Candida albicans is a form of yeast fungus that is found in the human body in healthy individuals, but that requires a bacterial balance in the body to prevent uncontrolled growth. It exists in the intestines, genital tract and throat and is normally kept in check by other bacteria. In the correct quantities it is in fact good for us and can help with things such as destroying other harmful bacteria.
In cases where candida growth becomes too great however, this classified as a yeast infection and can lead to a range of problems including the vaginal and oral yeast infection thrush (candidiasis). Symptoms of a yeast infection in the genitalia can include itchiness and a thick yellow discharge. There may also be redness and swelling around the area and a ‘burning sensation’. Oral thrush meanwhile results in white-ish yellow spots in the mouth that are slightly raised along with a potential itching and burning sensation in the mouth and throat.
A candida ‘cleanse’ is a term used in alternative medicine as a purported way to remove candida from the body using colon cleansing. This is commonly recommended by practitioners of alternative medicines who hold candida responsible for all manner of unspecific ills including ‘brain fog’ and ‘haziness’. There is however no scientific support for the effectiveness of these kinds of cleanses – nor is there any proven relation between candida and tiredness or headaches. In some cases these ‘colon cleanses’ can even be harmful. Fortunately there are some things you can do to reduce the amount of candida in your system by improving your diet and getting advice from your doctor:
• Firstly you should speak to your doctor to discuss the potential causes for excess candida. It may be that the use of certain antibiotics, chemotherapy, antacids or even contraceptives are contributing to your condition and ceasing any of these practices can then help to quickly reduce candida. Antibiotics for instance have been known to increase the growth of candida and are partly thought to be responsible for the increase in yeast infections. Oral thrush is also common in those wearing dentures. Candida can also be increased through other conditions such as diabetes and AIDS (which causes an immune deficiency). In many cases by addressing the underlying cause of the yeast infection it is possible to restore the balance to normal.
• Quit smoking which can contribute to and worsen oral herpes.
• Use food supplements including probiotic yoghurts, and anti fungal supplements. Probiotics literally mean ‘positive bacteria’ and are useful for redressing the balance by providing you with the good bacteria you need.
• Eat a high fibre, low sugar diet, and look after your immune system with fruit and vegetables.
• Use anti-fungal drugs prescribed by your doctor. These are curative and will cure around 90% of yeast infection.
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