My Personal Story
I was plagued with candida imbalance off and on for years. Having a baby can be stressful on body systems. I didn’t have any obvious symptoms, other than fatigue. I kept going to my doctor and she had nothing to offer me. At the time I was a run down single mother with a full time teaching job. I am certain that a long standing lactose intolerance and the standard American diet were contributing factors. Taking the pill for a short time did not help. The final push over the edge came when I got pneumonia and had to take heavy duty antibiotics. By then I was becoming a full blown case of chronic fatigue. I also thought I had severe PMS. I later learned that candida will flare when you have a period. It took fourteen years and many, many forms of alternative medicine before I found a nutritionist who knew and understood how to get me back in balance. The overgrowth was so severe I could feel it crawling under my skin and I was having panic attacks. I also felt very bloated and was twenty-five pounds over weight. Emotional instability was a problem. Anxiety and worry can be a factor.
I never gave up trying to figure out what was wrong. I was in bad health when I finally found a nutritionist who pinned down the problem. In two weeks after meeting her, going on a severe anti-yeast diet, using cleansing herbs, detoxing and making other life style changes I was a different person! She made a video about me, along with two other star students, that aired on our local cable channel. Since then I have found that my digestive issues were a big factor, along with diet, in making me susceptible to this over growth. I still have to watch my fruit intake. I rarely eat processed sugar, don’t drink alcohol or caffeine. I have stopped eating wheat. I still have some chemical sensitivities. Learning to make my own fermented veggies has helped to heal my digestion. I use the Donna Gates – Body Ecology starter. I followed her program to healing this imbalance.
Candida is a fungi that occurs naturally in the body and is harmless, as long as it is in balance. It is not an infection. The western approach is medication. My concern is that they drive the symptoms underground but don’t treat the cause. The cause, stress, along with prolonged use of medications, including the oral contraceptive pill, is a diet with too much highly processed grain and sugars. Processed grain turns to sugar during digestion. Fruit is also mostly sugar. Keep in mind that all animal products, unless they are organic, will expose you to antibiotics as livestock are fed them daily.
The Eastern medicine approach is to work with diet first. Long term candida imbalance is debilitating. It inhibits your body’s ability to assimilate nutrients. Over many years this can lead to serious illness. In his book, Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford discusses this problem along with offering food based solutions. I have also found Donna Gates, The Body Ecology Diet to be helpful. She also has a questionnaire that will help determine your level of candida imbalance so that you can determine what action to take – if any.
If you suspect that you may have a candida overgrowth first determine how serious it is. Then find a qualified, experienced practitioner who can help you heal your digestive tract and get you back into balance. This may be a nutritionist, Asian medicine herbal or acupuncturist, chiropractor or naturopath. There are books available on the subject and you may find some at your library. Just remember one size does not fit all. You may need to make modifications for any program you undertake. Your quality of life depends on life style choices and what you ingest has the most potential to impact your health and well-being.
If you want to avoid a Candida overgrowth, eat a whole foods primarily plant based diet, manage your stress and avoid regular use of extreme substances such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Get regular exercise and plenty of good quality sleep. These are the foundations of optimal health.