Most people have heard of Candida overgrowth; however, many do not know exactly what this means. Candida is a type of yeast that is normally found throughout the body, including the skin, the mouth, the digestive system, and the vaginal area. Candida aids in both nutrient absorption and digestion; however, candida can become problematic if it is in high amounts or there is overgrowth in some parts of the body. A person can develop a form of yeast infection resulting in health issues.
Causes of Candida Overgrowth
There are numerous risk factors associated with Candida overgrowth, including:
- Frequent antibiotic usage
- Frequent corticosteroid usage
- High stress
- Hormonal imbalances
- Long term use of oral contraceptives
- Weakened immune system
Let’s look at the symptoms of candida overgrowth and some natural remedies to eradicate it.
Symptoms of a Candida Overgrowth
Many people are familiar with a vaginal yeast infection; however, this is only one type of candida overgrowth. Holistically, a vaginal yeast infection can be a sign that there is something going on in your body. Functional medicine can help you determine whether your symptoms are caused by a candida overgrowth or another underlying health condition. A candida overgrowth can cause a plethora of symptoms, including:
- Brain fog
- Chronic sinus congestion
- Itchy, red rash
- Nail fungus
- Nail infections
- Recurrent urinary infections
- Recurrent vaginal infections
- Sugar cravings
- White coating on your tongue/thrush
Natural Remedies for Candida Overgrowth
There are numerous ways to reduce candida in the body. Let’s take a look at what you can do today to improve your health and rebalance your gut microbiome which is an important variable in minimizing candida.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar provides anti-fungal and antibacterial protection and may help to reduce candida in the body. Apple cider vinegar can be consumed directly, added to black tea, or gargled to help clear a candida throat infection.
- Cranberry Juice – Cranberry juice or cranberry pills can help relieve urinary tract infections caused by a candida overgrowth. Cranberries are high in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that promotes immunity and can help the body better fight off a microbial imbalance.
- Dietary Changes – Dietary changes can help combat candida overgrowth. Consume an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of whole foods. Also, foods like alcohol, sugar, and carbohydrates are high in glucose and feed candida. Eliminating these foods from ones diet will starve candida’s food source. Making these changes may seem impossible; however, an integrative practitioner can help develop a candida dietary plan that is practical and easy to follow.
- Essential Oils – Essential oils like oregano oil, tea tree oil, lavender, mint, basil, and peppermint oil may help to diminish the activity and growth of candida. These anti-fungal essential oils should be combined with a carrier oil and applied to the skin to help reduce candida overgrowth.
- Herbs – Several herbs added to foods or taken as a supplement will boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and help decrease the amount of candida in the body. Garlic, ginger, grapefruit seed extract, oregano, and berberine are potent antimicrobial herbs that should be included in your fight against candida overgrowth.
- Prebiotics – Prebiotics are foods that feed the healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the most potent prebiotics that helps to enhance immunity, reduce inflammation, and balance the bacteria in the body include asparagus and bananas.
- Probiotic Supplements – Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to balance the gut microbiome. When choosing a probiotic, look for one that contains Saccharomyces boulardii. boulardii rebalances the flora in the gastrointestinal tract, improves immunity, and supports the GI barrier.
- Sleep – Sleep is vital to your overall health and well-being. Health experts recommend that adults receive between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. During sleep, your body makes necessary repairs, produces hormones, and resets the immune system. If you are having difficulty getting a full night’s sleep, talk with your functional doctor to find out the sleep hygiene practices you should incorporate into your life, including turning off electronics before bedtime, lowering your bedroom temperature, and getting to bed at the same time each night.
- Stress Management – Stress impacts every aspect of your body, including the delicate balance in your microbiome. When you are stressed, your adrenal glands pump out cortisol and other stress hormones, which can increase inflammation in the body. Stress reduction techniques like meditation and yoga can help lower your stress hormones, decrease inflammation, and help balance the body.
- Tobacco Products – Smoking tobacco may increase the amount of Candida in the body. If you have a candida overgrowth and use tobacco products, seek help from your functional medicine practitioner on the best method for stop smoking.
Holistic Treatment for Candida Overgrowth
Our functional medicine practitioners will work with you to determine the root cause of your candida symptoms or yeast infection and develop a personalized plan to relieve your symptoms, rebalance your microbiome, and reduce the amount of candida in your body. Our goal is to help you achieve optimal health by reducing systemic inflammation, healing and enhancing the immune system.