How to Know if You Really Have Candida?
I spent a great deal of my early adult life feeling pretty rotten, both mentally and physically. Not long after graduating college, I started to have some minor gastrointestinal issues. I had gas almost constantly and I was in constant pain from the bloating. If I wasn't constipated, I had diarrhea, and the constant worry about my condition led me to stop venturing out into public. After all, who wants to forever worry about whether or not a bathroom is close by?
Needless to say, my symptoms continued to grow in number and I eventually lost my job due to my inability to work. I had frequent headaches, I was always tired, and let's just say my gut wasn't doing any better. My doctor told me I had IBS and tried to treat me, but nothing seemed to be working. Tests for Celiac and other diseases came back negative. Finally, a friend suggested I talk to my doctor about whether or not my problems could be caused by Candida.
What on Earth is Candida?
Candida is a form of yeast that exists naturally within the body. While Candida albicans isn't the only type of yeast that can cause a fungal infection, it is certainly the most common cause. According to the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, "Fungal infections have increased in incidence in recent decades, often as a result of advanced medical treatments and the increase in the number of immunocompromised patients. Candida albicans is sill the most frequent cause of fungal infections" (source).
In other words, Candida lives in all of our bodies – in men, women, and children. The good bacteria in the body usually work to keep the yeast organism under control. Changes in the body's natural state, such as the use of antibiotics mentioned above, can cause yeast to flourish. Some people will end up with vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush, jock itch, or simple skin irritations. Others will end up with more comprehensive infections with symptoms that mimic other diseases. These are more difficult to treat because they are often misdiagnosed and, as a result, are mistreated – usually with antibiotics for what appear to be bacterial infections, which simply contributes to the cycle of yeast growth.
How to Tell if You Have a Candida Infection
The simpler infections are really easy to diagnose. Vaginal yeast infections, jock itch, baby diaper rashes, and oral thrush all have tell-tale signs. If you have these infections once or twice, you may be able to treat them with anti-fungal creams or medications and move on with your life. Frequent and recurring infections may need more comprehensive treatment. We'll get to that in a little bit.
But check this out. "Have chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or even sinusitis or spastic colon? You probably have overgrowth of yeast or Candida. Though poorly understood by most physicians, treating this underlying infection can have profound health benefits" (source). This is from Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, a contributor to the Dr. Oz Show. He basically explains what many don't understand. These people may actually have those conditions, unrelated to Candida; but in most cases those conditions are caused by Candida.
There are several things you can do to determine if you have a Candida infection. I'm going to offer you the two most commonly used.
The Candida Spit Test is something you can easily do on your own at home. When you get up in the morning, before doing anything else (no eating or drinking), fill a clear glass with fresh water and spit a decent amount of saliva into the glass. You'll need to go back and look at the glass a few times over the course of the next hour. If your saliva is just floating and is clear, you probably don't have a problem. If the saliva is cloudy, looks like it has strings or legs floating down into the glass, or has broken into specks that are hanging around in the water, you may have a problem.
The Candida-5 Blood Test is the only professional blood test used currently to identify Candida infections. You'll have to ask your doctor to use this test, depending on where you live, but you may be able to order a home version online. This test will not only look for Candida albicans, but for 3 other main types of Candida as well.
If either of these tests come back positive, you'll need to consider treatment.
This is where things get hairy. As mentioned in the other article, if your mainstream physician isn't open to suggesting anything other than medication, you're going to have to look elsewhere for help. Talk to a naturopath or nutritionist about the Candida diet, which has been proven to be the most effective treatment for Candida out there. You may end up taking anti-fungals or probiotics with it, but you probably won't cure your condition completely if you don't attack your diet as well. I know that I, personally, didn't see true results until I had really implemented the entire diet protocol.
Candidiasis is a serious condition that needs treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can stop the yeast fungus in your body from multiplying and making you feel even worse.