Like various bacteria and virus, yeasts are present everywhere and carried through the air, primarily as spores, as well as by other means. Some fungi are dimorphic and alternate between the spherical or yeast form and the root-like or hyphal form. Candida albicans, which is the main cause of intestinal Candidiasis, is dimorphic. It is the hyphal form which penetrates into tissues and is particularly difficult to treat.
Candida forms a part of the normal flora of our body. It is forever lurking in moist and dark places of the body. When our resistance to infection weakens, it can grow rapidly in our bodies. This normally happens when one or more predisposing factors compromise the immune system, and the yeast population escapes competition from the beneficial bacteria which kept its population in check. Some potentiating factors which result in intestinal Candidiasis are repeated use of antibiotics which kill the beneficial bacteria, diabetes mellitus, HIV, hormonal imbalance, use of medicines such as steroids, ulcer medications, birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapy, and suppression of immune system due to radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and organ transplant surgery. A high sugar and starch diet is also a predisposing factor, especially in diabetic patients.
When the harmonious coexistence of friendly bacteria and Candida in the gastrointestinal tract is disrupted it leads to intestinal Candidiasis. In some types, the roots penetrate the mucosal lining of the intestine. When this mucous membrane lining is penetrated by the hyphae, it becomes possible for partially digested food particles, toxins, and yeast products to pass into the bloodstream causing systemic Candidiasis. As the immune system attempts to grapple with the foreign substances in the blood, a variety of symptoms occur. There is a general feeling of malaise and chronic fatigue. Thrush, bloating, alternating constipation and diarrhea, intestinal cramps, rectal itching are also present. It affects the nervous system, causing depression and irritability. There are frequent bladder infections, menstrual irregularities and decreased libido. As resistance is further lowered, a variety of infections and allergies set in, which can even be life-threatening.
Treating intestinal Candidiasis requires a comprehensive and holistic approach which involves reduction of predisposing factors to Candida overgrowth, enhancing immune function, improving digestion and elimination, supporting liver function, and inhibiting Candida growth. The protocol generally involves several kinds of treatment, such as Candida diets which are basically sugar free (as yeasts thrive on sugar), and are high in proteins; probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium are given to rebalance the microflora; herbal supplements; cleansing and detoxification etc. Along with these, patient-centric therapy like lifestyle changes, reducing stress, detoxifying the body, psychological support are also warranted to prevent recurrences.