How Do You Know If You Have Candida
By Gray Rollins
Candida overgrowth has been found to be a frequent complication or even a causative factor in many of today's illnesses. Treatment is available but diagnosis has to come first.
Yeast is normally found in the mouth, throat, intestines and genitourinary tract. Its presence in the body is not normally problematic and is balanced by a well-functioning immune system and friendly bacteria. If the immune system ceases to function properly, or the level of friendly bacteria in the body becomes too low - as can happen when too many antibiotics are introduced to the body, when steroids are used, when everyday stress becomes overwhelming or with poor diet choices - then Candida overgrowth may occur.
Someone with an overgrowth of yeast can experience any number of unpleasant symptoms such as a genital yeast infection, thrush in the mouth, fatigue, skin rash, depression and anxiety. The symptoms of Candida overgrowth are frequently treated with anti-fungal remedies. Even with these remedies, however, if your diet is not changed to create an environment within the body to prohibit the overgrowth of Candida, relief is sure to be temporary, and problem symptoms will return.
As Candida is a normal component of the body's natural flora, using conventional laboratory testing to determine the need for treatment isn't always helpful, and generally can only help to diagnose the late stages of a yeast infection. Current methodologies for testing include checking for the presence of yeast cells in the urine, saliva and stool, or the gut fermentation test which involves testing the blood for alcohol, dosing the patient with sugar and testing their blood again - if alcohol shows up in their blood it is assumed it has occurred from fermentation from the yeast in their gut.
It is also difficult to diagnose Candida overgrowth for a number of reasons. It shares symptoms with other conditions such as gluten intolerance and hypothyroid - and any combination of these can be present simultaneously, adding to the difficulty of diagnosis.
Another factor is that available tests are able to recognize only a few of the 150 known strains of Candida and the cells in the specimen may die while waiting for analysis resulting in a false "normal result. Along with the test, then, other factors have to be considered before a diagnosis can be made. The doctor must consider if the patient has a history of factors that are known to result in Candida infections and establish that there are symptoms present associated with it. Additionally, the knowledgeable physician will experiment with dietary and antifungal therapy to see if the there are reactions consistent with Candida overgrowth.
Both herbal remedies and prescribed medications can be helpful in treating a yeast infection along with dietary and lifestyle changes. Check with your herbalist as to dose, mode of use and formulations. For antifungal remedies not available over the counter check with your doctor about side effects, costs and availability.
Researchers are working on discovering better testing protocols to establish earlier the need for treatment.
Keeping your immune system, friendly bacteria and Candida in proper balance is possible with a combination of proactive changes; by altering your current diet, and with the responsible use of medicinal or herbal treatments you can maintain a healthy body.