Candida – Could You Have This Destructive Chronic Infection and Not Even Know It?

Immunosuppressant Drugs Allow Candida to Grow - Margaret Romero From Lupus to Living

photo credit: Phil and Pam via photopin cc

A few years ago, I lay in a hospital bed wishing for the daily dose of prednisone that would ease my body’s lupus-induced pain.  As gobs of prednisone streamed into my veins, the last thing on my mind was the havoc this pain-reducing medication would wreak.

As I discovered, immunosuppressant drugs like prednisone can zap your adrenals (which, by the way, can be recovered) and help a little organism called candida flourish in your body. Candida can flourish anywhere: your gut, your private areas, your mouth. And, this little critter can be very difficult to get rid of.

Candida, more commonly known as a type of yeast, is a fungus and exists in the mouth and intestines in small amounts.

Normally, our bodies keep the candida population under control. But, when we take antibiotics, our body can’t regulate the fungus as well as it normally does. This is why women commonly get yeast infections after taking antibiotics.

What makes Candida grow?

Since candida is a fungus, it needs food and an immune system that can’t keep up in order to grow. Here are a few of the most common causes of candida:

  • Birth control pills
  • Prednisone (and other immunosuppressants)
  • Alcohol
  • Antibiotics
  • Diet high in sugar and carbs
  • Eating or drinking fermented foods like Kombucha, pickles and sauerkraut

How do you know if you have Candida?

There are several ways to tell if you have Candida. Here’s a fairly long list of possible symptoms:

  • Any nail or skin fungal infections, on the feet or toenails
  • Eczema, hives, rashes, psoriasis
  • Digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation or bloating
  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, psoriasis, MS, ulcerative colitis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis make a body much more susceptible
  • Vaginal infections or itching, anal itching or urinary tract infections
  • Fatigued, feeling run down, fibromyalgia
  • Itchy inner ears
  • Craving for sugar and carbohydrates
  • Brain fog, inability to concentrate, memory issues, ADD
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability and mood swings.

Do any of these sound familiar? If you think you may have candida, it’s best to get checked out by your primary care provider. There are blood and stool tests that can be performed.

If you find out you have Candida, there are two ways to handle it.

Complete Candida Yeast Guide Book - Margaret Romero From Lupus to Living

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One is to get on a strictly yeast-free diet for 2 weeks plus take some form of anti-candida medication. At times, this can be a prescription, such as Diflucan or Nyastatin, or oil of oregano, which is available over the counter.

Typically I have found that an over the counter medication is not as effective as a prescription. Yeast can be quite challenging to get rid of and you will need to be on either a prescription or both for at least 4-6 weeks. Sugar feeds the candida and therefore easily flourishes.

Along with a yeast-free diet, you will also need to avoid all sugars, alcohols, carbohydrates and even some fruits. Candida feeds on sugar and carbs, so eliminating them from your diet will essentially starve out the Candida.

There are tons of books on the Candida Diet and lots of information on the web. The first 2 weeks are the strictest and most difficult, but are critical to fighting off candida.

Probiotics are great too and help to balance out the pH. Taking at least 25 billion units upon waking and at bedtime is very beneficial.

What you will notice once you have begun treatment:

  • Clearer skin
  • Less bloating and gas
  • Regular bowel movements
  • More energy
  • Lessening of fibromyalgia
  • Less sugar cravings
  • Possibly a little weight loss
  • Eczema and skin rashes clearing up

So it’s vital to find out if you are carrying around this infection, which can become chronic. You will feel the difference in your body.

Have you ever been diagnosed? How did you feel after the treatment? Did treating it make a difference in your well being? I’d love to know.

Speak to you soon,