Candida (Candida albicans) is a yeast that is a normal part of our digestive flora (the bacteria that lives in our digestive tract) and in the vaginal region in women. Under certain circumstances the candida yeast can grow excessively and lead to symptoms that negatively impact our health.
What Are the Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
Candida overgrowth (also known as chronic candidiasis, systemic candidiasis or chronic yeast infection) affects multiple systems of the body, resulting in diverse symptoms. All of the following symptoms have been attributed to candida overgrowth:
Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
|General symptoms||Nervous system symptoms|
|Loss of energy||Irritability|
|Decreased libido||Inability to concentrate|
|Immune system symptoms||Skin symptoms|
|Allergies (food, environment, seasonal)||Eczema|
|Low immune function||Acne|
|Digestive symptoms||Genitourinary and menstrual symptoms|
|Bloating, gas||Vaginal yeast infections|
|Intestinal cramps||Frequent bladder infections|
|Diarrhea or constipation||Menstrual complaints (PMS, cramping)|
|Irritable bowel syndrome|
|Cravings for sugar, carbohydrates or yeast|
How Do I Know if Candida is A Problem for Me?
Candida overgrowth is best diagnosed by a qualified health care professional who is knowledgable about candida. A comprehensive digestive stool analysis (CDSA) may be recommended to determine levels of candida in your digestive tract. A good screening test for candida overgrowth is the Candida Quiz. This questionnaire has been found to correlate well with clinical symptoms of candida and is the first step in determining if candida may be contributing to your health concerns. A longer form candida questionnaire is available from your Naturopathic Doctor, or may be downloaded as a pdf here: Candida Questionnaire
|History and Symptoms||Score|
|Have you ever taken an antibiotic for one month or longer OR more than four times in one year?||20|
|Have you ever had a yeast infection, vaginitis or prostatitis?||20|
|Have you ever been pregnant?||5|
|Have you taken birth control pills for 2 years or longer?||15|
|Have you taken prednisone or other cortisone-type medications for more than 2 weeks?||15|
|Does exposure to perfumes, insecticides, cigarettes and other chemicals provoke any physical symptoms?||10|
|Have you ever had athlete's foot, ringworm, 'jock itch' or other chronic infection of the skin or nails?||10|
|Do you crave sugar?||10|
|Do you crave bread?||10|
|Do you experience fatigue, lethargy or the feeling of being drained?||3|
|Do you have a poor memory or difficulty concentrating?||3|
|Do you suffer from muscle aches or pain in your joints?||3|
|Do you experience gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea regularly?||3|
|Do you have a persistent vaginal itch or burning sensation?||3|
|Do you suffer from PMS, cramps or menstrual irregularities?||3|
|Do you experience frequent headaches?||3|
|Do you suffer from a skin condition such as psoriasis, eczema, itching or an unexplained rash?||3|
|Do you have sinus congestion, post-nasal drip or nasal discharge?||3|
|Do you have urinary urgency or frequency?||3|
How is Candida Overgrowth Treated?
The approach to treating candida overgrowth is individualized and often includes a multi-faceted approach. For example, a person may be given an Anti-Candida diet to follow, a probiotic supplement to provide healthy bacteria, a botanical (herbal) formula to kill the yeast and a fiber supplement to support proper digestion and elimination of the bacteria. This protocol should be individualized to each person – focusing on their overall health, specific symptoms, and quantity of candida overgrowth. It is recommended that you seek care of a Naturopathic Doctor rather than try to treat candida on your own.
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.