If you suffer from an intestinal candida infection, you have more than just your condition to overcome.
You must also overcome the stereotype Most doctors still unfortunenately still hold a sterotype regarding this disease - that intestinal candida infections only occurs in patients with Aids, cancer, in those whose immune systems have been compromised by chemotherapy or in those having a disease of the immune system.
In general, medical schools still do not teach the subject of intestinal candida infections unless it refers to the infection occurring in those who are already debilitated by something else.
Lack of information, plus the fact that the candida symptoms of an intestinal yeast infection are often vague, limits most doctors from recognizing the syndrome in otherwise healthy individuals and from helping sufferers get the kind of help they need.
In truth, otherwise normal people can develop an intestinal candida infection. Part of the increase in the disorder is believed to be due to the overuse or recurrent use of strong antibiotics to treat questionable bodily infections.
Teenagers, for example, take tetracycline on a daily basis in order to curb outbreaks of acne. The use of antibiotics in this fashion often destroys the normal bacterial flora of the intestinal tract, allowing pathogens or potentially dangerous organisms to grow and overwhelm the gut, causing intestinal candida infection which if left unchecked will eventually result in a systemic yeast infection.
A normal intestinal tract, from mouth to rectum, contains a host of bacteria and fungi, including candida species, that live inside this part of the body in relative harmony with one another and with us-the host "organism".
Factors, such as the food we eat, how much acid is in the gut and the passage of bacteria and fungi into and out of the gut, determine the type and number of organisms that live inside each person's intestinal tract.
When the gut is in this particular state, there is homeostasis (a kind of stable "sameness") to the environment in the gut and generally, we are unaffected by their presence. In fact, many bacteria help us by further breaking down our food and by preventing dangerous or "pathogenic" bacteria from taking hold and infecting the gastrointestinal tract.
Once this state of homeostasis is disturbed it is called intestinal dysbiosis which easily develops into an intestinal candida infection.
The repetitive or chronic use of antibiotics disrupts the harmony or homeostasis inside the gut which, in some cases, causes candida (which is not affected by antibiotics) to overgrow and cause an intestinal candida infection.
When candida does this, it can change from its relatively comfortable state to a form, called the mycelial form, which is far more likely to spread and to puncture holes in the lining of the gut.
A "leaky gut", the result of this phenomenon, causes larger molecules of toxins and partially-digested food to enter the bloodstream. Because they are foreign particles, allergic reactions to these toxin or molecules become much more likely. candida, itself, produces over 70 toxins, all of which can trigger an allergic response or can cause a person to feel ill or extremely fatigued.
Researchers have found that the use of steroids like cortisol, taking birth control pills and taking medicines for ulcers such as pepcid or zantac, can all put an individual at an increased risk of developing an intestinal candida infection, especially if they take antibiotics as well.
The belief by some doctors that candida overgrowth, after using these medications, will simply take care of itself as healthy bacteria are reintroduced to the gut is simply untrue. candida, when it becomes pathogenic and covers large parts of the intestinal lining, won't allow room for other organisms-even healthy bacteria-to take hold and recolonize the gut.
An individual with an intestinal candida infection can have a variety of symptoms directly related to candida's effect on their entire body. Many candida symptoms are directly related to the intestinal system and include chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, excess gas, lactose intolerance and a whitish coating on the tongue.
Countless patients with these symptoms are misdiagnosed as having an irritable colon or "irritable bowel syndrome". Even in doctor's terminology, irritable bowel syndrome is defined as a condition of the above symptoms that is made when all of the tests of the blood and bowel are normal.
There isn't a specific test for irritable bowel syndrome. Part of the problem in misdiagnosing an intestinal candida infection and calling it irritable bowel syndrome is that doctors rarely request the proper tests that, if performed, would potentially reveal the presence of candida overgrowth. Without the proper testing, sufferers must get by on symptomatic treatment alone or on no treatment at all.
Other symptoms are related to the fact that intestinal candida, through its causing a "leaky gut", triggers an immune response in many patients.
Symptoms of hives, facial rash, eye irritation, sinus congestion, sensitivity to chemicals and skin diseases are all a direct response to your immune system overreacting to the presence of candida and related toxins. Again, the potential for misdiagnosis of an intestinal candida infection is quite large.
Still other symptoms are related to the overall body stress one feels when allergies are rampant or when fighting off a significant infection. The sufferer often feels extremely fatigued and develops generalized muscle weakness or bone pain because of the stress on their system.
It is unknown how many of these patients are described as having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when they are really dealing with an intestinal candida infection.
Other patients with intestinal candida infection can exhibit nervous symptoms which develop as a part of being ill somewhere inside their body. Symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks or increased obsessiveness can all be caused by the brain's response to chronic illness.
Women particularly may also note increased frequency of urination or an increase in the number and severity of vaginal yeast infections.
Any or all of the above symptoms could be a sign that one has intestinal candida. And since candida thrive especially well in a sugary environment, a sufferer might notice worsening of their symptoms during periods of high sugar intake.
Curbing the intake of sugar while paying attention to your symptoms is one way to assess whether intestinal candida could be what's causing them.
There are several tests which can help confirm the diagnosis of intestinal candida. Tests using intestinal cameras such as colonoscopies can sometimes visualize the candida on the intestinal lining. Biopsies of the intestine might help if the individual looking at the biopsy suspects a candida infection and actually looks for it.
Bear in mind, also, that there is no practical way to visualize the small intestine, the longest part of your gut. If the infection is especially prevalent in the small intestine, it will not be picked up visually. Stool cultures designed to specifically promote the growth of fungal species like candida can also be helpful.
The bottom line in the diagnosis of intestinal candida is that, if your doctor doesn't believe it exists and if no one thinks to look for it, it's particularly difficult to diagnose.