and upkeep in your system so that you prevent it from coming back. An abundance of fresh, green foods, and limiting sugar and alcohol is key. Taking preventative anti-fungals and having a diet (or taking supplements) rich is probiotics is also important. Have you had candida affect your health in the past? What did you do to treat your own condition? Let us know in the comments below.
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