Candida is a type of yeast that is naturally found in small amounts throughout the body, like the skin, in our mouth, genitals, and in the intestines. This is a natural part of being human and it’s not seen as problematic, however, overgrowth of candida can sometimes occur. It can be for different reasons, like taking antibiotics, a weakened immune system, overconsumption of alcohol, diabetes, high intake of added sugars, or even increased stress levels.
What we don’t want to see is an overgrowth of this type of yeast, or any type of yeast as a matter of fact. When Candida begins to overproduce, several health problems and bothersome symptoms can start to occur, from skin rashes to irritating yeast infections. The good news is that this won’t last forever and it can be treated! Keep reading if you want to find out the 7 signs you may have Candida and what you can do about it.
1. Recurrent genital yeast infections
Yeast infections are indeed a type of Candida overgrowth, otherwise known as candidiasis. Candida is found naturally in the vaginal tract of most women. Studies have shown that most women in Western countries will get a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime, which is normal. However, a frequent yeast infection highly indicates Candida overgrowth.
Symptoms of a yeast infection in women include:
- Vaginal soreness and swelling
- Intense itching in the vaginal area
- A burning sensation while urinating or having sex
- Abnormal discharge
2. Oral thrush or rash
Another sign of candida overgrowth in the body can occur in the mouth. This is characterized by white, uneven coating on the tongue, in the inner cheeks, the surface of the mouth, and in the throat. These symptoms are associated with a condition known as “oral thrush.”
Newborns, elderly with a compromised immune system, and people with poor oral hygiene are at most risk for developing an oral thrush. The symptoms associated with it manifest suddenly and can’t go unnoticed.
3. GI issues
Digestive problems that start to arise suddenly are another sign you may have Candida overgrowth. Our intestines comprise a balance of both “good” and “bad” microbes. When intestinal imbalance occurs, several symptoms of candidiasis start to manifest.
Recent studies have shown that Candida is amongst the most common fungal infections in people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, indicating that IBD patients are among the population who are at most risk for this. People with an immunocompromised system or those receiving antibiotics or steroids are also at risk for developing GI issues as a result of Candida overgrowth.
Symptoms associated with Candidiasis in the GI tract include:
- Excessive gas
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal pain
4. Tiredness and Fatigue
While there’s not necessarily enough evidence to conclude that fatigue is a direct symptom of yeast infections, a large number of patients complain of feelings of tiredness and fatigue when it comes to candida overgrowth. Let’s take a look at how this might playing a part:
We now know that Candida affects the GI tract, particularly acting on our intestines, which is where most nutrient absorption occurs. You guessed it! When the intestines are compromised, absorption will be compromised too.
Important vitamins and minerals, like B-complex vitamins, magnesium, and essential fatty acids all play a role in energy metabolism in the body. Candida overgrowth in the GI tract may cause nutrient deficiencies, explaining why fatigue manifests in the body as a result of this.
Make sure to check out Pure Plate’s meal plan services for a nourishing yet delicious menu containing a variety of nutrient-dense foods, specifically foods rich in essential fatty acids and magnesium, like this incredible Pan seared Salmon with pesto to increase your energy!
5. Fungal skin infections
The overgrowth of fungus, particularly Candida, is another culprit of various types of skin rashes that occur. While this is not life threatening, it’s definitely accompanied by unpleasant symptoms that are quite uncomfortable.
Fungal skin infections can occur anywhere on the body, but they specifically occur in areas that are moist and warm, like our feet, underarms, groin area, or under the breasts. A fungal skin infection is characterized by intense itching, redness, scaly skin, and can sometimes have a foul smell.
6. Joint Pain
When Candida goes untreated, it can eventually enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, affecting our joints and causing arthritis in areas like the hip or the knees. This typically occurs in extreme cases, where Candida has gone untreated for an extended period of time.
Joint pain isn’t the only indicator of candida overgrowth, it is almost always accompanied by different symptoms that we have already mentioned, particularly an oral thrush, fatigue, GI issues, and skin infections.
7. Severe seasonal allergies
Seasonal allergies occur as a result of our immune system responding to some allergen in our environment, like pollen in the spring. When our immune system is compromised due to candida overgrowth in this case, it can have a heightened sensitivity to different allergens in our environment, causing chronic and severe seasonal allergies.
How to treat Candida Overgrowth
Like we’ve discussed so far, candidiasis is an imbalance of the “good” and “bad” microbes of our body. A good starting place in treating Candida is to find out the underlying cause creating this imbalance.
A lot of times, this imbalance occurs as a result of the food we’re eating. The “bad” microbes thrive on diets high in refined sugars, low in fiber and healthy fats. These foods promote fungal overgrowth in the intestines, the skin, and all throughout the body.
The good news is that you have control over this! There are certain foods that have been shown to increase the “good” bacteria in the gut, hence inhibiting the overgrowth of candida. Let’s take a look at these different foods:
- Garlic and Onions: both of these act as “prebiotics” in the intestines, which is basically food for the “good” bacteria in our intestines, promoting its overgrowth! Another thing is that garlic is known for its anti-fungal effects in the body, due to a substance known as allicin that acts against Candida in the body.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a type of healthy fat that, in many studies, have been shown to act against candida overgrowth in the body at 100% concentration. Make sure to check out these delicious Toasted Coconut Bars by Pure Plates, delivering anti-inflammatory benefits to help fight against candida!
- Probiotics: Foods high in probiotics, like yogurt, pickled foods, kefir, and kombucha tea, have all been shown to have a potential in treating candida overgrowth in the mouth, the genitals, and in the intestines.
We recommend seeing your primary care physician if you suspect you have a yeast infection before self-medicating. Your doctor will prescribe anti-fungal medication that is tailored to the specific condition you have. The foods we mentioned above are recommendations to add to your diet as a preventative method for fungal overgrowth in the body! Pure Plates offers all of these foods in different forms- we recommend checking out our best sellers to see which food would be best for you!