Friday, April 20, 2012

Candida 101


I can’t count the times I've had to explain what exactly Candida is and why it makes me so sick over the last year. When I say “Oh, I've got Candida,” People are clue less and most have never even heard of this fairly common ailment. So, I’m going to give you the rundown on Candida so pay attention.

The basics of Candida
Candida is a good form of bacteria that hangs out in your digestive system. It helps in the breakdown of food. When the bacteria gets out of hand it can eat holes through your intestines and get in to your blood stream wreaking havoc on your entire body. Sounds like fun, right? Not so much.  I’ve found a long list of symptoms, most of which I’ve experienced over the last couple of years and still experience as I’m fighting this little bugger off.

Signs and symptoms of Candida
THE WAY YOU FEEL
Inability to focus, Poor memory, Brain fog, Irritability, Anger, Dizziness, Depression, Crying spells, Panic attacks, Low libido, Persistent extreme fatigue, Hyperactivity, Cravings for sweets and alcohol, Insomnia, Poor coordination.
YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Acid reflux, Bloating, Flatulence, Nausea, Diarrhea, Constipation, Stomach cramps, Indigestion, Burping after meals, Mucus in stool, Hemorrhoids, Itching anus.
YOUR SKIN
Acne, Cysts, Hives, Night sweats, Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis, Fungal infections of the nails & skin, Athlete's foot, Body odor.
YOUR MOUTH
Thrush (white coating on tongue), Swollen lower lip, Halitosis, Metallic taste in mouth, Bad breath, Canker sores, Bleeding gums, Cracked tongue.
YOUR RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Persistent cough, Mucus in throat, Sore throat, Sinus congestion, Chronic post-nasal drip, Flu-like symptoms, Hay fever symptoms, Sinusitis, Asthma.
YOUR EYES AND EARS
Eye pain, Itchy eyes, Sensitivity to light, Blurred vision, Bags under eyes, Ringing in the ears, Ear infections.
YOUR GENITO-URINARY SYSTEM
Recurring yeast infections, Recurring UTI’s (urinary tract infections), Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), PMS & menstrual irregularities, Fungal rash.
YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Frequent colds and flu, Allergies, Sensitivities to food, fragrances and chemicals.
YOUR WEIGHT
Inability to lose weight, Water retention, Weight loss.
OTHER SYMPTOMS
Headaches, Heart palpitations, Chronic body pain and/or joint pains, Muscle aches and stiffness.


As you can see the symptoms are all over the place so it can be really hard to diagnose.  There is a simple test that you can do at home if you are concerned that you might have Candida.

First thing in the morning when you wake up and before you put anything in your mouth. Take a clear glass and fill it up with room temperature water. Huck a large loogy into the glass and wait about 15 minutes.
If you start to see string like tentacles at the top, cloudy specks in the middle or cloudy blobs on the bottom then you probably have Candida. If after an hour nothing happens then don’t worry, you’re fine.
It can take a long time to get rid of Candida. The longer you’ve had it the longer it takes to get rid of. I’ve read on average it can take 4-6 months to wipe it out and go back to normal, but if you’ve had it as long as I think I have then it might take years. Let’s hope not.

The Candida Diet
So how do you get rid of Candida? You cut out sugar and anything that breaks down into sugars, like carbs. I’ve been on this diet for over a year now, and it’s really really hard to stay with for a long period of time. That’s why I’ve had so many relapses and have to start over. Not completely start over but get back on track. Either way, it’s still hard. Looking on the bright side though, I’ve lost 20lbs.
I’ve written a book on the foods that you can and can’t eat on this diet if you need a little help figuring out meals and if you don’t have Candida feel free to try the diet out for weight loss. It’s totally worth it.

In the end
In closing, you can live with Candida and even beat it, although it’s not always pleasant.  I’ve learned to deal with it and even feel a little better. It’s a slow journey but in the end it will be worth it.

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