Candida coexists in our bodies along with many species of beneficial bacteria in a competitive balance. When the immune system is weakened, Candida growth can proceed unhindered. Candida is a dimorphic organism - the spherical yeast which is non-invasive and the fungal form which produces rhizoids that can penetrate the intestinal mucosa initiating a series of adverse reactions that can cause widespread damage by colonizing all body tissues. The uncontrolled growth of Candida is known as Candida overgrowth or systemic Candidiasis.
initiated, if not diagnosed and treated appropriately,
Candida overgrowth can result in a self-perpetuating
cycle. The large numbers of yeasts can weaken the immune
system predisposing one to more serious degenerative
processes. Seen in this light, Candida overgrowth should
not be taken lightly.
Candida often first spreads in the digestive tract. As their number multiplies, they start penetrating the intestinal wall causing metabolic toxins and undigested proteins to enter the blood stream and spread through the body. The symptoms become more diffused and convoluted. The symptoms of systemic Candida overgrowth may be classified as follows:
· Gastrointestinal symptoms: Bad Breath, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, rectal itching, ulcers, food cravings particularly sugar and alcohol, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten intolerance, celiac sprue.
· Allergy-like symptoms: Extreme chemical sensitivity, puffy eyes, respiratory problems, dry skin and itching, burning and watering of eyes, asthma, skin rashes and hives, bronchitis, chronic sinusitis.
· Autoimmune-like symptoms: Epstein Bar virus, frequent and difficult to treat infections, Lupus.
· Psychological or mood related: PMS symptoms, poor memory, mental confusion, hyperactivity, irritability, major mood swings, lethargy, anti-social behavior, irrational thoughts, phobias, panic attacks, suicidal tendencies, low sex drive, general malaise, depression, insomnia, night sweats, chronic fatigue, ADD/ADHD.
· Joint and connective tissue: Muscle aches, joint pains, muscle cramps.
· Oral symptoms: Oral thrush, receding gums, dry mouth, sticky or thick saliva.
· Genitourinary tract symptoms: Vaginitis, menstrual pain and irregularity, cystitis, prostatitis, rash on penis, burning urination, endometriosis.
· Recurrent fungal infections like athlete's foot, ringworm, jock itch.
· Other symptoms: Acne, infection of nails and toes.
These wide-ranging symptoms may lead the physician to prescribe a "broad spectrum" antibiotic which will further promote the overgrowth of Candida and strengthen the existing negative chain of events, leading to further stress on the immune system and increased Candida-related problems. As symptoms worsen, it may lead to a virtual shutdown of various organ systems and ultimately death.
Diagnosing symptoms and managing the systemic Candida overgrowth at an early stage, therefore, becomes vitally important. A holistic approach which involves the mental and emotional well-being along with the treatment of physical symptoms can only help in permanent cure.