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What is Candida?

Blog post by Claire Blazey, Naturopath for Healthspace

What is Candida?

Candida albicans has been linked to causing a wide variety of symptoms in virtually every system of the body, with the most susceptible being the gastrointestinal tract, genitourinary, endocrine, nervous system and immune system.

Candida albicans is a yeast that occurs naturally within the body in the digestive tract and the vaginal tract, and is generally kept in check by the immune system. However when the immune system is run down, or the gastrointestinal lining has been compromised this yeast may proliferate and hi-jack the body systems, leading to what is known as 'yeast syndrome'. Symptoms associated with this include: “feeling sick all over”, fatigue, allergies, immune system malfunction, depression, clouded thinking (foggy brain), chemical sensitivities and digestive disturbances.

Unfortunately for women we are 8x more likely than men to experience the yeast syndrome, due to the fluctuating effects of oestrogen, the birth control pill, and higher number of prescription of antibiotics.

Causes:

Usually people that suffer from Candida do so due to the complex nature of the condition.

Below is a list of the main predisposing factors that have been linked to candida:

  • Prolonged antibiotic use (this is the most important factor contributing to chronic candidiasis)
  • Altered bowel flora (caused by medications such as steroids, antibiotics and the oral contraceptive pill to name a few)
  • Decreased digestive secretions (due to stress, or low zinc levels)
  • Dietary factors (food allergens, high sugar diet)
  • Medications
  • Impaired immunity
  • Impaired liver function
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Underlying diseases states

How can a Naturopath help?

  1. Can identify the factors that might be contributing to the frequent outbreaks (dietary factors, impaired immunity, or impaired liver function to name a few)
  2. Can identify a lack of digestive secretions
  3. Can implement a special diet to combat candidiasis and provide nutritional support
  4. Support immune function using a combination of dietary foods, supplements and herbal medicines where necessary
  5. Promote detoxification and elimination to keep candidiasis in check.
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