Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by a group of yeasts. This can take many forms, including thrush, nappy rash, nail bed infections and others. There are over 20 different species of candida but the most common is candida albicans. Yeast infections occur commonly in areas that are prone to becoming warm and moist, such as the crotch, mouth and the armpits.
The severity of fungal infections can vary greatly from ‘minor nuisance’ to ‘life threatening’. It’s always important therefore to seek medical attention to learn more if you notice any signs of an infection.
You may also have heard of ‘anti-candida’ diets that claim to help combat yeast infections via the diet. Can herbs really have the same benefits as the medications normally used to treat the condition? And is it really possible to ‘starve’ the candida, as many alternative practitioners claim?
Candidiasis is most common in those with a weakened immune system, often resulting from cancer treatments, steroids or other diseases. They can also result from the use of powerful antibiotics that kill off bacteria that normally keeps it under control.
Treatment for yeast infections normally involves the use of over-the-counter or prescription medication which can strengthen the immune system and combat the responsible candida. Topical creams can also be used.
Anti-Fungal Herbs and Diets
There are two ‘natural’ approaches to combating candida that are commonly promoted on the web. One is to use the ‘anti-candida diet’ and the other is to use herbs such as garlic, cloves and oregano.
While it’s true that garlic and cloves are natural antibiotics, they are nowhere near strong enough to give penicillin a run for its money. If it was, then eating garlic would upset the natural balance of bacteria in our guts leading to digestive problems!
Likewise, garlic is highly unlikely to have any impact on a yeast infection with visible symptoms. In fact, studies confirm this to be the case (1). That’s not to say that garlic isn’t good for you – it just simply isn’t enough to fight off a fungal infection.
Some women will even go as far as to insert garlic gloves into the vagina in a desperate bid to combat their symptoms. So strong is their mistrust of modern medicine that they would rather experience the irritation, discomfort and embarrassment associated with inserting food where it really doesn’t belong.
The anti-candida diet is likewise unproven and the scientific community is skeptical of its effectiveness. These diets normally begin with a fast, followed by completely avoiding carbs and yeast while consuming probiotics. Unfortunately, this will do very little to impact on an external fungal infection with its roots literally set in – and neither will it be effective against systemic yeast infections (causing fatigue and infertility) that are likely not caused by candida.
What to Do If You Have a Fungal Infection
If you have a fungal infection, then it is highly recommended that you seek immediate medical attention and follow the course of over-the-counter medication recommended. This will provide fast and effective relief in a short time frame and can prevent the condition from spreading or getting worse.
It’s tempting to believe that all natural solutions can treat all our problems but unfortunately there is no evidence to support their effectiveness and they certainly will not be as fast acting or as efficient as medications designed specifically for that purpose.
Proponents of alternative treatments to potential life threatening (and certainly highly disruptive) conditions should do their research before proclaiming that eating garlic or oregano can be curative. This misinformation is not only misguided but highly dangerous. It would be interesting to know whether those authors have ever suffered a fungal infection themselves and whether they would follow their own advice.