Candida 101: Understanding the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

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Candida, a type of yeast that naturally resides in the human body, can cause various health issues when it grows out of control. In the UK, Candida infections are relatively common, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. This article will delve into what Candida is, its causes, symptoms, and the available treatment options.

Candida Explained

What is candida? Candida is a fungus that belongs to the yeast family. It is a normal part of the human microbiome, found in the gut, mouth, and vaginal area. However, when the balance of the microbiome is disrupted, Candida can overgrow, leading to various health problems.

Causes of Candida Overgrowth

There are many different factors that contribute to the overgrowth of Candida in the body. One of the most common causes is the disruption of the gut microbiome, which can occur due to the overuse of antibiotics or a poor diet high in sugar and processed foods. A weakened immune system can also make you more susceptible to Candida overgrowth. Other risk factors include diabetes, pregnancy, and the use of oral contraceptives.

Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth

There are a few different symptoms of Candida overgrowth depending on the area of the body affected. Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea are common. Oral thrush, characterised by white patches in the mouth, is another possible symptom. Women may experience vaginal yeast infections, while skin and nail infections can occur in both men and women. Fatigue and brain fog are also associated with Candida overgrowth.

Diagnosis of Candida Overgrowth

If you suspect you have Candida overgrowth, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They may perform a physical examination and order laboratory tests such as a stool analysis or blood tests. A Candida test or questionnaire may also be used to assess your symptoms and risk factors.

Treatment Options for Candida Overgrowth

Treatment for Candida overgrowth typically involves a multi-faceted approach. Dietary changes, such as adopting a low-sugar, low-carb diet and incorporating probiotic-rich foods, can help restore balance to the gut microbiome. Antifungal medications, both topical and oral, may be prescribed to target the overgrowth directly. Natural remedies like coconut oil, garlic, and oregano oil have also shown promise in combating Candida. Lifestyle modifications, including stress reduction and improved sleep hygiene, can support overall health and reduce the risk of recurrent infections.

Preventing Candida Overgrowth

Preventing Candida overgrowth involves maintaining a balanced diet, supporting gut health with probiotics, and practicing proper hygiene. Exercise and stress management techniques can also be useful. Regular check-ups with healthcare providers can help identify and address any potential issues before they become more serious.

Candida overgrowth can lead to various health issues, but with the right knowledge and approach, it can be effectively managed. By understanding the causes, recognising the symptoms, and exploring treatment options, you can take control of your health and prevent the negative impact of Candida overgrowth. If you suspect you have Candida overgrowth, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to develop a personalised treatment plan.