Intestinal Yeast Infection

An Introduction To Systemic Candida, An Intestinal Yeast Infection

Systemic candida is a type of intestinal yeast, a fungal infection.  This chronic yeast infection is believed by some naturopathic and mainstream health professionals to be the cause of multiple health problems.  

It is difficult to pin down the cause of intestinal yeast.  Blood tests may not show signs of it, and sometimes patients are thought to have psychological problems, in cases where there are no visible symptoms.

Its main cause is repeated use of antibiotics.  Doctors have increased the use of antibiotics in the past 10 to 20 years, which appears to be correlated with the increase in chronic yeast. The antibiotics repeated use creates an imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract, in which the so-called good bacteria are killed. Without the bacterial balance, and without healthy intestinal flora, fungal infections flourish.

Possible causes of intestinal yeast in addition to antibiotics include:

Frequent use of steroids such as cortisone
Ongoing use of antacids like Pepcid and Zantac
Birth control pills
Diets high in sugar and starches

Some amount of intestinal yeast is natural and healthy in the intestines, as long as good bacteria are present to keep it from growing out of control. In some cases it becomes invasive and penetrates the lining of the intestines. This can cause a breakdown between the circulatory system and intestines. The infection can migrate to other areas including the bladder, throat, vagina, and in severe cases the valves of the heart.

Intestinal yeast in the gastrointestinal tract is usually identified as thrush, which causes whitish patches in the throat. This form typically afflicts babies and pregnant women, as well as people with asthma who take inhaled steroids, and those with compromised immune systems.

When yeast invades the reproductive organs it causes menstrual problems, bladder and urinary infections and cystitis. Also visible is a genital discharge with a cottage cheese appearance that smells fishy.

Some cases of intestinal candida show no identifiable symptoms and general malaise is the only clue of its possible existence.  The person may have headaches, especially migraine, muscle soreness, fatigue and hypoglycemia among other problems. The only way to know if these conditions are caused by candida is to eliminate candida with proper treatment and see if these problems go away.

Because of the mystery surrounding chronic candida, researchers have been dedicating much time to this. One finding of the research is that it can be cured or controlled by eliminating foods from the diet that are known to increase yeast in the body.

Systemic candida is treated with prescription anti-fungal pills and a special diet, sometimes called a yeast cleansing diet.  This diet requires elimination of foods with white flour and sugar. Generally, all processed foods should be eliminated. In other words, the patient eats only fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products that are not highly processed.

Treatment also includes taking pro-biotics in the form of pro-biotic foods, or in capsule form. Vitamins B, C and E also have pro-biotic properties, and in extreme cases are given via IV.