Many people suffer from a strange, seemingly-unrelated group of symptoms that negatively affect their health, including fatigue, sinus infections and digestive issues. While each symptom may be related to a condition particular to one part of the body, many people miss how these symptoms are related: they are all caused by candida overgrowth.
Candida is a type of yeast that lives in small amounts within your body. It is one of the many organisms that grows within your gut to help digest food. However, like many fungi, candida has the ability to multiply quickly and spread if it is not kept in check. This overgrowth can lead to a condition called candidiasis, which comes with a myriad of symptoms.
Candida is one of the most common cause of fungal infections in the human body but is often difficult to diagnose because people experience symptoms in vastly different ways. Because candida overgrowth may occur in different places in the body, it can cause common conditions and symptoms, some of which may be chronic, in various places.
Common signs of candida
While there is a long list of symptoms candida has the potential to cause, there is a much shorter list of extremely common symptoms. People suffering from candida may experience one or a combination of these warning signs. If you believe the chronic symptoms you have may be caused by candida, speak to your doctor about getting tested:
- Yeast infections: A recurring vaginal yeast infection is often one of the tell-tale signs of candida in women. Yeast infections typically cause redness, swelling and itching of the genital area and can be cleared up with medication. If the infection returns, it’s typically due to candida spreading.
- Digestive issues: Since candida is present in your digestive system, it’s natural that overgrowth causes digestive problems. Candida will typically “take over” when good bacteria are not present, causing imbalances. Symptoms may include constipation, gas, bloating, cramps and diarrhea.
- Chronic fatigue: People with candida often complain of feeling constantly tired, despite how much rest they get. This is typically caused by nutritional deficiencies as a result of candida preventing adequate food breakdown.
- Brain fog: Candida produces by-product toxins like acetaldehyde, which are harmful to the body. Acetaldehyde can make you feel foggy and forgetful by causing vitamin deficiencies and blood cells to carry less oxygen to the brain.
- Thrush: Recurring oral thrush outbreaks are another tell-tale sign of candida overgrowth because the mouth and gut are so connected. Thrush will usually present itself as white, bumpy patches on the tongue, cheeks and throat, along with mouth and throat pain.
- Sinus infections: Sinus infections, usually categorized as causing nasal congestion, runny noses and headaches, might be caused by candida. Long-term sinus infections are believed to be fungal and can actually be made worse through antibiotics, which kill all the “good” bacteria, allowing candida to take over.
- Joint pain: Another by-product of candida is uric acid, which can lead to gout and painful arthritis in the joints, particularly the hips and knees.
Kicking candida to the curb
If you test positive for candida overgrowth or you believe candida is to blame for your poor health symptoms, there are a few ways to manage your chronic symptoms. The best way to fix the problem of candidiasis is to identify and solve the underlying cause, whether that is prolonged use of antibiotics, high stress or a poor diet. As there are many symptoms, there are also numerous causes of candida, including:
- Antibiotic overuse
- High-sugar diet
- High alcohol intake
- High stress
- Weakened immune system
A poor diet filled with sugar intake is one of the major causes, due to its direct effect on the balance of bacteria and fungi in the digestive system. Eating a diet that is high in refined sugars, carbohydrates and some high-lactose dairy products can cause overgrowth of candida if it occurs long-term. However, some foods are beneficial for staving off candida overgrowth, including garlic, coconut oil, pomegranate and aloe vera.
Refining your diet to include these candida-fighting foods and cutting as much sugar as possible may help regulate your gut bacteria and get the candida growth under control.
Unfortunately, changing your diet may not be enough, and you may require the help of some other methods to get rid of candida.
Probiotics can help replenish the healthy gut bacteria and create a better balance within your intestines so good bacteria can fight off the overgrowth. Probiotics are a good supplement to a well-rounded diet.
In other cases where changing the diet will not work, antifungal drugs may be necessary to fix the issue. These might need to be prescribed by your doctor, so speak to a medical professional about your health concerns and get tested for overgrowth before taking any medication.
The symptoms of candida can become chronic if not treated, which is the case with many people suffering from the fungal growth. Fortunately, once the issue is discovered and treated, candida symptoms will typically go away and leave you healthy.