Women’s Health: Understanding the True Impact of Candida

Women are often so busy with family and career they tend to overlook seemingly minor health problems that may plague us. Fatigue, digestive issues, heartburn, depression, and other irritants are written off as part of life’s daily challenges, just something to be tolerated. Oftentimes, though, those annoyances are symptoms of candida, a condition that can be long-term and may drastically affect your quality of life.

Candida is a sneaky condition. It likes to disguise itself beneath many masks with a broad range of seemingly unrelated symptoms. The truth is, however, one cause, candida, may be at the heart of numerous health complaints that frequently trouble women today.

Symptoms of Candida
The symptoms of candida sufferers are wide and varied. Because candida affects many bodily systems, the symptoms may seem unrelated. If you have candida, you may experience as few as two or three of the symptoms or you may find you are plagued by many of them.
Digestive Systems:
• Constipation
• Diarrhea
• Bloating
• “Metabolic syndrome” which includes: a distended abdomen, adult-onset diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides
• Gas
• Abdominal pain
• Heartburn
• Cravings for sugar, milk, cheese, chocolate, alcohol, bread, vinegar, pickles, nuts or fruit

Mental, Emotional, and Nervous Systems:
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Headaches or migraines
• Irritability
• Confusion, lack of focus
• Anxiety, panic attacks
• Sexual dysfunctions
• Irregular heartbeat
• Dizziness
• Indecisiveness, poor organizational skills
• Hyperactivity
• Sleep difficulties
Other Systems
• Skin irritations, rashes, psoriasis or eczema
• Fungal infections including athlete’s foot, nail fungus, ringworm, and jock itch
• Prematurely gray hair
• PMS
• Chronic fatigue
• Fibromyalgia
• Asthma and allergies
• Recurring infections, including yeast infections, ear infections, colds, bladder infections, sinus infections
• Arthritis and other auto-immune disorders
• Infertility

How You Get Candida
Candida albicans is a microscopic yeast-like organism that lives in every human body. These normally harmless microbes reside in our intestines and mucous membranes and are part of the bacterial flora system that keeps the body working smoothly. The problems begin when something triggers the candida albicans fungus to reproduce at a faster than normal rate. The candida albicans multiply so rapidly they take over the territory, smothering out other necessary bacteria and killing protective cells called neutrophils that destroy harmful disease-causing microbes.
The trigger can be anything that disturbs the balance of the biological flora. Antibiotics, birth control pills, chlorine, alcohol, diet, and other factors can disrupt the internal harmony and launch a candida albicans population boom. When that happens, the result is candida, also called candidiasis, and the condition insidiously begins to invade your body.

Candida: A Contemporary Health Problem
Candida is a condition that people rarely experienced before the late 20th century. Lifestyle and dietary changes are the catalyst for this now widespread problem. Changes like the addition of countless processed foods to our everyday diets.
Many traditional physicians do not recognize candida as an umbrella condition that covers many symptoms, but instead attempt to treat each symptom individually. The results may be temporary symptomatic relief but rarely offer a long-term solution.
Many naturopathic caregivers have experienced a better success rate by targeting the candida. They found that by using natural methods such as diet, probiotics, and plant-derived antifungal medications victims could greatly reduce or eliminate the symptoms of candida.

The Candida Diet – A Permanent Solution to Candida?
Candida albicans thrive on certain foods. The goal of the candida diet is to withhold those foods from the microbes so they begin to die out, slow their reproduction rate, and return to normal healthy levels.
So what foods encourage the overgrowth of candida albicans? Unfortunately, the ones we so often crave – sugar, dairy products like milk and cheese, fruits, chocolate, alcohol and some of our other favorite items. We crave those things because the candida is driving our taste buds. These are the dietary demands it needs to continue to thrive.
The initial stages of the candida diet are quite prohibitive, eliminating most processed foods and foods that contain yeasts or sugars. Fruits and fruit juices, which turn into sugars, should be avoided. Breads, all alcohols, mushrooms, most dairy products, vinegar, and glutens are on the do not eat list as well. Coffee, black teas, cider, root beer, and all fermented drinks are eliminated while on the diet.
The approved list contains foods like organic chicken and other unprocessed meats, seafood, vegetables, especially cruciferous options, eggs, nuts, and plain yogurt with live cultures. You may also enjoy brown wild rice and oils like olive, safflower, or canola.

The True Cost of Candida
The real impact of candida is the affect its symptoms have on our lives. Depression takes away the joy of life, discomforts like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other aches and pains restrict our actions, and serious issues like diabetes, asthma, and multiple sclerosis threaten our very existence. If treating candida can reduce the effects of these and the many other symptoms candida displays, it is well worth the temporary dietary sacrifices necessary to conquer this condition.

About the Author: Dr. Eric Bakker, N.D. is a naturopathic physician. He has spent the past 20 years of his medical career specializing in the research and treatment of Candida infections impacting men, women, and children alike. Look for his book, Candida Crusher, in early 2013. Google+ profile for Dr Eric Bakker https://plus.google.com/114350876755179404896/

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