Digestive Health - Candidiasis

Candidiasis is the result of a fungal overgrowth of yeast, also known as Candida. Small amounts of yeast may be normally present in the skin, mouth and GI tract. However, high levels of yeast can contribute to various skin conditions or rashes, vaginal symptoms, and several inflammatory diseases of the GI tract.

There are many types of Candida that can cause an infection, with Candida albicans being the most common species causing human infections. The use of antibiotics, prolonged duration of antibiotics, diabetics and those who are immunocompromised are all factors that increase the risk of yeast infections.

Yeast infections can contribute to many symptoms including:
• Fatigue
• Headache
• Poor memory, brain fog
• Skin rashes
• Vaginal symptoms (itchiness, discharge)
• Gas, bloating
• Diarrhea
In addition to symptoms, yeast infections can exacerbate GI diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease and SIBO.

Anti-fungal medications are often prescribed in cases of yeast infections. Although they may be effective at managing some symptoms, they may not completely clear the infection and/or may not prevent the infection from returning. Naturopathic Doctors aim to address the underlying causes and reasons for why the yeast infection developed in the first place and recommend a treatment approach that can alleviate symptoms and prevent future recurrence.
Some considerations to addressing yeast infections are:
• Eradicate yeast using natural anti-fungals and decreasing biofilms.
• Decreasing the yeast’s food source – yeast are known to feed on sugars and decreasing sugar consumption along with helping the body manage blood sugar levels can shorten the yeast’s life cycle.
• Improving the gut flora – eliminating yeast and bad bacteria residing along the GI tract and improving healthy gut bacteria can support a healthy gut environment.
• Minimizing leaky gut – a leaky gut promotes the growth of yeast in the GI tract and contributes to many GI symptoms.
• Balancing hormones – high levels of estrogen have been shown to contribute to the growth of yeast, especially in the vaginal tract.
• Addressing heavy metal toxicity – yeast seems to thrive in toxic heavy metal environments so the removal of accumulated heavy metals in the body may be an important factor.