When people refer to Candida they are probably talking about the fungal infection caused by Candida albicans which is a yeast that naturally lives in our gut microbiome. We all need some of it in our bodies but if it gets an opportunity to grow due to an imbalance of good gut bacteria, a variety of problems can occur.
Candida overgrowth is common and can affect you in many ways including your energy levels, mood, skin, bowel movements, and food cravings. A Candida infection or overgrowth is a full-body experience.
In this article, I’ll explain exactly what Candida is, the symptoms of overgrowth, what makes us vulnerable to it, and what we can do to keep it under control.
What Is Candida And Why Is It Bad?
In your research, you may have heard of SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, where the good bacteria in your gut set up shop in your small intestines and get first dibs on your undigested food creating gas, bloating, and usually diarrhea. This bacteria is supposed to reside in the colon.
Well, Candida is a type of SIFO or small intestinal fungal overgrowth. More specifically, Candida albicans is a yeast that we all need a little bit of in our mouths and intestines to help us digest food and absorb nutrients. The problems surface when our gut flora becomes imbalanced due to diet, lifestyle, medications, antibiotics, stress, or other factors. These conditions make our gut vulnerable to takeover.
Many people confuse SIBO and Candida and I explain the difference in this article.
When Candida starts growing out of control because it isn’t being held in check by a healthy microbiome, we can start to experience a variety of symptoms and it can cause leaky gut. Candida can do this by tearing holes in our one-cell thick gut lining letting larger food particles, proteins, toxins, and pathogens straight into the bloodstream. Our bodies then go into an immune response causing inflammation not only in our gut but in other parts of the body.
This is where Candida differs from SIBO considerably. Candida can move into your mouth causing a white tongue or thrush. It can also cause frequent urinary tract infections, itchy ears, skin and nail infections, eczema, chronic fatigue, and autoimmune disorders.
This is why it’s so important to treat. It really becomes a full-body problem.
What Does Candida Do?
As I mentioned earlier, Candida is naturally occurring in the body. There is a bit of it in our mouths and our gut because Candida is not actually our enemy. It helps our body digest food and to absorb nutrients. As long as your gut is populated with good bacteria, everything stays in balance.
Candida lives in the gut, mouth, vagina, throat, and on the skin in harmony with you as long as you have a healthy microbiome in these areas.
When your microbiome is disturbed, Candidiasis, or thrush, a fungal infection caused by the yeast will show up as white lesions in the mouth and throat.
Vaginal yeast infections can also be the result of a Candida infection that can cause pain during sex, itching, abnormal discharge, and pain when you pee.
There is a wide variety of symptoms that start to pop up as a result of Candida overgrowth. They may seem unrelated but because of the inflammatory immune response that happens due to Candida being a major cause of leaky gut, it makes sense that this would affect the whole body and mind.
Here are some of the more common symptoms you may experience if you’re dealing with a Candida infection or overgrowth:
- dry/watery/itchy eyes
- itchy ears
- low mood/depression
- low energy/fatigue
- white tongue
- runny nose
- sugar and carb cravings
What Makes You Vulnerable To Candida?
You are more prone to getting a Candida infection or overgrowth if you have taken an antibiotic, birth control pills, NSAIDs for pain management such as ibuprofen, or PPIs for heartburn such as Prilosec.
Also, you are more vulnerable to Candida overgrowth if you have leaky gut, a compromised immune system, autoimmune disease, or diabetes.
Any of these circumstances along with eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates is the perfect breeding ground for Candida overgrowth.
Candida loves sugar and carbs and if you have it, you probably love them too.
How Do I Cure Candida?
Please take a look at the possibility that you may have leaky gut. Because of the shape of the Candida albicans organism, it can more easily damage the fragile gut lining. When it does this, it allows larger undigested food particles, proteins, and potential pathogens out of the gut and straight into the bloodstream.
Healing your leaky gut is an important step in treating Candida, but before you can heal you need to remove the foods that are causing more damage.
Cutting out all sugar and refined carbohydrates is critical. This is what Candida feeds on so we need to take away its fuel.
You will also need to start taking antifungal herbs to kill off the overgrowth and infection.
If you need more guidance through this process Dr. Amy Myers has created a program that I have been following for 2 months now and I have seen enormous improvements in my health and my symptoms are almost non-existent! You can read my review of the program here.
My acne has cleared, I have no more constipation or bloating, my energy has increased, the dark cloud has lifted off of my mood, I have no more daily anxiety, my sugar cravings have diminished considerably, and I don’t have a white tongue anymore.
I’m thrilled at the results!
It’s called the 30-Day Candida Breakthrough Program but I decided to continue with most of the protocol that she outlines because I feel so much better living this way. I’ve made my own tweaks but it was a great place to start after failing to fully address my issues for years because I didn’t realize they were all related.
I wrote an article reviewing the program and going through exactly what the process was like for me week by week. I detailed what the program includes as far as all of the eBooks and supplements you get.
*If you do plan to buy the program created by Dr. Myers be sure to use my link for $10 off!
Candida infection and overgrowth is something that I’ve dealt with most of my adult life without knowing that’s what was wrong so this has really given me answers and set me free. Please let me know in the comments what you think has caused your Candida and how long you’ve had symptoms and feel free to ask any questions you might have.
And love those guts <3
*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our affiliate disclosure. This site is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please see our medical disclaimer.
Hi Nicole. Very interesting article. To be fair I have never heard before about Candida fungus, and looking at your post it’s definitely something which everyone should be aware of. It seems to cause serious symptoms and it’s good that you are sharing info on how to recognize it and the best way to cure it. I will for sure share this article with my friends and family who have complained of some of these symptoms.
Candida can become a big problem so if you think someone you know is experiencing these symptoms please do let them know. Thank you for commenting and sharing!
This is a very informative article on what is candida fungus, together with a lot of technical information on candida and associated infections, problems and symptoms. I never actually realised that it is also a major contributor to leaky gut.
I have a nephew with leaky gut and he is currently following a special diet after having certain allergies identified, and I will be sharing this post with him.
Yes, apparently because of the shape of a Candida yeast cell, it can fit into the “tight junctions” of the gut lining and create holes or create larger preexisting holes. I’m glad that your nephew is taking steps to heal his gut by following a special diet. It sounds like he’s definitely on the right track. Let him know that there are herbal demulcents and other supplements he can take to help soothe and heal his gut as he is removing the foods he’s sensitive to. I’ve written another article on the 5 steps to heal leaky gut if he needed any more information to bring to his doctor: https://gutsneedlove.com/ways-…
Thank you for sharing!
I first heard of candida when I consulted with a gynaecologist some years ago. If I remember, she gave me some ointment and some pills. This article really explains what it is, what it is supposed to do, and what an imbalance can cause. When I look down that long list of ailments, it is far more important than I thought. I understand the term antibiotic, but there are two terms I need to sort out in my head. They are prebiotics and probiotics. Are they related to this ?
Hi JJ, that’s a great question. Prebiotics are what our beneficial gut bacteria need to eat and stay happy. Foods like garlic, onion, bananas, asparagus, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, leeks, and flaxseed are some good sources.
Probiotics are the bacteria themselves. We need a healthy population of them in our gut to be healthy. They play a role in digestion, nutrient absorption, creating neurotransmitters for our physical and mental health, and maintaining a strong immune system.
When our population of good probiotic bacteria is diminished, we become more vulnerable to Candida overgrowth. Our gut bacteria keeps the Candida population in check! So yes, it is important to eat a diet that includes prebiotics to keep your bacteria balanced.
Thanks for commenting!
Thank you for this interesting read. I didn’t realized that candida can cause leaky gut due increase in growth as results of imbalance in gut bacteria. The fact that candida can burrow through the walls of the intestine is alarming. Thank for sharing the causes of candida infection and the steps that we can take to cure it. Also information about the candida breakthrough program.
I’m glad you enjoyed the read. It always amazes me the complexity of the human body and all the processes that are constantly taking place without us even thinking about it! Knowledge is necessary for prevention and I am thankful to continually learn new things through writing this blog. I’m so glad others can learn from my own experiences. Thanks for reading!