How to diagnose, treat, and cure candida’s yeasty discomfort
Candida (aka thrush or yeast infection) is all too familiar to most of us, but it doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, we all have candida living in us and on us without causing any problems, so why are yeast infections so uncomfortable, and why is drug-resistant candida in the headlines? Read on to learn how to identify dangerous candida overgrowth and what you can do to remedy it and move on with your life.
What is candida?
Candida is a type of fungus that causes candidiasis, a fungal infection. It’s not as gross as it sounds — fungi like candida help our bodies stay happy and healthy, most of the time. However, if we get too much candida or if it gets into the bloodstream, things can get messy and uncomfortable.
Candida is a type of fungus that causes candidiasis, a fungal infection
Although there isn’t always a root cause for candidiasis, there are some factors that lead to increased risk. These include high stress levels, lowered immunity, taking antibiotics, eating a lot of carbs, drinking a lot of alcohol, and being diabetic.
How do you know if you have candidiasis?
Candidiasis — the infection — can develop in a number of different areas of the body, and each location comes with its own set of symptoms and problems. One of the most common types of candidiasis, especially in newborns and older people, is known as thrush: it causes white, bumpy patches to appear in the mouth and throat.
Another unfortunately common type of candidiasis is the vaginal yeast infection. Symptoms of vaginal candidiasis are itching, redness, swelling, and thick discharge. Candidiasis can also cause urinary tract infections, although that’s not especially common.
Even though thrush and yeast infections are the most frequent presentations of candidiasis, those aren’t the only presentations of an overabundance of the candida fungus. Stomach or digestive problems, extreme fatigue, chronic sinus infections, fungal infections on your skin and/or nails, and joint pain can all be signs of candida fungus entering your bloodstream or getting into places it’s not supposed to be.
What should you do if you think you have candidiasis?
First off, check with a doctor or medical professional. They’ll be able to verify that you have candidiasis and give you some solid tips (and possibly some anti-fungal medication) to fix your symptoms and potentially prevent fungal infections in the future.
However, if you’re looking for some preventative methods or some home remedies, try some of these tips and tricks to keep yourself fungal infection-free. An easy way to fight and prevent fungal infections is to change your diet to keep the good bacteria in and the bad bacteria out: try to avoid refined sugar, carbs, and high-lactose dairy while adding garlic, probiotics, aloe vera, and pomegranate.
If you’re dealing with a repeat fungal infection, you can get some antifungal treatments without a prescription, but if this is your first bout with candidiasis, make sure you check with your doctor before starting any medication (even if it’s over the counter).
If left untreated, candidiasis can cause issues that are much more serious than itching and minor pain, so if you think that’s what you’ve got going on, get to the doctor to get it under control. In rare cases, untreated candidiasis can cause infections in the bloodstream; for one in four hospitalized patients with this type of severe candidiasis, the infection is fatal.
Essentially, if you think you have an overgrowth of candida, whether it’s in your mouth, your stomach, or your genitals, get it checked out. You might not love the doctor’s appointment, but you’ll love the feeling you get when you know that you’re taking care of yourself.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
- How scientists discovered that anxiety might be inherited | Living101
Stressing about your health? Genetics might be to blame.
- When your doctor doesn’t know what’s wrong, don’t give up, try these techniques | Living101
If you don’t have candidiasis and your doc doesn’t know what’s going on, try these techniques to start feeling better.