Candida albicans is a normal inhabitant of the human body. It is termed as an “opportunistic pathogen”. Under healthy conditions, their number is kept in check by the friendly organism, Lactobacillus. When uncontrolled, it poses a serious threat to health and well-being of an individual. Alternatively, since Candida albicans causes symptoms in conditions of chemical imbalance and lowered immunity, it may be considered as an "early warning system" of dangers ahead. These conditions may occur after antibiotic or steroid or cancer therapy, HIV infections, diabetes, unhealthy food habits and lifestyle in general, stress etc.
The result of overgrowth of Candida albicans causes symptoms which may be classified under:
· The gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts.
· Allergic responses
· Mental/emotional manifestations.
The symptoms of Candida albicans are diverse in nature and vary from one individual to another. They usually start near the site of the initial yeast overgrowth. As Candida is normally found on the skin and mucus membranes, vagina, and gastrointestinal tract, the infection first manifests as nasal congestion and discharge, nasal itching, blisters in the mouth, sore throat, abdominal pain, belching, bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, rectal burning or itching, vaginal discharge, vaginal itching or burning, increasingly worsening symptoms of PMS, prostatitis, impotence, frequent urination, burning on urination, bladder infections etc.
If left untreated for a long time, the immune system is further weakened and Candida spreads to all parts of the body causing more problems such as fatigue, drowsiness, disorientation, poor coordination, lack of concentration, mood swings, dizziness, headaches, bad breath, coughing, wheezing, joint swelling, arthritis, failing vision, spots in front of the eyes, ear pain, deafness, burning or tearing eyes, muscle aches, depression, irritability, sweet cravings, increasing food and chemical sensitivities, numbness and tingling, cold hands and feet, asthma, hay fever, multiple allergies, hives and rashes, eczema, psoriasis, chronic fungal infections like athlete's foot, ringworm and fingernail/ toenail infections.
As the Candida increases in number, it is known to produce 79 different types of toxins which circulate in the bloodstream, thus explaining the plethora of symptoms. The Candida undergoes mutation to the hyphal form in the intestinal tract, burrowing deep into the walls, causing the contents of the intestinal tract to spill out. The Candida also causes the immune system to produce antibodies to everything, resulting in sensitivities to otherwise benign antigens. The female hormone, estrogen, increases the amount of glycogen making women more susceptible to Candida infections than men.
The Candida albicans symptoms are signs of a deeper malady which needs to be cured in order to get rid of the yeast overgrowth. Antifungals will get rid of Candida but not the conditions which caused the overgrowth in the first place, thus setting the stage for recurrence. A holistic approach to solving the problem is the ideal choice. Adopting healthy eating and living habits, managing weight and stress, natural remedies are all part of the holistic healing program.