As I sit here waiting to see my Naturopathic doctor, I am compelled to write about candida. I first heard about candida a few years ago. I think it was some kind of comedic blog of a woman’s bad experience in a well known health food store. There were representatives there who told her she had candida and she spent tons of money on products to kill it. I have heard about it here and there since, but it really does not have a good reputation. The common response is “well everyone has candida” and “it’s just a scare tactic to make money”.
Well, candida is real. In essence, we all really do have candida. Candida is a yeast or fungus, if you will, that grows in the body. Don’t get grossed out (yet), this is fine. It is totally normal. The healthy bacteria in your body keeps your candida in check and your candida helps with digestion. The problem is when the good bacteria isn’t there to keep the candida in check. This means there starts to be an overgrowth of candida in the body and the signs and symptoms start to kick in. This is when there is a reason for alarm.
The problem with the signs and symptoms of an overgrowth of candida is that they overlap with many other physical and mental diagnoses. Depression, GI issues, ADD and gluten-intolerance are just a few health problems that can be confused or associated with an overgrowth of candida. There are a few other big symptoms that stick out when you have candida; like, yeast infections, jock itch, persistent sinus problems, ringworm and foot fungus. That being said, you don’t have to have any of the really yucky symptoms to know you have an overgrowth. If you have been on the birth control pill for a long time, have been on a lot of antibiotics or are craving sugar beyond your regular cravings, and have some of the symptoms listed above, you may consider testing yourself for an overgrowth.
So how can you test for an overgrowth of candida? Good question. It really is a little ambiguous. You can go to your regular doctor, but an overgrowth of candida is not really understood or diagnosed by a majority of the mainstream medical community. So start at home and then seek some alternative medical advice.
The Spittle Test – When you wake up in the morning, before you brush your teeth or do anything else grab a clear glass, rinse it out and fill it with fresh water. Take about 30 seconds to create an abundance of saliva in your mouth. Then spit it into the glass. Wait about 15 minutes. If the saliva remains on top of the water, you may be in the clear. When the saliva starts to sink, makes the water cloudy or get stringy lines heading to the bottom of the glass you may have an overgrowth of candida. If there is an abundance of yeast in your saliva, it will not float and stay together. This is the basis behind the test.
Candida Questionnaire – There are many questions out there. All the questions have scored answers. At the end of the questionnaire you add up your scores and they tell you how likely you are to have an overgrowth of candida.
Blood or stool tests – Doctors can get you tested, but the results are not always accurate.
At the end of the day, none of these tests are 100% reliable. Go with your gut (haha) and really try to work with a holistic practitioner to figure this out. The treatment is a restricted diet and a healthy dose of probiotics and maybe a prescribed homeopathic remedy. None of that can hurt, so if you feel strongly that you have an overgrowth of candida and you take these measure AND you feel better, then it was worth it. But be careful with your sugar intake. People who have had an overgrowth are often prone to getting it again.
The purpose of this article was not to scare you into thinking you have an overgrowth of candida, it was to help people understand that it is a real thing. It is not just a scare tactic put out there by companies wanting to sell products in “Whole Paycheck Foods” stores. The key to everything really is to listen to your body and trust yourself.
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