By: Sylvia Anderson
It exists mostly in the intestinal tract, but is also on your skin and in all mucous membranes.
When it's in balance, you don't even notice it; similar to how you don't notice all the other bacteria and germs that exist in your body when they are under control.
However, if something happens to upset that balance, candida is one of the biggest "opportunists" for wreaking havoc and will immediately begin to overgrow... like the way dandelions can take over a yard.
There are basically two forms: benign yeast form and the "evil" fungal form. Once it transitions to the fungal form, it can get into your intestinal tract and create all sorts of problems.
That's when you'd experience symptoms.
Symptoms can range from fatigue and debilitating muscle pain to rashes and even intense sugar cravings.
The tricky part is that candida is one of those elusive syndromes that can manifest in so many different ways; along the lines of lupus or Lyme disease. Because of that, it is very hard to diagnose. Some people suffer for years before a diagnosis is made.
Once you have been diagnosed, and you start changing your diet, taking supplements, and/or changing your lifestyle, the results can be realized very quickly. In some cases, people who suffer have seen improvements in just a few days.
A very specific diet, created by Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN, is designed to kill off the excess yeast, as well as prevent it from spreading. This diet also helps bolster up your immune system, which is necessary to keep the fungal form at bay.
This diet consists of naturally anti-fungal foods such as garlic (which is also anti-microbial) and coconut oil. You also want to cut out foods that would feed the fungus or stress your immune system (sugar, white flour, white rice, potatoes).
What is the process for diagnosis?
Most conventional or allopathic doctors are not going to be very helpful with diagnosis and treatment, because many don't recognize candida as a syndrome. If you have access to a functional medicine doctor, that's a great place to start. These types of doctors are very knowledgeable about candida and can offer you the variety of tests available (blood, stool, saliva, urine). These tests are not 100 percent infallible, however, because we all have some candida in our systems AND because the candida can eventually travel to your tissues and hide there.
Doctors who are skilled in recognizing candida will likely combine physical tests with a questionnaire-type assessment that takes into account environmental, lifestyle and personal factors... all of which can gauge your susceptibility to excess candida.
In the accompanying audio segment, Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN, shares her personal struggle with candida, how you can start the process of diagnosis, and ways you can treat your candida (and prevent it from coming back).